Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures in the world. It is also major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a liposuction.
What to expect the day of your liposuction
The day of your surgery, you can expect to:
- Talk with a preoperative nurse. The nurse will perform an exam and ensure that all needed tests are in order. The nurse can also answer questions and will make sure you understand and sign the surgical consent.
- Remove all clothing and jewelry and dress in a hospital gown. It is a good idea to leave all jewelry and valuables at home or with a family member. The surgical team will give you blankets for modesty and warmth.
- Meet with your surgeon. Your surgeon will use a special pen to mark the area(s) of your body where fat will be removed.
- Talk with the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist about your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will receive.
- A surgical team member will start an IV.
- The anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist will start your anesthesia.
- A tube will be placed in your windpipe to protect and control breathing during general anesthesia. You will not feel or remember this or the surgery as they happen.
- The surgical team will monitor your vital signs and other critical body functions. This occurs throughout the procedure and your recovery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable.
What are the risks and potential complications of liposuction?
As with all surgeries, liposuction involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery.
General risks of surgery
The general risks of surgical procedures include:
- Anesthesia reaction, such as an allergic reaction, toxicity, and problems with breathing
- Bleeding, which can lead to shock
- Blood clot, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can travel to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.
- Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood
Potential complications of liposuction
Potential complications of liposuction include:
- Body asymmetry caused by removing different amounts of fat tissue from different body areas
- Damage to skin, muscle, nerves, and internal organs
- Fat embolism, which are loosened fat cells that enter the bloodstream and block blood flow
- Fluid imbalance
- Irregularities in skin texture or contour, such as dimpling or bagginess
- Pooling of liquid where fat is removed
- Skin burns from ultrasound-assisted liposuction
- Swelling, which can take months to go away
- Skin discoloration
- Skin necrosis, which is death of skin cells above the fat removal area. This can lead to a serious infection.
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery. This includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitation treatments.
- Informing your doctor if you are nursing or there is any possibility that you may be pregnant
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage
- Taking your medications exactly as directed. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic before surgery to prevent infection. Take this as directed.
- Not smoking. Many plastic surgeons will not perform elective surgery on smokers because of the increased risk of complications.
- Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies
How do I prepare for my liposuction?
The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for liposuction by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a chest X-ray, EKG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
- Losing weight before surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan.
- Not eating or drinking just prior to surgery as directed. Your doctor may cancel your surgery if you eat or drink too close to the start of the procedure because you can choke on stomach contents during general anesthesia.
- Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.
For you recovery we insist that compression garments be worn. These help to control swelling and compress the skin to your new body contours. The garment should be worn for at least 6 weeks up to 3 months. Recovery from liposuction can be uncomfortable. During the first few weeks most people experience varying degrees of pain, burning, swelling and temporary numbness. Pain medications can alleviate discomfort (usually taken for 2 days – 2 weeks). Massage is great during the recovery period to relieve swelling and possible itching. After leaving the hospital we suggest you move around and go for walks. Although the new shape of your body usually begins to emerge in the first few weeks, some swelling may remain for several months. Major weight gain or loss after liposuction can produce skin surface irregularities. The final result may not be clear until 6 months after surgery.
Many people assume that because liposuction permanently removes fat cells, it’s impossible to regain weight in the treated areas. This is only partially true. Adults have a fixed number of fat cells, and liposuction removes some of these cells permanently. The remaining fat cells can grow bigger, especially if you do not exercise and maintain a healthy diet. This means problem spots can return. However, weight gain after liposuction will usually be distributed to other parts of your body instead of settling back into the old problem areas.
Founded in 1993, Sikarin Hospital has always kept its promise to provide high quality and value-driven healthcare to the local community in the eastern region of Bangkok. In recent years, this JCI-accredited and ISO certified hospital has began to set a strong foot-hold in providing care towards international community with strong determination to help and heal people regardless of where they are from.
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