Liposuction surgery is done to remove excess fat from various parts of the body. Most people are capable of returning to their normal lives within a week after this procedure. However, recovery time may vary depending upon the treated area. This article provides information about the various factors which affect the recovery period.
Liposuction surgery is one of the most popular body contouring surgeries in the world. It was first performed in 1974, and it has since advanced. Modern techniques used for this procedure are much better and less painful. Recovery time has also reduced due to improvements in the technique. The surgery is performed on various body parts like the stomach, face, thighs, breasts, arms, buttocks, etc.
It is a surgery in which the fat cells are removed through a suction tube, called cannula. It is used to suck the unwanted fat from the body. There are various ways in which this surgery can be performed. In tumescent liposuction, the patient needs greater amount of anesthetic solution. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) uses a motor-powered suction tube. In ultrasonic assisted liposuction (UAL), fat is liquefied using sound waves and then removed from the body.
The surgery is more effective in areas like the stomach, thighs, and buttocks. It is also useful for women who are considering breast reduction, and for men who are affected by gynecomastia (male breast development). The success of this surgery depends upon various factors like weight, age, overall health, and skin elasticity. People with history of blood clots, heart or artery problems, restricted blood flow patterns, weakened immune system, and diabetes should not undergo this surgery.
In majority of the cases, the patient resumes normal life within a week after the surgery. However, it may take a few months to recover completely. The recovery time depends upon various factors like the area of the body which is being treated, health of the patient, diet, the technique used, etc. The recovery time will be longer, if the treated area is large or a significant amount of fat is removed.
For the first few days, the patient may experience some pain, swelling, bruising, and numbness; however, it goes away with time. Spicy food and alcohol should be avoided for at least 2 days after the surgery.
Blood vessels carrying oxygenated blood, fibers joining deep structures to the skin, and lymph channels which bring fluid to the intarcellular spaces may get removed, altered, or severed during the surgery. Therefore, the body needs some time to recover depending upon the health of the patient.
After the surgery, the body starts reconstructing the treated area. During the recovery, blood capillaries are rebuilt and their network is restored. Blood clots are removed, and all the links that hold the skin tightly are reconnected. The skin which had been stretched is tightened again. Time required to tighten the skin depends upon the elasticity of the skin. However, the skin usually tightens within 6 months.
After tumescent liposuction, the anesthetic solution used in the surgery drains from the incisions. This drainage helps to reduce the recovery time. The treated area may become swollen, because of the lymph trying to find its way to the wound. Normally, this swelling persists for a month and slows down the recovery process. Accumulated fluids prevent fresh supplies of oxygen and nutrients from reaching the damaged area. In some rare cases, this not only causes the process to slow down, but also kills some cells.
The body’s immune system may fail to clean the spaces, if seromas (pockets of lymph) or hematomas (pools of blood) develop. It may also result in infections. In some cases, these hematomas may form clots and block blood flow to other parts of the body, resulting in thrombosis. Swimming is not recommended as it may cause infection. The patients are advised to use compression garments after surgery, maintain a healthy diet, and exercise regularly (after a few weeks).
These are specially designed garments which push down on the skin. They squeeze the body fluids back towards the deeper tissues, which results in minimal swelling. The skin is tightly held against the body with the help of these garments. The patient is instructed to wear these garments for at least 2 to 6 weeks. However, this period varies depending upon the type of liposuction procedure and various factors like the area of the body which is being treated, health of the patient, diet, etc.