Liposuction

What you should know

Liposuction is surgery to remove extra fat from under your skin.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • You may bleed more than usual or get an infection. You could have trouble breathing or get blood clots. Caregivers will watch you closely and work to decrease these problems. You will have bruises and swelling in the areas liposuctioned. This bruising and swelling may also be in areas below the area treated. The swelling may last 2 to 3 months after surgery.

  • Parts of your skin that had liposuction may be numb after surgery. This numbness usually goes away 2 to 4 months after surgery. You may have loose skin in the treated areas after surgery. Skin usually tightens without further treatment 4 to 6 months after surgery. You may want surgery later to remove some excess skin. Cellulite and other skin problems that were present before surgery will still be present after surgery.

Getting Ready

Before your surgery:

  • Medicines:

    • Stop taking aspirin two weeks before surgery. Aspirin thins the blood. Do this to help decrease problems with bleeding and bruising after surgery. If you are taking aspirin for another medical condition, ask your caregiver before you stop taking it.

    • Ask your caregiver before taking any over-the-counter medicine, vitamins, herbs, food supplements, or laxatives.

  • Tests:

    • You may need blood tests before your procedure. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time and location for each test.

    • You may need a chest x-ray before surgery. This is a picture of how your lungs and heart are doing before surgery. Caregivers may also use the x-ray to look for signs of infection, pneumonia, or collapsed lungs. Chest x-rays can also show tumors or broken ribs.

    • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given a pill to take to help you sleep.

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Take a shower the morning of surgery with the special soap given to you by your caregiver. Wash the treatment areas for 10 minutes. Make sure you wash well in creases and folds, such as the belly button or groin. After washing with the special soap, rinse off with plain water. Do not put any powder or lotion on your skin after the shower.

  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes the morning of surgery. Your incisions may drain, so choose clothes to wear home after surgery that are okay to be stained.

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of surgery. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital or clinic.

  • An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This is the caregiver who gives you medicine to make you sleepy during surgery.

  • Make sure you have signed an informed consent. You or a close family member may be asked to sign a consent form. It gives your caregiver permission to do liposuction. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign this form.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will get medicine called anesthesia that will numb your body or keep you completely asleep. You and your caregiver will decide which type of anesthesia is best for you. Caregivers will clean the skin over the treatment area with soap and water.

  • Large amounts of saline with local anesthesia and blood clotting medicine will be put under the skin. This shrinks blood vessels and numbs the area, decreasing pain and bleeding. This liquid will drain out after surgery. Incisions are made in several places depending on the areas to be liposuctioned. The incisions are hidden when possible in the natural skin folds of your body. A long thin tube hooked to suction is put into the incisions. The suction tube is moved back and forth under the skin removing the extra fat. The incisions may be closed with stitches.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a recovery area. You will be there until you wake up. Feeling may return right away or it may come back later to the areas that were numb. You will then be able to go home or will be taken back to your hospital room. A bandage and tight pressure garment, such as a girdle, abdominal binder, or ace wraps will cover the treated areas. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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