Regardless of your reason for getting liposuction, if this is your first time getting under the knife, you may likely be a little stressed or nervous. While these feelings are only natural, it helps to know what to expect at a liposuction appointment to reduce the fear, get into the right frame of mind, and prepare your body for the upcoming surgery. Taking the recommended preparatory steps can also dramatically improve the outcomes of this fat-reduction surgery. So, let’s get into it to help you get ready for your liposuction appointment.
Preparing for a Liposuction Surgery
Getting ready for liposuction entails following your surgeon’s advice and instructions on the days leading up to the procedure. While these may vary from person to person depending on their health condition and needs, some general tips that every liposuction candidate is required to follow include:
Few Weeks Before Liposuction
- No smoking for at least two weeks before the surgery
- Stop certain medications, like blood thinners, NSAIDS, and any herbal supplements you may take.
- Avoid eating and drinking for a certain period of time (usually 12 hours) before the surgery.
All patients undergo a detailed medical examination before being set up for liposuction to ensure their safety and efficacy. This may also entail certain lab tests. Blood work is also often done to ensure the patient is a good candidate for anaesthesia.
A Couple of Days Before the Surgery
Avoid shaving your body, particularly the area of the surgery, for at least 48 hours before the surgery. Some people might feel a little uncomfortable with not shaving, but this is important for a smooth recovery. Shaving can irritate the skin and/or cause ingrown hair, which isn’t ideal when you’re about to undergo surgery and can increase the risk of infections during recovery.
You must also arrange for someone to take you home after the surgery. Most liposuctions (if not all) are performed as outpatient procedures, which means you’ll be discharged from the hospital the same day. However, since the surgery is performed under anaesthesia, though not always general, it’s better to have someone drive you back home.
On the Day of the Liposuction
- Avoid using chemicals on the surgery site as they could interfere with the equipment and cause skin irritation afterward. This applies to all the lotions, creams, and other skincare products you may use.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes to avoid any rubbing against the surgery site that may cause discomfort and irritation. Keep your post-surgery comfort in mind when getting ready for your liposuction appointment.
- Arrive early. Patients are required to report at the hospital/surgical facility at least an hour early on the procedure day to have enough time for check-in, change into surgical clothes, and complete any other pre-surgery requisites that may be necessary.
What Happens During the Liposuction Procedure?
There are several liposuction techniques now available. Depending on which of them your cosmetic surgeon chooses to use, the exact process may vary; however, the overall procedure remains the same and involves the following steps:
- Administering anaesthesia, general or local, depending on the type of lipo performed
- Making the incision(s)
- Removing the fat via a cannula attached to a suction device
Depending on the size of the area being treated, the doctor may make one or more incisions. The incisions are usually kept small, but their size may vary across different liposuction techniques. Traditional lipo incisions are generally bigger than those made in Vaser liposuction.
In most liposuction cases, the incisions do not require stitches and heal on their own. However, there might be some cases where patients require sutures to close the incisions.
Recovering from a Liposuction – What to Expect, What to Do and Avoid?
It can take several months for your body to fully recover after liposuction and for the results of the treatment to become fully visible. However, the procedure has minimal downtime. In most cases, you walk out of the hospital or clinic the same day, wearing a compression garment to compress the skin and help with the swelling. You may also have some drains inserted in the surgical incisions to remove blood or any other fluid. Your doctor will schedule a follow-up to remove the drains and provide detailed instructions on how to take care of them and the surgical site. You may also be given some medications (oral and/or topical) to prevent infection and aid in healing.
Most patients can return to work in a few days after liposuction and resume all other daily activities within two to four weeks. However, it takes several months (anywhere from three to six) for your new body contours to take their final shape and for the liposuction results to become fully apparent.
Slight to moderate pain, swelling, and soreness is normal in the first few days after liposuction surgery. However, these are typically easily manageable with medications, and your doctor will prescribe them to you.
The Sum Up
Liposuction is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure in the world. It is also largely recognized as one of the safest cosmetic procedures. However, it still is surgery and with a long recovery period. So, it’s only natural for people to get worried or feel nervous about it. The best way to overcome these feelings is to get as much information about the procedure as possible, so you know what you’re stepping into and can prepare for it, both physically and mentally. Also, make sure to talk to your doctor about the procedure in detail. Discuss the entire treatment plan, post-surgical care and recovery, the risk of complications, and how they can be avoided or dealt with should they arise.
Going in for liposuction knowing what to expect at each stage is better than jumping into it without any knowledge and being surprised at every step.
Dr Kam Singh is a leading cosmetic surgeon in Manchester with extensive experience in helping people achieve their aesthetic goals and look the best version of themselves. He is part of the dynamic team of aestheticians at Manchester Private Hospital and has performed numerous cosmetic surgeries, including both types of tummy tuck procedures, with great results.