What to Expect After Liposuction

DRESSINGS/SUTURES- A large gauze dressing is placed around the head in the operating room. This is changed the day after surgery. The head dressing is removed on the second day after surgery, and is replaced by an elastic band which is worn continuously for the next 5 days. During the second week after surgery, this band must be worn only at night. These dressings and bands are designed to reduce post- operative swelling and promote rapid healing. Sutures are hidden under the chin, and are removed one week after surgery.

ACTIVITY AFTER SURGERY- In order to allow your tissues to heal properly, we ask that you refrain from brisk physical activity for two weeks. Walking and non-physical activities are allowed, but it is best not to exercise for the first 2 weeks. After the first 2 weeks, aerobics, running, stair climbing, exercise bicycling and treadmills are permitted, but weight lifting (free weights or machines) should not be done until after the end of the third week after surgery. However, once the effects of the anesthetics have worn off, it is not necessary to remain in bed or at home. You may shower as soon as the bandages have been replaced by the elastic band. This band should immediately be replaced after each shower.

SWELLING AND BRUISING- Some minimal facial swelling is expected and may be more pronounced 24- 48 hours after surgery than it is immediately following the procedure. The dressing makes this swelling appear to be greater than it really is. Sleeping with your head elevated and sitting upright during the day for several days following surgery will help minimize swelling. Most swelling will gradually resolve in 5-7 days.

Bruising, too, is normal. The bruises on your neck will probably drift onto your upper chest before disappearing. Most bruising will resolve in the first 7 days after surgery and may be concealed with makeup one week after surgery. In order to limit bruising and swelling, ice compresses should be applied over the both cheeks and neck for the first 24- 36 hours after surgery. Compresses should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, with 20 minutes before reapplying. Also, homeopathic medications Arnica Montana and Bromelain may limit bruising and swelling. This is best started at least 1 week before surgery and continued for 3 weeks; check with your doctor before using these.

PAIN/DISCOMFORT- Most patients experience little pain afterwards, complaining instead of mild discomfort or soreness, easily controlled with acetaminophen or acetaminophen with codeine.

RREGULARITIES- Often, the neck skin may feel irregular or "bumpy" early after liposuction. This, too, is related to swelling and will resolve gradually over a few weeks.

TIGHTNESS- Tightness of the neck is greatest in the first several weeks after surgery, but may persist to some degree for several months. This is due initially to spasm of the neck muscles, and later is due to subtle swelling in the facial tissues that will subside. Be assured, your face will again feel "normal".

ITCHING/NUMBNESS- Itching along suture lines and in the neck is common and temporary. Numbness of the neck also occurs. Normal sensation usually returns within a few weeks.

HEAVINESS- Your face may feel "heavy" for a few weeks following surgery. This is due to swelling and changes that occur with healing. Use of the chin strap will help alleviate this sensation.

BLEEDING- Bleeding is rare after liposuction. Bleeding that is severe or does not stop with 10 minutes of continuous pressure is rare and should be reported to our office.