Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world. For years, liposuction has helped men and women achieve slimmer, fitter, firmer and smoother body contours with natural-looking and long-lasting results.
If you are considering liposuction with Dr. Kahlil Andrews at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, you may have questions about what to expect while recuperating from the procedure. Each recovery is unique. A number of factors influence the experience and length of your recovery, ranging from the treated areas to your pain tolerance and the natural pace of your body’s healing process. With this in mind, scheduling a one-on-one consultation is the best way to learn what your personal recovery might look like and how it may compare to the average recovery described here.
After liposuction is complete, the treatment area is dressed and wrapped in a compression garment to help ease any swelling. Our staff will move you to a recovery room to rest while your anesthesia wears off. When you are alert, you will be given a prescription for oral pain medications and instructions for post-operative care. You will also be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment so Dr. Andrews can ensure your recovery is progressing properly. A friend or family member can then drive you home. They, or another trusted caretaker, should remain with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.
Plan to take at least a few days away from work and other daily activities as you recuperate from liposuction. It is normal to experience some pain and swelling during this time. Follow Dr. Andrews’ instructions for pain management and continue wearing your compression garment to ensure any swelling is distributed evenly over the area and bruising and swelling are reduced. Take short walks around the room, house or neighborhood to help reduce swelling and prevent the formation of blood clots but avoid more intense physical activity. Rest and stay hydrated to encourage healing. Do not shower until cleared to do so by your surgeon.
Continue using your compression garment as directed by Dr. Andrews. The number of hours the garment should be worn each day will decrease as the recovery period progresses. If you have a desk job, you should be ready to return to work within one week after liposuction. A more physically demanding job may require more time off to avoid straining the treatment area. Dr. Andrews will recommend a timeframe for returning to work based on the extent of your procedure, how quickly your body’s healing process progresses and the type of work you do. Soreness and swelling will subside in the second and third weeks after your procedure, and will be dramatically reduced by four weeks. Plan to avoid strenuous or high-impact exercise for about 2 weeks. Dr. Andrews will oversee your recovery and let you know when you are cleared to resume your usual workout routine.
It can take up to six weeks for all bruising to resolve. By the 12-week mark, any soreness, tightness or numbness has usually subsided and no forms of activity are off limits. Dramatic improvements will be visible at this point, though you may continue to notice changes for six to 12 months after surgery. Scars from liposuction are generally very small and well-hidden, but they will continue to improve and become less conspicuous over the next year.
Liposuction is a body shaping treatment, not a weight loss procedure. Though it can produce significant cosmetic improvements, you should not expect to lose a dramatic amount of weight. In fact, surgeons follow guidelines that set a maximum limit on how much fat can safely be removed during a single day. The amount that is extracted will ultimately depend on a combination of factors, including your body composition, your desired result and the risk of complications.
Liposuction is performed using a thin tube called a cannula that is inserted through an incision in the skin to remove subcutaneous fat. Incisions are unavoidable, but they are small and, depending on their location, may be easy to conceal under clothing and most swimsuits. They will become less visible with time. Follow all instructions for post-operative care to ensure the best possible outcome for your scars.
Liposuction is only designed to eliminate unwanted fat, not to treat other body concerns. It will have minimal if any effect on the tightness of your skin and cannot treat cellulite or stretch marks. If you have excess skin you would like removed, surgery (such as a tummy tuck or other lift) is required. Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery also offers noninvasive treatments that can tighten skin after liposuction and laser skin treatments that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
While liposuction does remove fat right away, the procedure can cause significant swelling. Your final result will not be visible until the swelling has subsided.
Fat cells removed by liposuction do not grow back. However, the fat cells that remain can grow larger or smaller with significant weight fluctuations. In general, as long as you maintain a stable weight, your new silhouette will be more or less permanent. Your body will continue to change as you age, as well, but you will have the benefit of a more toned body contour, and it will be easier for you to maintain your figure over time.
Follow Dr. Andrews’ post-operative recommendations to ensure a healthy and timely recovery. The healing process requires patience and diligent attention to these guidelines to provide optimal results. Wear your compression garment and care for your incisions properly. Watch for signs of complications. Get adequate rest. Return to your normal routine slowly. Attend all follow-up appointments. Remember that liposuction cannot be a substitute for good lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy diet, stay well hydrated and exercise regularly to ensure your results last.
If you have excess fat that refuses to budge despite ongoing exercise and dieting efforts, you may be a candidate for liposuction. Dr. Andrews is an expert in performing body contouring procedures to eliminate unwanted fat and reveal a slimmer, more shapely body. For more information about liposuction, or to find out whether the procedure is right for you, contact Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery at 319-800-6877 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, Iowa.