If you’re like the millions of people who’ve considered liposuction to reduce stubborn belly fat and contour your figure into your dream shape, you might be asking yourself a few important questions:
“Is liposuction painful?”
“Is liposuction safe?”
“What can I expect to feel after the procedure is complete?”
Fortunately, you’re not alone—every patient considering liposuction must think about the possible effects of the procedure itself, and what they can expect in terms of pain and discomfort during and after the procedure.
That’s why it’s important to understand not only what the liposuction procedure involves, but what each patient should consider as they make an appointment for their body transformation. Here are a few answers to key questions liposuction patients ask before their procedure, and some helpful advice to make sure you’re fully prepared for what liposuction will feel like.
Fortunately, modern liposuction is a relatively painless procedure.
In most cases, your surgeon will use anesthesia and equipment to complete the procedure, like most other surgical procedures. This will help eliminate pain during the procedure, so the patient will not feel any pain or discomfort during the operation itself.
However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any discomfort after the procedure is complete. It’s important to understand what the liposuction procedure itself entails, as well as the possible after effects that can accompany the procedure after it is complete.
Modern liposuction surgery is completely safe and backed by decades of expertise and improvements to ensure every procedure protects the safety and wellbeing of the patient.
Among the highest risks for any liposuction procedure is the use of anesthesia. While the use of anesthesia can be dangerous in some cases, modern liposuction procedures often utilize tumescent fluid, a solution consisting of IV fluid to which has been added Lidocaine for anesthesia and Epinephrine for vasoconstriction. This greatly reduces the blood loss previously associated with Liposuction, making the procedure safer. Liposuction surgeons also carefully control the amount of tumescent fluid used in each patient according to that patient’s weight, helping to avoid lidocaine toxicity and further ensure the safety of the procedure.
Another crucial development in the safety of liposuction is the discovery of an optimal maximum of fat that can be removed in a 24-hour period. By carefully monitoring the amount of fat removed from a patient in one surgery (each liposuction event may result in a maximum of 4000-5000cc of fat being removed), surgeons can successfully complete the liposuction procedure without putting the patient’s fluid dynamics and healing in jeopardy. This optimal amount of fat removed should be part of your pre-op discussion with your surgeon and is key to keeping you safe both during the procedure and the recovery period.
However, it’s important to remember that the skill and knowledge of the surgeon plays a crucial role in maintaining the safety of the patient during a liposuction procedure. By choosing a skilled and able surgeon well-versed in both the use of tumescent fluid and the optimal maximum of fat removal, you can greatly increase your safety.
Whether or not you will be asleep during the liposuction procedure will be largely determined by your surgeon and will depend on the type of procedure you’re having. If your surgeon plans to use anesthesia or tumescent fluid during your procedure, it is possible you will fall asleep while the procedure is in process.
If your surgeon decides that simple local anesthetic is the better option for your particular procedure, the surgical area will simply be numbed, and you will remain awake during the procedure. It’s best to discuss the procedure with your surgeon prior to liposuction to better understand what you should expect.
At Sono Bello, for instance, our surgeons use localized anesthesia during liposuction procedures. This allows our patients to remain awake during the procedure without feeling pain at the liposuction treatment area. Not only does this make the procedure safer and more convenient for patients, but it also allows for a shorter recovery process.
Regardless of whether you’ll be asleep or awake during your liposuction procedure, it’s important to bring a trusted adult with you. You will not be able to safely drive home or travel alone after your procedure and will likely need assistance getting home and taking care of yourself as the anesthesia wears off, this typically is a 24-48 hour recovery period.
After the liposuction procedure is complete, it’s normal for patients to feel discomfort including pain, swelling, bruising, numbness, or soreness at the surgical site.
In some cases, the surgeon may leave a small incision at the surgical site to allow any excess tumescent fluid to leave the body, which may last one or two days after the procedure. This fluid discharge may be mixed with a small amount of blood as it exits, giving it a maroon or light red color. The surgeon or nurse will likely recommend wrapping the surgical site with dressings or bandages to absorb the fluid and protect the incision site until it heals.
Additionally, a patient may be placed in a compressive garment or binder after the procedure to help treat swelling, which is common after the procedure is complete.
Patients will be encouraged to avoid lifting heavy objects, bending over, twisting, or inducing any other strain for 4-6 weeks as the surgical site heals, or until cleared by a surgeon or nurse.
Generally, the most common aftereffects (swelling, bruising, discomfort) will subside slowly over the weeks and months following the procedure, with most patients using the compressive garment for up to six months.
Liposuction is one of the most popular procedures among people looking to remove stubborn, diet, and exercise-resistant fat and improve their self-esteem, and thanks to decades of improvements and knowledge-building it has become remarkably safe for patients. While every patient should expect some level of discomfort in the weeks following, the liposuction procedure itself is painless and safe when guided by an experienced surgeon.
If you’re thinking about improving your body shape, get in touch and start planning your liposuction with a skilled surgeon today!
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