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After the Liposuction Procedure
After the procedure, the patient is brought into a postoperative recovery area (some offices may use the same surgical area as a postoperative area), and dressings are applied. Dressings may consist of gauze pads, tape, a special absorbent draping, or even a diaper. Lastly, a specialized garment is fit to the patient, which should be worn for about a month. For chin liposuctions, the garment is worn for three days. This helps the area to be firmly bound down, but not so firmly that blood cannot circulate normally. There are many different types of garments, and the surgeon may send the patient to a medical supply house to pick them up before surgery. The author favors the HK garments and uses two garments on top of each other (one smaller than the other) to keep the area comfortable but tight.
Usually, the patient will be observed for at least an hour or longer and then discharged with a friend or family member to be observed for the rest of the day and evening. Although many patients have asked to go home alone, it is quite possible to have minor issues that arise and, for that reason, careful observation for the next 12 to 24 hours is recommended. Pain medication need varies by procedure type. Patients who undergo the tumescent liposuction procedure usually require acetaminophen (Extra Strength Tylenol), but oral narcotics are often necessary for patients who undergo the non-tumescent procedure.
The most common time for possible dizziness to occur after the procedure is the first time the patient uses the restroom or when the garments are initially removed. For this reason, it is always a good idea to have a friend or family member available, or within calling distance, when doing these activities.
Next Steps after Liposuction
Follow-up care is typically the morning after the procedure. Further follow-up care may vary from practice to practice. The majority of improvement occurs within one to two months after a procedure, but, in some areas, such as the chin, results may be incomplete until six months.
If the tumescent liposuction method is performed, most surgeons will not need to suture the area closed (studies have shown that suturing the area closed prolongs recovery and leads to more scarring at the cannula entrances). If the surgeon has sutured the area, another visit is necessary to remove the sutures.
During the recovery process, patients are urged to keep their garments on for the full time recommended by their surgeon and to report any problems or issues to their surgeon. Additionally, it is very important that the patient not wear tight or constrictive clothes during the recovery phase, as these may act to push fat away from certain areas, eventually causing a groove in the area. Usually, it is advisable to wear looser fitting clothing for the first couple of months after the procedure.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/1/2016
Joel Schlessinger, MD
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