How do I prepare for my liposuction? 

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. 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.

Questions to ask your doctor

Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with any concerns or questions before surgery and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • What kind of training and experience do you have in performing liposuction?
  • Am I good candidate for liposuction? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
  • What type of liposuction procedure will I need?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • What kind of restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I return to work and other activities?
  • How should I care for my incisions? When can I shower?
  • How will I look after the surgery?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home?
  • What medications will I need before and after the surgery? How do I take my usual medications?
  • How will you manage my pain?
  • When should I follow up with you? 
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular office hours.

What can I expect after my liposuction?

Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after liposuction as smooth as possible. 

How long will it take to recover?

Most people stay in the surgeon’s office, surgical center, or hospital for an hour or two after a liposuction. Some people may stay in the hospital overnight. Your care team will discharge you when you are alert, breathing normally, and your vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, are stable. You may still be drowsy from sedation or anesthesia, so you will need a friend or family member to give you a ride home from your surgery. 

When you wake up from surgery, you may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if you are uncomfortable. 

You will have bandages and possibly a compression garment covering the surgical area. The compression garment will help minimize swelling and maintain the new body shape. You may also have small drains in your incisions for a few days to drain away excess fluid and blood. Your doctor will remove them when drainage has stopped. You will most likely have swelling and bruising on the surgical area. The bruises should lessen within a few weeks. 

Recovery after surgery is a gradual process. Recovery time depends on the specific type of liposuction, the amount and areas of fat removal, your general health, age, and other factors. Full recovery may take from weeks to months, and it may take up to a year for your swelling to completely subside to show your more permanent body shape. 

Will I feel pain?

Pain control is important for healing and a smooth recovery. There will be discomfort after your surgery. Your doctor and care team will treat your pain so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Contact your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes because it may be a sign of a complication.&