Depending on the anesthesia used, patients can leave the surgical center within 1 to 3 hours following their procedure. If a general anesthetic is used, patients are monitored in the recovery area by registered nurses until they are stable and ready to return home or to an after-care facility. Dr. Younai uses a local anesthetic in the majority of patients and they can leave the facility as soon as they wish following the treatment.
Dr. Younai wants to make your liposuction recovery process as easy as possible.
Detailed instructions will be provided outlining the medication timetable, instructions on care of the incision sites, and indicators of problems that should be reported to Dr. Younai. Patients are encouraged to clarify anything related to after-surgery care and to ask any questions as needed to fully understand their role in an uneventful recovery.
The First Days Following Surgery
For the first 12 to 18 hours many patients feel groggy and because of this it is recommended that driving is postponed for 24 hours.
Patients must have a responsible adult drive them home and assist them for at least 24 hours post surgery to ensure safety. It is very helpful to have someone available to adjust pillows, assist with getting to and from the bathroom, and handle meal preparation and other chores. The caregiver can also ensure medications are taken on schedule.
Prepare the recovery area ahead of time; have all items needed within easy reach. Reading material, TV remote, medication, snacks and cold drinks should all be accessible without having to move around excessively. It is helpful to have the bed situated so that it is not necessary to use stairs.
Nausea medication is provided to all patients as it is quite common for nausea to be an issue during the first 24 to 48 hours. It is recommended that the nausea medication be taken an hour before the pain medication or antibiotics. It is best to avoid beverages that are acidic like orange juice. Plain water can also aggravate nausea. Sparkling water with ice is well tolerated.
Initially, patients will feel muscle cramp pain or pain resembling a bruise. Dr. Younai will prescribe pain medication which will keep the patient comfortable. Many patients report that Tylenol is sufficient for pain relief.
Do not take Advil, Aspirin, Aleve or any other NSAID pain relief as these can increase bruising.
The compression garment should be left in place for 2 days before removing it to shower. Follow Dr. Younai’s specific instructions if these differ from the 2 day rule. It is normal to feel faint the first time the compression garment is removed. Have someone present to assist if needed. Following a shower, apply a heavy fragrance-free cream to the area to relieve the itchiness caused by the dehydrating effects of liposuction.
Other than taking showers, the garment will need to be worn 24 hours a day for 3 weeks. After the initial 3 weeks, patients can reduce this to daytime hours only. This will help the skin conform to the new contours and will reduce swelling.
Massage Is Important
Begin massaging the area as instructed beginning with the first shower. Applying cream is an opportunity to deeply massage the area. Massage should be done 3 times per day. There is no need to remove the compression garment when conducting massage. Massage is very important to minimize any dimpling or wrinkling that might occur. Exercising as soon as possible also improve the results.
Treated areas will be numb for 4 to 8 weeks. Massaging the area will have a very beneficial effect in two ways; it will help desensitize the treatment site and prevent hypersensitivity and secondly, massage is the most effective way patients can contribute to achieving the best result possible in your liposuction recovery.
Returning To Normal Activities
Swelling and bruising is normal and will gradually improve over the next 5 to 8 weeks. Patients are encouraged to move as much as possible to increase circulation which will hasten healing. This also reduces the risk of forming blood clots.
Patients usually return to work within 3 to 7 days and can resume exercising and sexual relations as comfort allows. Any major surgery will cause fluctuations in energy level and stamina. It is normal to have days where energy is abundant, and days where it’s difficult to get out of bed. Within 4 to 6 weeks this will resolve.
Patience is needed when anticipating the final result. The recovery process goes through stages where swelling and uneven skin texture will be more evident than in the early days. Almost from the beginning patients are aware of their smaller size. Improvement will continue over the several months.