After Your SurgeryWhat can you expect after surgery? How will you feel? When can you resume your normal routine?
Later chapters in this book will talk about liposuction for specific body parts, but there are general reactions you can expect after liposuction surgery.
And, of course, your own physician will give you specific instructions, based on your individual medical condition, the type and extent of the surgery performed, your lifestyle, and your occupational and lifestyle demands.
Generally speaking, your physician will have made an appointment for you to come in several days after the surgery for a checkup to be sure that healing is proceeding normally.
In my opinion, the responsible liposuction surgeon will also see that any required follow-up care is arranged. You should be given specific instructions for long-range diet and exercise plans, or referred to services that will monitor your progress. If psychological or behavioral counseling is appropriate, that, too, should be planned.
The best results of your liposuction are assured by a comprehensive, thorough follow-through, so that you can continue to stay healthy and look attractive. Achieving this requires two things: the awareness and knowledge of your liposuction surgeon to put you in touch with resources that will help you maintain diet and exercise plans, and-even more important-your own willingness to carry out those suggestions. If you are determined to make the most of your liposuction, which has, after all, cost you considerable time, money, and physical trauma, then you will remain diligent and conscientious. That commitment will keep you looking your best.
At The Liposuction Institute, I advise my patients to spend the day of surgery in minimal activity after the operation. You should rest...lying in bed or on the couch. You can get up to go to the bathroom, unless instructed otherwise, but that should be the extent of your activity on the day you have had surgery.
My patients are told they will wear the bandages, tape, or special garment 24 hours a day for one week following surgery, unless specifically given other instructions. They take off the garment when they go to the bathroom to urinate or defecate, but otherwise the garment should stay on, even while they are sleeping. The tight bandages or garment help the underlying skin to bond together, thus speeding healing and giving the skin a better overall appearance in the long run.
1. Special garments, bandages, or tape must be worn constantly for several days following surgery.
2. The areas where surgery has been performed are protected by bandages, tape, or special garments.
3. A side view shows the area following liposuction protected by bandages, tape, and special garments.
For one week following surgery, do not shower or take a tub bath.
Washing your hair is permissible as soon as you feel up to standing at the basin, unless, of course, you have had facial liposuction. Better yet, make an appointment at the beauty salon. You may be more fatigued than you anticipated after surgery.
DIET AND MEDICATIONS
copyright-dr.leon tcheupdjian/liposuctionAfter liposuction surgery, I recommend to my patients that they continue The Liposuction Diet, found in Chapter 22 of this book. If you are not a patient at The Liposuction Institute, be sure to discuss this diet in detail with your own physician. Obtain your doctor's approval before you follow the diet.
The diet is primarily composed of fruits and vegetables. Animal protein is limited to moderate amounts of chicken, turkey, or fish. The diet contains no eggs, butter, cheese, or dairy products. It includes only small amounts of animal fats and other foods that contain triglycerides.
It is extremely important that you drink no alcohol while you are on this diet-including beers, wines, or wine coolers. Alcohol tends to retard wound healing.
You may drink as much water as you wish. I recommend a minimum of 8 glasses a day. An easy way to remember how much you have drunk is to place a small, gummed, star sticker on a wall calendar after each glass. The star helps you to keep track of your fluid intake. By becoming aware of how much you are drinking during the day, you are more apt to remember your beverage consumption. Coffee, tea, and diet beverages are permitted in moderate amounts.
While you are following this diet, you should be taking the multi-vitamin and mineral supplement your doctor prescribes.
After surgery, you should have minimal discomfort. I may give patients a prescription (usually acetaminophen) for mild pain, but they seldom need to use it.
Aspirin or compounds containing aspirin should not be taken for at least six weeks after surgery, since they tend to thin the blood and may contribute to bleeding problems. lbuprofen (now available in over-the-counter compounds such as Advil or Nuprin, should likewise not be taken during this period. Since many over-the-counter medications for cold relief, pain relief, menstrual symptoms, and similar conditions may contain aspirin, related compounds, or ibuprofen, you should read labels carefully. If you have any discomfort for which you are considering over-the-counter medication, call your surgeon and discuss the problem first.
You should not take any medication casually at the time, no matter how often you have used it before.
Vitamin E may also contribute to bleeding problems in the post-surgical period. If you are a patient of The Liposuction Institute, your needs for this vitamin will be met by the special vitamin-and-mineral supplement I have prescribed for you. You will not need to take special Vitamin E capsules. In fact, you should not take them "on your own" for at least six to eight weeks after surgery.
Some patients have previously been on medication-usually antidepressants-prescribed by another doctor, that will have been discontinued during the period before surgery. Do not resume taking such medications without specific instructions from your liposuction surgeon that it is all right to do so. The doctor who performed liposuction and your primary care physician who prescribed the antidepressants will consult together about your case, and specifically advise you what to do.
You may be relieved to hear that if you are taking birth control pills, you usually can continue taking them without interruption, as generally they have no effect on liposuction or your body's healing process. However, you will have discussed your specific prescription for these pills-and contraception techniques-with your liposuction surgeon during your "medical assessment" visit, so you will know your doctor's specific instructions on this point. Follow your liposuction surgeon's advice.
If you give up taking birth control pills for a short time following liposuction, be sure to use another reliable method of birth control if you have intercourse and do not want to get pregnant. You may be ready for sex far more quickly than you anticipated. There is no reason why you cannot have sex after liposuction surgery as soon as you feel physically and psychologically ready, unless your physician has given you other instructions.
YOUR APPEARANCE AFTER SURGERY
Liposuction is cosmetic surgery. So one of your first reactions, after you have returned home, may be to ask others how they think you look or to view yourself in the bathroom mirror after you have taken off the surgical garment.
Do not judge the success of your liposuction operation by what you see the first time you examine your body or look in the mirror. In fact, the full benefits of your liposuction will not become apparent for several months.
There are several reasons this is so.
It is normal-and expected-for your body to become bruised and swollen, especially in or near the area where surgery has taken place. if you have had liposuction of the abdomen, for example, you may see discolorations and bruises on your skin, though not necessarily around your incision. The bruises may be red, purple, yellow, green, dark brown, or any combination. You may wonder what has happened, and if the surgery really has been successful.
You need not become alarmed. These bruises will fade with time. There is nothing you can do to speed the process. Your body has been submitted to a certain amount of trauma, and this is a normal reaction. Having discolored skin does not mean that you are hemorrhaging internally, and it certainly will be a short-lived, temporary condition.
SWELLING OR EDEMA
WYou will almost certainly have some slight swelling in the area in which liposuction has taken place. Since the swelling makes your body appear larger, you may wonder if the liposuction was effective a all. Again, do not panic. You are having a normal body reaction to surgery. A great part of the swelling is due to the body's inflammatory response-which includes the release of interstitial fluid. Water that is normally contained inside cell walls comes out of the cells as a response to the stress of the operation and settles in the tissue spaces between the cells. The swelling it causes is called edema. Gradually, the water is reabsorbed into the cell walls, and the swelling goes down. If your doctor feels the swelling is excessive, he or she can prescribe appropriate medication. But the usual therapy-and the most traditional, conservative way to handle the condition-is to let the water go back into the cells at its own pace. This swelling does not mean your wound is infected.
Rest on the day of surgery, wear the garment or bandages as instructed, follow the diet and take your vitamin-and-mineral supplement as prescribed, and shortly you will be back in your usual routine.
How soon that will be depends on your state of health, the location and extent of the liposuction, and how rapidly you convalesce. Fortunately, liposuction is a relatively simple operation. Since skin incisions are small and placed in the fold lines as much as possible, there should be minimal scarring. In fact, most liposuction patients find that any scars from the incisions are almost invisible.
Common sense should be your guideline, along with your doctor's specific instructions. Some patients have reported going out to dinner or a date on the day of surgery. I would say that is stretching it a bit. Many patients, however, have gone back to work the day following surgery, or shortly thereafter. If you feel up to it-and you almost certainly will-there is no reason why you cannot do so, unless your doctor has given you other instructions.
Remember that liposuction is body contouring-shaping your body towards the desired appearance and dimensions - removing unwanted bulges by auctioning away unsightly fat deposits. The skill and experience of your surgeon are so very important in obtaining the results you wish. He or she will be able to gently, yet effectively, remove just the "right" amounts of fat. When the bruises have faded and the swelling has subsided, when you are indeed wearing the clothing you've longed for, when you can look at yourself in the mirror without feeling ashamed, embarrassed, or uneasy, you will truly appreciate your doctor's expertise.
The veteran liposuction surgeon will proceed cautiously during the operation, aware that your final appearance is in her or his hands. If, after your healing process is complete, a slight touchup is found to be desirable, it can easily be done.Previous Chapter | Next Chapter