Liposuction is one of the most popular aesthetic medical procedures in the world, thanks to its ability to provide body contouring for those areas of the body that might be resistant to traditional diet or exercise.
In the United States, liposuction is the second most commonly performed plastic surgery procedure, and its results can be transformative. It’s important, however, that patients take the time to properly recover after liposuction surgery in order to reap the maximum benefit.
Here are some post-surgical tips to help patients get the most from their liposuction procedures.
Follow the doctors’ orders
First and most importantly, a good patient outcome will only come from following the doctor’s recovery instructions.
The surgeon will provide detailed instructions with a variety of dos and don’ts to be followed while recovering from your procedure.
Aftercare instructions will include things like how often to change bandages in order to prevent infection, when or how often to take pain medication, and general care tips. It’s a good idea to ask for these post-surgical instructions prior to the actual procedure so that patients can make any necessary preparations for recovery in advance.
Take time off to recover
Liposuction doesn’t involve extensive incisions, but it’s still an invasive surgical procedure, and like any surgery, it will require time to heal. It’s typically recommended to allow for one to two weeks away from work as well as many day-to-day activities.
In general, patients can expect to experience a certain amount of pain or discomfort immediately following liposuction surgery. The surgeon will provide pain medication to help improve comfort levels. During the initial 24 to 48 hours after the surgery, patients should have someone around to help with things like cooking, cleaning, and childcare so the patient can limit physical activity and get appropriate rest.
A proper diet is crucial in helping to ensure the quickest, most comfortable post-lipo recovery process. Aside from the obvious benefits of a healthy, well-balanced diet, liposuction patients who maintain such a diet can also expect to experience less post-surgical swelling, which can greatly improve comfort and reduce overall recovery time.
Incorporating vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients into your diet will also help the body to more quickly regain its strength following the trauma of surgery. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Choose foods that are low in sodium. Excess salt intake encourages the body to retain water which can worsen swelling and slow recovery.
- Make sure every meal or snack includes a good source of protein. Increased intake of protein helps aid the re-growth of skin and muscle to speed wound healing.
- Limit sugar intake. Excess sugar can suppress the immune system, increase blood glucose levels, and cause mineral imbalances in the body.
- Don’t eat too much in one sitting. Consuming small amounts of food multiple times daily helps avoid nausea or bloating.
- Fruits and veggies such as strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, zucchini, and celery are all excellent choices as part of the post-liposuction recovery diet.
Stay on the move
While too much movement will put you at risk for infection or injury and slow down recovery, it is important that patients get on their feet post-surgically. Staying still increases the risk of blood clots, which can be fatal if they’re not caught and treated.
Light exercise, non-strenuous movement, and leisurely walks help promote circulation to reduce swelling and facilitate the healing process. A good rule is to try to get out of that recliner or off the couch at least once an hour to move around the house.
Patients should, however, take at least four to six weeks away from the gym. Pushing oneself too hard will slow down recovery.
It’s common to suffer some dehydration following any surgical procedure, and liposuction is no exception. Replenishing water lost during surgery will keep tissues hydrated and promote healing.
Eight to twelve cups of low-calorie beverages a day are the best way to maintain healthy hydration. Some good choices include water, diluted fruit juices, or herbal tea.
Keep clothing loose
Patients might be tempted to wear more tight-fitting clothes to show off their new form, but loose-fitting clothes are better during recovery and initial healing.
Patients will receive a compression garment immediately after surgery, along with instructions about how to wear it and how often they can go without it.
When in doubt, ask
Medical aesthetic professionals are here to help our patients. We must always encourage our patients to ask questions if there’s anything they don’t understand or feel unsure about. After all, it’s our job to ensure they get the best results possible by helping our patients achieve a full, uneventful recovery.