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Procedure: FAQ Liposuction

FAQ Liposuction

1. How long will my bruises last?

That depends on the individual and their unique body chemistry. Everyone is different in the same way that one person may have blue eyes while the other has brown. But, in general, it takes about 2-3 weeks for most of the bruising to disappear. Traumeel™ is very useful during this time to accelerate the resolution of bruising. It is available through our office.

2. I am very swollen, especially my legs, 3 days out from surgery. What should I do?

This is completely normal. During surgery, you are given a lot of fluid through your veins via an I.V. and it takes 7-10 days for your body to expel this. Certain parts of your body may just be swollen locally from the trauma created by the surgery; in these cases it may take 2-3 months for the majority of the swelling to dissipate. Don't worry, you will be appreciating the dramatic changes afforded by your liposuction way before this time (generally after 2 weeks), but stubborn areas of swelling are normal. Judicious exercise, massage and deep lymphatic drainage can help accelerate your return to normal.

3. I feel weak after lipo. Is this normal?

Yes it is. In large volume cases (up to 5 liters of fat aspirated), you may feel "winded" or unusually fatigued for about 2 weeks. This is because internal body fluids as well as fat and blood have been removed from your body during the process which will make anyone tired for a week or so. Drink plenty of fluids and take an Iron supplement. Remember that iron can constipate you as well as occasionally make you nauseated, so it may be wise to take a stool softener at the same time. Colace™ will do.
It is also important to change your posture gradually for the first 2 weeks after liposuction since you are more liable to get lightheaded or even faint if you change positions too rapidly. This happens because immediately after lipo you are relatively dehydrated within your vascular system and sudden changes in position will allow the blood to rush from your brain to your feet. This then produces a lightheadedness, nausea, cold sweat and loose bowels and even fainting-as syndrome complex doctors refer to as a vaso-vagal response. This can also happen if you are having baths, hot tubs or showers that are too hot in the postoperative period. If you feel this coming on at any time, immediately lie down. You will start feeling better within a minute.

4. I feel numb, pain and itching at the same time. Is this normal?

These are all normal sensations after liposuction or any surgery for that matter. These may take several months to go away. You can employ regular moisturizers as soon as 1 week after surgery. Traumeel™ is a good alternative, however, because it not only reduces bruising, but it also provides a soothing, anti-inflammatory effect to your skin at this time. It is available at our office.

5. My skin is dry. Is this normal?

Yes it is. Again, it may take several months to return to normal. You can use your regular moisturizer 1 week after surgery.

6. When will I see my final results from my lipo?

One will see results as soon as the garment is initially removed 2-4 days after the procedure. 95%of my patients are very happy at 2 weeks and 98% by 6. Final results can take up to 6 months to stabilize.

7. Will fat go elsewhere after the lipo?

Remember that liposuction removes fat and fat has a weight. So if a surgeon removes 10lbs of fat then the baseline weight of that same patient (hopefully the point at which all body parts now are balanced in size and shape) will be shifted down by 10 lbs. For example, if a 150 lb patient gets 10 lbs removed from her, then her baseline weight will shift down to 140 lbs. However, if 6 months later she is 152 lbs, she may notice that her arms are fatter for example. She may think that she is only 2 lbs overweight at this time, but, in fact, she is actually 12 lbs overweight. It is important to pay attention to the scale and your actual weight after a liposuction procedure and not simply manage your weight by how well you look in the mirror and fit into clothes.

8. When can I exercise?

After 1 week if a small-to-moderate amount of liposuction was performed, but 2-3 weeks after more extensive surgical intervention. Remember, if exercise hurts postpone it for a later time and if it doesn't you may proceed.

9. Why didn't you suck all the fat out, or at least a little bit more.

What is important is what the plastic surgeon leaves behind, not what he "sucks out". The fat that is left behind not only confers smoothness but also gives the slender feminine shape. We, as plastic surgeons, are also limited in how much fat we can aspirate by safety concerns. Too much fat removed in one setting can result in potentially serious health concerns.

10. Will liposuction help my skin appearance?

No, it will not help cellulite either. It can result in some skin tightening, but dimples that exist preoperatively will be there after the surgery as well.

Randal Haworth, MD
436 North Bedford Drive Suite 105
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 273-3000 (310) 273-8802 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.