After liposuction, a patient should follow all post-operative care instructions for the safest and best possible outcome. The surgeon will provide these instructions upon discharge along with any prescription pain medications or antibiotics. Patients should take all medications as directed and maintain follow-up visits with the doctor so he or she can check for infections and ensure proper healing. Here are some general guidelines you should follow while recovering from liposuction:
- Drink plenty of water, juice or beverages to stay hydrated during recovery but avoid alcohol for at least 48 hours. Patients should also avoid smoking for at least 2 or 3 weeks after liposuction since smoking can impact healing.
- If your liposuction was performed under local anesthesia, you may resume your normal diet. If you had general anesthesia, you should eat a light diet of soups and clear liquids, during the first few hours, to lessen the chances of nausea and vomiting. You should avoid foods high in salt and fatty foods for the first month.
- You may take short walks around the house the day of the surgery. However, do not perform any heavy lifting or vigorous activity during the first week. Patients can increase their normal activities and work up to a prior exercise routine over the first few weeks.
- Compression garments should be worn 24 hours a day except when showering or washing the garment. This time frame usually lasts at least 2 weeks and then a spandex garment will be worn for 4-6 weeks.
- You may remove any garments and drainage pads the day after the procedure for showering. Do not take a bath or go swimming for at least 7 days after liposuction. When showering, wash the incisions gently with a mild soap and water. Pat dry with a clean towel and apply a new, clean pad. Apply pads until the drainage has stopped.
- It is normal to have large volumes of blood-tinged drainage from the small incisions (especially with tumescent liposuction). Whenever sitting or lying down, consider placing a towel under yourself to catch any leakage.
- You may return to a desk job within one or two days after surgery. Patients who are still taking pain medications should not drive themselves.
- Scar treatment, such as silicone scar sheeting, may begin 2 weeks after liposuction or when the scar has healed. These treatments should be continued for 6-8 weeks after a surgical procedure.
- Swelling and numbness after liposuction can take 6-8 weeks to subside. Patients are encouraged to continue wearing any doctor approved garments to help minimize the swelling. Applying lotion and massaging the treated area, on a daily basis, will help resolve swelling and numbness more swiftly.