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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Liposuction

by Lyndon Langley
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Liposuction

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Liposuction

Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed in America today. The number of liposuctions has steadily increased over the past 20 years. In 2001, more than 200,000 Americans underwent this procedure. Today that number is estimated at about 500,000 per year!
The reason for this increase? Because it works — big time. It’s a safe procedure with very low complication rates. But just like any surgery or medical treatment, there are risks involved. And because liposuction removes fat cells, it affects blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. This means your body will need to be able to heal itself properly after removing those fatty tissue deposits.
What does healing mean exactly? How long does it take for your body to recover from liposuction?
One thing is certain; it takes longer than if you had a smaller amount removed. For example, let’s say you have a large area of cellulite on your thighs/hips/buttocks (protruding “bat wings”), which causes unsightly dimpling when standing up straight. If you choose to undergo liposuction, the surgeon will remove several pounds of fat.
If you have an average amount of fat removed, it may take anywhere from 5 to 7 days before you can return to work and 4 to 6 weeks before you can get back to physical activities, such as exercise. A long-term recovery typically lasts 3 months.
After 2-3 weeks post-surgery, you’ll notice that skin texture changes. Your skin will become tighter and smoother. You should also begin noticing some bruising around the incisions where the surgical drains are placed. These drains are used to draw out the fluid that remains following liposuction.
During this period, you’ll want to avoid strenuous activity, especially lifting heavy objects. When returning to exercise, start slowly, then gradually build up your routine. You may experience some shortness of breath during exertion. Don’t worry – this is normal. It is only temporary. After a few minutes, you’ll feel better.
You might even see some small amounts of gas coming through the incision sites, which could cause pain or discomfort. This is not uncommon, but it usually disappears within 24 hours once all the tissues are fully healed.
In addition to being aware of these common symptoms, it’s important for you to understand how each specific type of liposuction technique works so that you can make informed decisions regarding your own health and well-being. Read on to learn about three different types of liposuction techniques.
Types Of Liposuction Procedures
There are many different ways in which liposuction can help you achieve the shape you desire. There are basically two categories of liposuction procedures: traditional suction assisted lipectomy and ultrasound assisted liposuction.
Traditional liposuction uses a tool called a cannula to suck fat through tiny tubes inserted into the areas of the body that contain unwanted fat deposits. Cannulas come in varying sizes depending on what part of the body they’re intended to treat. One end of the cannula resembles a fine needle while the other end looks like a vacuum cleaner hose. The narrow portion of the tube is surrounded by water, which keeps the surrounding tissues moist. Since the tube is inserted directly into the patient’s body, the water provides a cushion between the skin and the tube. This helps prevent damage caused by friction against the inside surface of the skin.
Ultrasound assisted liposuction is similar to traditional liposuction except that the device that creates suction is a hand-held probe that vibrates ultrasonically. Ultrasonic energy breaks down the fatty tissue into particles, allowing them to pass through the cannulas much easier. As a result, less anesthesia is required during the procedure.
Both types of liposuction provide excellent results, however, the latter requires fewer operating room visits and recovery times. Also, patients who receive ultrasound assisted liposuction tend to suffer less scarring and bruising than those who opt for traditional liposuction. Overall, both methods are equally effective and safe.
Now that you know the difference between liposuction procedures, read on to discover why some people think liposuction is dangerous.
Risks Associated With Liposuction
Although liposuction is generally considered a safe procedure, it is associated with risk factors. Some of these risks include infection, prolonged bleeding, nerve injury, stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism and death.
To minimize your chances of developing complications, discuss your personal situation thoroughly with your surgeon prior to undergoing the operation. Make sure he or she explains everything about the procedure, including possible side effects and expected outcomes. Ask him or her if he or she has ever seen anything similar to yours happen previously. Be completely honest about your medical history and medications.
As mentioned earlier, the greatest danger associated with liposuction is deep venous thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when blood clots form in the veins close to the surface of the skin. Blood clot formation can occur when blood pooling increases dramatically, causing pressure on the vein walls. This leads to constriction of the vessels that transport blood away from the legs. When this happens, oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide builds up. Deep leg veins drain the blood from the lower parts of the body, which includes the feet. Without proper action, this process can lead to life threatening conditions.
Other potential problems include:
Blood loss (usually stops within 48 hours)
Swelling of the arms and legs
Decreased ability to stand upright
Difficulty walking
Unable to perform daily activities
Joint stiffness
Nerve injuries
Prolonged bleeding
Heart attacks
Pulmonary embolism
Read on to find out how to protect yourself from the above dangers.
Protect Yourself From Risks Surrounding Liposuction
Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing for your upcoming procedure:
Don’t smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco products. Smoking decreases the effectiveness of general anesthesia. Post-op care is made much more difficult and recovery takes twice as long.
Avoid alcohol consumption for at least six hours prior to arriving at the hospital. Alcohol dehydrates you and makes you sleepy.
For women, pregnancy is a contraindication for liposuction. Talk to your doctor about whether you can safely go ahead with liposuction during pregnancy.
Do not eat a heavy meal at least four hours before going home. Eating too much food can slow down the digestive system, making it harder to eliminate excess fluids and air from your lungs. This can result in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Try to remain calm throughout the entire process. Keep your spirits high by keeping a positive attitude. Try to relax using relaxation exercises. Remember that nothing feels worse than having someone poke a hole in your body without warning.
Follow all directions closely provided by your surgeon. Do not hesitate to ask questions if something doesn’t seem right.
Wear comfortable clothing that you do not mind getting dirty. Change clothes often. Do laundry the day after the procedure. Wear loose fitting garments to reduce the likelihood of bunching and pulling of sutures. Avoid wearing tight belts, bracelets and necklaces. Loose jewelry is recommended to avoid scratching or cutting your newly opened wound.
Take prescribed medication(s) regularly. This will ensure a faster recovery and healthier overall outcome. Be sure to tell your physician about any allergies or sensitivity to medications you may have. Inform your physician about any prescription drugs you take currently.
Receive adequate rest. Sleep enough and sleep peacefully. Allow your body to recuperate naturally.
Exercise moderately and cautiously. Start with gentle stretching and walk around during the first week after surgery. Gradually increase movement until you reach your pre-operative level.
Have someone drive you home from the hospital. Do not drive yourself. Use public transportation unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.
Use ice packs to limit swelling. Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling.
Keep gauze pads underneath your head to catch any unexpected leaks. Place another pad under your elbow or buttock.
Apply antibiotic ointment immediately after surgery. Continue applying ointments every 12 hours until wounds are closed.
Restrict visitors for the first couple of days after surgery. Limit emotional support to immediate family members.
When you wake up from your surgery, stay in bed. Later, you can move to a sitting position. Never try to sit up quickly. Sit up slowly and gently. Gently change positions every 15 minutes.
Continue taking prescribed medication(s) for several days after surgery.
Watch what you drink and eat. Avoid consuming food rich in sodium and alcohol.
Limit intake of caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soda. Coffee impairs judgment and coordination. Tea contains caffeine, which irritates the stomach lining. Soda contains phosphoric acid, which promotes urinary tract infections.
Monitor fluid intake carefully. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly liquids rich in potassium.
Eat foods rich in protein such as nuts, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Foods rich in carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, rice and pasta are also helpful.
Drink lots of water. Drinking

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