SolveYourProblem eLearning Series:
How Do I Get Rid Of My Cellulite?

( 14 pages )

   

Liposuction

You may want to have someone drive you to your appointment for liposuction. You may be tired or uncomfortable after liposuction and unable to drive yourself home. Discuss this with your physician before the day of your procedure.

Your physician may prescribe an antibiotic drug for you to take before and after the surgery. This is to prevent infections.

On the day of the liposuction surgery, the physician will mark your body with a pen to indicate where the fat is to be removed. Then you will receive anesthesia, that is medicine that prevents you from feeling pain. Some physicians use only local anesthesia, that is, anesthesia that they inject with a syringe or pump into the area where they will do the liposuction.

The anesthesia medicine is injected along with a lot of fluid, usually buffered salt water and epinephrine, a drug to reduce bleeding. Large volumes of liquid may be injected, until the skin is very firm. If your physician uses only this kind of local anesthesia, also sometimes called tumescent anesthesia, then you will be awake during the procedure. Other physicians use local anesthesia and a sedative that can be taken by mouth or injected from a syringe. Still others prefer to use general anesthesia, that is to use anesthesia that will put you to sleep during the procedure. This is usually done in a hospital.

Once the anesthesia is working, the physician will make an incision (cut) in the area where the liposuction will be performed. A canula, a hollow tube that is about the size and shape of a skinny pen, will be inserted into the incision. The physician moves this canula back and forth to suction out the fat. The fat, and liquid that has been injected, are collected in a flask.

The physician will monitor the amount of fluid and fat that are removed. Because you will be losing liquid and fat from your body, it may be necessary to replace some of that fluid. This is done with an intravenous (i.v.) line for the replacement of fluid.

Depending upon the amount of fat removed and the location of the surgery (doctor's office, surgical center, hospital), you may leave the doctor's office soon after the surgery or you may spend the night in the surgical center or hospital. Ask your doctor how long it will be before you should be able to return to your normal level of activity or if you will need to miss work after liposuction.

The cuts where the doctor inserted the canula may be leaky or drain fluids for several days. In some cases, the doctor may insert a drainage tube to drain fluid away from the wound.

You will wear special tight garments to keep your skin compressed after the liposuction procedure. Your doctor will tell you how long to wear these, usually for weeks. Some doctors provide these garments but others will tell you where to purchase them before your surgery.

Your doctor will also probably give you some after-surgery instructions. This will include information about wearing compression garments, taking an antibiotic if that has been prescribed, and the level of activity that is safe for you after your liposuction procedure. You should also have information about signs of problems that you should be aware of, for instance the signs of infections or other problems that you need to know about.

When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or of a long duration, you should contact your physician. You will also have some swelling after the surgery. In some cases, this swelling will remain for weeks or even months. If you have pain and swelling, this may be the sign of infection and you should contact your physician.

You will have scars, usually small, where the physician cuts your skin and inserts the canula to remove fat tissue.

While medical complications are important, the reason that people have liposuction surgery is for cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic effect after liposuction may be very good and many patients report being satisfied.

However, it is possible that the cosmetic effect will not be what you expected. In other words, your appearance after liposuction may not be what you expected or wanted.

Some physicians counsel their patients that reasonable expectations are important. It may be difficult to have reasonable expectations after reading advertisements and looking at pictures of women and men who have had liposuction.

We discussed this earlier, but remember that advertising is made to make you want to purchase a product or service. Advertisements do not usually tell you about problems or shortcomings of the product or service.

Some cosmetic shortcomings after liposuction include:

  • There may be scars at the site where the doctor made the cut to insert the liposuction canula. These scars are usually small and fade with time but in some people, scars may be larger or more prominent.
  • The liposuction site may have a wavy or bumpy appearance after liposuction.
  • Liposuction results may not be permanent. If you gain weight after liposuction surgery, the fat may return to sites where you had liposuction or to other sites.
  • Results may be less dramatic than what you were expecting and this can be disappointing.

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