Liposuction: What to Expect

Liposuction: What to Expect

I know I am a candidate for liposuction but I am concerned about the surgery and recovery.  What should I expect?

  • Steps of liposuction surgery including clinic appointments, the surgery itself and the recovery
  • Solutions for minimizing discomfort after surgery

Liposuction is a great option for those of you who struggle with resistant areas of fat even though you live a healthy lifestyle.  Almost any problem area can be treated.  Your arms, belly, hips, waist, back bra line, thighs, knees and calves, to name a few, are all easily treated with liposuction. And depending on your exam, Vaser or BodyTite assistance may be added to make your results even more powerful.  A majority of these cases can be completed in the office, with you awake and with local (tumescent) anesthesia to make you comfortable.  When you have multiple large problems areas, an OR setting with IV sedation or general anesthesia is also a great option.  But even though you may be a candidate for this surgery, many are understandably concerned about the surgery itself and most importantly, the recovery. Although liposuction has longer lasting discomfort in the area of surgery than most other procedures, it is easily managed with medications, lymphatic massage and alternative treatments like CryoTherapy and IR saunas.  In our clinic, we offer a comprehensive plan for recovery ensuring that you will get back to your normal life and activities as quickly and as pain free as possible.

Pre operative appointment:  This appointment is usually scheduled 2 weeks before your date of surgery.   It is during this time that we review your procedure plan, review the pre and post operative instructions, take preoperative photos, discuss the risks and benefits of surgery and most importantly, discuss your expectations for the upcoming procedure.  

Day of surgery for in office procedures: You will arrive at the office 30 to 40 minutes before the procedure start time. Surgical markers will be used as guide markings to outline the treatment areas. After taking oral medication to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during the procedure, you will be escorted to the procedure room. There, your treatment areas will be coated with a sterilizing solution, and you will be positioned on your back or stomach for the procedure. Procedure times vary, but the average length of the procedure is 1.5 hours. Afterward, you will be cleansed and placed in a surgical garment. Within 15 to 30 minutes, you will be discharged to the care of a friend or family member. Due to the oral medication that is administered before the procedure, you will not be able to drive yourself home afterward

Day of surgery for OR/hospital based procedures: You will arrive at the surgical facility 1.5 to 2 hours before the procedure start time to get checked into the preoperative holding area by the surgical staff. The areas of treatment will then be marked with markers after you change into a hospital gown.  Next, you will meet with the anesthesia team.  Medication is often administered at this time to help you feel relaxed and comfortable.  You will then be escorted to the procedure room by the assigned circulating nurse. There, your treatment areas will be coated with a sterilizing solution after you are asleep, and you will be positioned on your back or stomach for the procedure. Procedure times vary, but the average length of the procedure is around 2 hours when multiple areas are treated. Afterward, you will be cleansed and placed in a surgical garment. Within 15  minutes of case completion, you will be transported from the operating room to the postoperative recovery area.  From there, you will be discharged to the care of a friend or family member. Due to the IV or general anesthesia medications that were administered during your procedure, you will not be able to drive yourself home afterward.

Recovery: Recovery times vary from person to person but in general, it takes less than 1 week to get back on your feet and return to non physical work duties, around  2 to 3 weeks to return to normal daily activities and 4 to 6 weeks to return to your normal workout schedule.  Discomfort after this surgery varies greatly depending on the type of areas that were treated.  In general, your trunk and legs will be sore the longest while your neck and arms will often give you the most immediate discomfort and then resolve more quickly.   It is important to note that liposuction has the longest lasting discomfort (sore to the touch) than most other surgeries that we offer. Therefore, we have many tricks to help you feel more comfortable during recovery.  This includes the use of local anesthesia during surgery and pain medications, muscle relaxants and compression garments after surgery. We offer IR sauna treatments in the office which really helps you get past the sore phase. We also recommend that you consider cryo therapy and lymphatic massage.  By following our recovery playbook, you will be back on your feet quickly and with the least amount of discomfort.