Liposuction Patient Information
- Preparing for Liposuction—Starting Now
- The Day Before Surgery
- The Morning of Surgery
- Post-Operative Care
- Contacting Dr. Zevon
- What To Expect
- Wearing The Garments
- Changing & Showering
- Activity Restrictions
- Sleeping & Prolonged Sitting
- Post-Operative Appointments
- Liposuction Recovery Time
- Resuming Normal Activities
- Exposure To Sunlight
Liposuction is a procedure that can sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin and neck. Localized deposits of fat are removed to recontour one or more areas of the body. Through a tiny incision, a narrow tube or cannula is inserted to vacuum the fat layer that lies beneath the skin. The cannula is pushed and pulled through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. The suction action is provided by a vacuum pump.
This basic technique of liposuction is used in all patients. However, as liposuction has been developed and refined, variations have been introduced. Individuals considering liposuction may feel overwhelmed by the number of options and techniques being promoted. Manhattan liposuction plastic surgeon Dr. Zevon has been trained and certified in liposuction techniques and is familiar with the field. He can help you decide which is the right approach for you, taking into account safety and appropriateness for your needs. A combination of techniques may be used.
Ultra-sound assisted liposuction requires the use of a special cannula that produces ultrasonic energy. As it passes through the areas of fat, the energy explodes the walls of the fat cells, liquefying the fat. UAL has been shown to improve the effectiveness of liposuction in fibrous areas of the body, such as the upper back or the enlarged male breast.
If only a small amount of fat and a limited number of body sites are involved, liposuction can be performed under local anesthesia. If you prefer, intravenous sedation or regional anesthesia, such as an epidural, can be used. If a large volume of fat is being removed, general anesthesia may be preferable. Manhattan liposuction specialist Dr. Zevon will discuss anesthesia options with you during your liposuction consultation.
Preparing for Liposuction Surgery
Please read and familiarize yourself with these instructions. By following them carefully you will assist in obtaining the best possible result from your liposuction surgery. If questions arise, do not hesitate to communicate with Dr. Zevon and discuss your questions at any time.
Re-read the General Instructions for Cosmetic Surgery Dr. Zevon gave you.
Complete your personal Information Sheet so that Dr. Zevon’s office will know who will escort you home after your surgery and where you plan to spend the night of your liposuction surgery. Bring it to your pre-operative appointment. You may also telephone, e-mail or fax the information to us. If you cannot locate it, let us know so that we can provide you with another.
To protect your bedding and mattress from liquid oozing from the incision sites, you may place a plastic drop cloth (such as one a painter would use) or shower curtain liner beneath your sheets. In addition to the plastic, use old sheets covered with large bath towels. You may also want to protect the car in which you will be driving home after liposuction surgery. A plastic garbage bag works well for covering car seats.
If you are a woman having lower body liposuction (any area below the abdomen), buy some support-style pantyhose to wear under the post-surgery compressive garment after the first week or so, when Dr. Zevon tells you to do so.
If you are having local anesthesia or your liposuction surgery is in the afternoon, check with us as to what or when you may eat or drink before surgery.
The Morning of Surgery
Shower or bathe with anti-bacterial soap. Wash the liposuction surgery areas thoroughly. Do not apply any moisturizers, deodorant, talcum powder or other products afterwards. Do not use hairspray or perfume.
Wear simple, comfortable, loose-fitting, dark colored clothing. Wear tops with front closures, such as zippers or buttons, bottoms that are easy to pull on, and comfortable shoes. No pantyhose or high heels. Do not wear new clothes. Sweat pants are ideal. Do not bring jewelry or valuables with you.
Immediately After Surgery
When you arrive home, be prepared to rest in bed for the first 48 hours after liposuction surgery. Remember to protect your bed with plastic, old sheets and bath towels, and wear dark-colored old clothes or sweatpants. Eat and drink lightly. You may go to the bathroom with assistance as needed. If you feel nauseated, lie on your back with your head down and remain still. Any sensation of nausea should pass by the morning after your surgery. If you feel fine, light activity will not harm you.
Take the antibiotics and pain medication prescribed by Dr. Zevon according to the pharmacy instructions. Don’t take the pain medication on an empty stomach, as this will induce nausea and vomiting. Have another adult give you the pain medication at the correct time and/or keep written records of how much you take and when you take it. You do not have to take the pain medicine if you are not in pain, but you must take all of your antibiotics. The period of greatest discomfort usually does not last more than 12 to 14 hours. Do not drive while taking pain medication.
Contact Dr. Zevon…
If you have severe pain not responding to pain medication or dressings that feel too tight. DON’T TAKE CHANCES! Call if you are concerned about anything you consider significant. During office hours, call 212.496.6600. After hours, call 917.612.3800.
What To Expect
There will be some fluid draining or oozing from the operative sites into the dressings. The appearance of this fluid may be clear red-it is blood-tinged fluid. This is normal drainage.
Extensive bruises (black & blue discoloration) and swelling in and around the liposuction surgery areas are common after liposuction. The areas of your body where you have had liposuction surgery may be covered with unsightly bruises. Bruising usually lasts 3 to 6 weeks. If you had liposuction of the abdomen, you may have bruising, swelling and discoloration of the genitalia, as blood and other fluid may descend into the soft tissues of the genitalia. This is normal, and is not cause for alarm.
Swelling reaches a plateau at 48 to 72 hours after liposuction surgery and persists at peak levels for several days. During the first week after liposuction surgery, you will notice that your clothes are tight and that you have gained weight due to fluid retention. This is normal. About 50% of the expected contour reduction occurs within 30 days, another 25% at 2 months and most of the final 25% by 3 months.
Patients who have liposuction of the abdomen may experience more postoperative pain than in other areas, probably from irritation of the underlying tissues, which is aggravated every time you breathe deeply, sit up, or bend and straighten.
The liposuction surgery areas may feel irregular and lumpy. This will resolve as you heal. When permitted, massage may speed the softening of any lumpy areas. (You must wait until 10 days after liposuction surgery for massage.)
Wearing the Garments
Compressive Garments: After your liposuction surgery, Dr. Zevon will apply dressings to the areas where the surgery was performed and place you in a specially ordered restrictive garment, called a compressive garment. The compressive garment, which resembles a tight girdle, helps reduce swelling, compressing the skin as it re-adjusts after the liposuction surgery. It is very important during this period for the skin tissue to be supported and sculpted for the proper re-shaping to occur. You should wear the compressive garment day and night for 2 weeks after your liposuction surgery (except when showering as instructed below) and then at night only for 2 more weeks. If your compressive garment has zippers, when instructed by Dr. Zevon, you may wear support-style pantyhose beneath the garment to minimize contour depressions from the zippers.
Changing & Showering
On the second day after liposuction surgery, as directed by Dr. Zevon, you can change the garment and remove the dressing placed underneath the garment. It is best to do this in the presence of another adult in case you get dizzy. To avoid lightheadedness, sit down for 5 or 10 minutes after removing the garment and the dressing. At this time, you can shower with the garment and dressing off. Do not take a bath during the first week after liposuction surgery, as the wounds may still be open. Again, an adult should be present while you are showering in case you are lightheaded. After the shower you can change into a new compression garment that Dr. Zevon has provided.
Most liposuction patients may return to full activities other than sports within 4 days. More vigorous activity is resumed gradually after the first week. Do not smoke for 48 hours after your liposuction surgery to prevent coughing and bleeding. Do not drink alcohol for 5 days after surgery or while you are taking the pain medication. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels and could cause bleeding, and mixing pain medication and alcohol is dangerous. You may drive a car with power steering after one week, if you are no longer taking pain medication.
Sleeping & Prolonged Sitting
If your liposuction surgery areas are around the mid-section and below, sleeping with your legs elevated during the first week after surgery should help minimize swelling in the lower legs. Prolonged sitting may increase the swelling of the lower legs. During the first week after liposuction surgery, if you have to sit for long periods of time during the day, get up every half-hour and walk around a bit.
Approximately 10 days after liposuction surgery, you may begin to massage the surgery areas if it feels comfortable to you. This may hasten the resolution of swelling, lumpy areas and/or hardness. You can massage with your hands and/or with a rolling pin, you can use a massage oil, moisturizing lotion or cream, or you may visit a massage therapist. We can provide you with the name of a massage therapist experienced with liposuction patients. Areas benefiting most from massage include the lower abdominal area and the medial and lateral thighs.
It is important to see Dr. Zevon as scheduled after liposuction surgery. Dr. Zevon will see you approximately one week after surgery. Follow-up visits will continue for several weeks, and then after several months. Check your post-operative instructions for your first appointment. If you don’t have an appointment, call (212) 496-6600. Tell the receptionist the date you had liposuction surgery, and she will schedule your post-operative appointment. At each post-operative appointment, Dr. Zevon will advise you how soon the next one should be scheduled.
Liposuction Recovery Time
INITIAL: 3 to 4 weeks. You should expect maximum swelling from 3 to 5 days after liposuction surgery. Bruising should begin to resolve in 3 weeks, and most of the swelling resolves in 3 to 4 weeks.
SUBSTANTIAL: 3 months. The treated areas may remain hard for 6 to 8 weeks. 50% of the expected contour reduction occurs within the first month, another 25% at 2 months and most of the final 25% by 3 months.
FINAL: Occasional patients, especially those who undergo calf and ankle liposuction, have significant additional diminution in contour up to 6 months after liposuction surgery.
Resuming Normal Activities
Work: Follow the plan you and Dr. Zevon have agreed upon. Most of our patients are able to return to work within 4 days after liposuction surgery. By one week, all liposuction patients are back at work if they want to be.
Avoid vigorous activity, including strenuous sexual activity, and contact sports for at least four weeks. During this time, walking is fine and is recommended, but use common sense. If you have been sedentary for a while after your liposuction surgery, gradually increase the time you spend walking. Dr. Zevon will give you permission to increase your activities according to the progress of your recovery and your overall fitness level. Sports are resumed gradually. A patient’s motivation is the most important factor in determining when to return to full activity.
Changing exercise and diet habits is hard for many people. However, now that you have had liposuction you may find new motivation to maintain your new shape. We encourage you to become involved in a regular aerobic exercise program to sustain the changes in body contour. We recommend brisk walking on an inclined treadmill for 30 minutes, at least 3 days a week if possible. Additionally, we recommend maintaining healthy eating habits by eating regular meals of low-fat, high fiber, varied foods. If you like, we can refer you to experts in nutrition and exercise.
Exposure To Sunlight
You should wait a minimum of six weeks before exposure to sun and heat or sunbathing because of the possibility of swelling.