Liposuction: Before Your Surgery

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What is liposuction?

Liposuction uses suction to remove fat from your body. The doctor puts a small, thin tube through very small cuts in the skin. Then the doctor moves the tube around under your skin to reach areas with more fat.

Liposuction is usually done in a doctor's office, a surgery centre, or a hospital. It can be major or minor surgery. It depends on how much fat is removed. You will probably go home after surgery. But if a lot of fat is removed, you may have to stay overnight.

You may be asleep for the surgery. Or you may get medicine to make you relax. Most of the time, the doctor gives you a shot to numb the area. This reduces pain and bleeding. The doctor may also use a laser or ultrasound to change the solid fat to liquid.

After the surgery, the area where the fat was removed will have some kind of wrap on it. You may have elastic bandages and tape on the area. Or you could have support hose, a girdle, or another type of tight clothing. These can help reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. You may have to keep the wrap on for 3 to 4 weeks. The area will probably be bruised and swollen for at least 10 to 14 days.

After several weeks of soft swelling, some areas may feel hard and lumpy. Your doctor may recommend massage to help take care of any lumps.

You can return to your normal activities when you feel comfortable. It may take several days to a few weeks. Most people can go back to light work in a few days. But sometimes it takes longer.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: February 5, 2016