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Liposuction: Before Your Surgery

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, you will have a compression garment or elastic bandages on the treated area. These can help reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Wear them all the time, except when taking a shower, for as long as your doctor says. You will likely have some drainage from the small cuts. 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.

How do you prepare for 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

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Don't smoke. Smoking can delay recovery. Stop smoking for at least a month before surgery. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have 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.

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?

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