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Patient Resources

Liposuction

How to prepare:

It is important that you are not taking any medications that thin the blood prior to your surgery. You will be provided with a list of medications and the time period in which they need to be stopped before having your surgery. If you are a smoker, you must not smoke for 4 weeks prior to surgery and for 8 weeks after. Arrange for a friend or family member to escort you home from surgery and to remain with you for 24 hours following your surgery. Please wear a loose fitting outfit and slip on shoes to the operating room that morning.

What will happen during my surgery:

Once in the operating room, you will receive anesthesia to keep you asleep during your surgery. After your skin is cleaned with a special medication, small incisions (less than 1 centimeter in size) will be made around the area you are having liposuction. They are placed in areas that are hidden or minimally noticeable (ie. in the belly button, under the underwear line, or in the crease of the breasts). After the incisions are made, a long thin instrument is inserted and a solution is injected under your skin to help your surgeon remove your excess fat as easily as possible. This solution also has a medication that helps to reduce bleeding and minimize your pain after surgery. Several minutes after the solution is injected, your surgeon will start to remove your excess fat. This is also achieved using a long, thin instrument that is hooked up to a machine which provides suction. Once your surgery is completed you will be placed into your compression garment prior to being woken up from surgery.

What are the risks:

Risks of liposuction include bleeding and infection. It is possible to have an accumulation of blood or other fluid after having surgery which may require drainage. This is typically done in the office and does not require another surgery. It is also possible to have irregularities, waviness, and lumps where liposuction is performed. Some of these may improve with time, but it is possible to have some irregularity in contour permanently. Additional surgery may be needed to correct this. It is not common, but the possibility of burns to the skin does exist as well as other skin discolorations. These changes can often cause permanent scarring or color change. Removal of your excess fat may cause an increase in the looseness of your skin and create a sagging appearance. Your doctor will discuss with you if you are particularly likely to have this occur. Due to the type of instrument used to perform liposuction, damage to deeper structures may occur. These include muscles, blood vessels, nerves, the lungs, or abdominal organs. Liposuction also carries the rare risk of the formation of blood clots in the legs or pieces of fat entering a blood vessel which can potentially travel to the lungs.

What to expect after surgery:

After surgery you should expect to be swollen and bruised. You will be provided with medication to reduce your pain. It is important to walk frequently to prevent the formation of blood clots. You will be allowed to shower on the 3rd day after surgery. You should wear your compression garment at all times except for when you are showering. This garment will be worn for 2-4 weeks. You can begin to return to your normal activities about 1 week after surgery and slowly increase your activity each day.

Contact your surgeon if:

  • You have a temperature above 101 deg F
  • You begin to have red, warm skin over the area where you had liposuction
  • You begin to have pain or swelling in one of your legs
  • You have persistent vomiting

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have trouble breathing