A Basic Guide to Liposuction Aftercare and Recovery

Staying healthy and slimming down means incorporating regular exercise and a nutritious diet into your daily routine. However, even successful weight loss efforts don’t guarantee that fat will be reduced in select problem areas, such as the belly, love handles or under the chin. There is hope, however, for those with unwanted trouble spots. Liposuction is ideal for slimming down resistant areas of flab. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Iteld of Iteld Plastic Surgery reminds patients considering liposuction in the Chicago area that it’s important to take time to rest and recuperate fully after treatment to maximize results.

Liposuction is a form of surgery that requires down time after, but everyone’s recovery timeline and experiences are unique. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon makes tiny incisions in well concealed locations, then separates and suctions out fat cells beneath the skin with a hollow instrument called a cannula. The procedure can be applied all over the body, including the face, chin, neck, chest, back, abdomen, arms, and legs.

By using the power-assisted liposuction (PAL) technique—which is the method used most frequently at Iteld Plastic Surgery—the surgery itself can take less time, and the recovery period can be more comfortable for patients. PAL involves a cannula device that rapidly vibrates and allows the surgeon a greater level of precision while making it easier to extract tougher fat and larger amounts of fat.

There are other techniques that help shorten the post-surgical recovery phase so that most men and women who choose liposuction can go back to work and their daily lives within a few days of their procedure. Although liposuction is generally a very safe procedure, there are some risks and complications patients should be aware of. Liposuction patients will also need to take extra time to care for their body and be attentive during the recovery phase, no matter the specifics of their procedure.

Getting plenty of sleep and resting whenever you feel tired after surgery is critical. Arrange for a family member or friend to help out around the house. Doctors recommend quitting cigarette smoking before and after the operation, as the habit increases the risks of infections and scarring, interferes with the body’s ability to close wounds, and can keep the final results from developing as well as they can. Some level of discomfort, swelling, and fatigue is to be expected after any form of liposuction—but, again, details specific to the procedure make a big difference.

Patients are usually required to wear compression garments after the surgery. These apply external pressure to the treatment area to reduce swelling, help the body to settle into its new shape, improve circulation, and prevent skin from becoming wrinkled.

Patients should avoid heavy physical activity that raises their heart rate, but light walking within the first few days of recovery helps to improve circulation. Walking after surgery is essential to minimize the risk of developing blood clots in one’s legs. Dr. Iteld generally encourages his patients to walk at least several block three to four times a day starting the day of the procedure. Start easy and build up. Also, this is not a race—walk at a nice, slow, leisurely pace. And remember to have someone with you those first couple of days.

Other than the compression garment, it’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing following liposuction. Your physician can advise you on the best time to resume a normal exercise routine. While scars are small and typically well-concealed, patients may want to limit sun exposure while they heal. The skin is very sensitive, and UV rays from the sun can cause incisions to burn. Be sure to check for any signs of infections and attend any scheduled follow-up appointments.

Once you’ve fully healed and your body contouring results are visible, it’s tempting to sit back and enjoy the results in the years that come. Note that liposuction is an aesthetic treatment, as opposed to a weight loss solution, and results aren’t guaranteed to last indefinitely. If you gain a few pounds, it’s possible for the fat to be distributed to other areas of the body where it can cause new unwanted bulges to appear. To prolong the lifespan of your slim figure, you still need to maintain a healthy overall lifestyle by following a balanced diet, exercising, and staying well hydrated.

Explore your options for liposuction and other body contouring procedures at Chicago’s Iteld Plastic Surgery. To learn more, call Dr. Lawrence Iteld directly at 312.757.4505 or submit a contact form online request a consultation.

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