Post-operative care following Liposuction

The following guidelines are to help patients who have recently undergone liposuction.

  1. Try and arrange to have either a friend or family member to pick you up and to stay with you for the first 24 to48 hours in order to help you get settled in around the house.
  2. Everyone recovers from their anaesthetic differently. Some people feel no side effects while others are more noticeably affected, feeling tired and even sick for the first couple of days.
  3. Eat lightly with small meals throughout the day to minimise sickness. If necessary, cut food into small bite sized pieces to facilitate chewing and digestion. Salty foods can contribute to fluid retention and swelling so limit these in the first 7 to 10 days. In order to avoid constipation, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and dried fruits. Overall, try to eat a balanced diet to ensure your body is getting all the important nutrients it needs in the immediate postoperative healing period.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids (about 8 glasses of water daily during the first 48 hours) after surgery in the form of water and fresh juices, in the first few days after surgery. Avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks in the first few days. Dairy products in the first 72 hours after surgery can upset your stomach and make you feel sick and therefore it would be sensible to keep these to a minimum.
  5. Do wear comfortable front opening and loose clothing at night and in the day. Due to the fact that there is likely to be some degree of soiling or staining from the incision sites, try to use old bed and pillow linen.
  6. Should you experience any pain, you may take one or two pain relieving tablets (such as paracetamol or distalgesics) as required up to 4 hourly. DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN OR PRODUCTS CONTAINING ASPIRIN or any of the other preparations mentioned in the DO’S & DON’T’S section. These products will prolong or recommence bleeding. Remember to take your Arnica tablets for two weeks after surgery.
  7. The bruising and swelling usually peaks at day 3 or 4, will gradually start to subside after about two to three weeks, and most of the obvious swelling is gone within four to six weeks. Arnica Cream can be massaged into bruised areas from week two, or once all incisions have healed.
  8. You may recommence any regular medication that you normally take (e.g. blood pressure tablets) as soon as you are able to drink, unless specifically instructed not to or is mentioned in the DON’TS section of your information booklet. Please continue your Arnica for two weeks following surgery as previously described.
  9. Continue to avoid smoking and alcohol for the first week after surgery. Also do not allow anyone to smoke in your presence.
  10. You may drive after 24 to 48 hours.
  11. You may have a pressure garment applied to the area involved. If this is the abdomen or chest and as long as it does not feel as though it is “digging” in any particular spot, continue to wear it for up to 10 days(unless otherwise instructed), day and night and then reduce this to day or night for an additional 1 week. You should then wear loose clothing around your waist, avoiding any constricting garments (these can dig into the abdomen and lead to ridges being formed).
  12. If you had liposuction to the upper or lower extremities you will be advised as to how long to wear the garment, although this is usually about 2 weeks. It can be taken off for short periods of time. After 2 weeks the garment should be worn either during the day or at night time for another 2 weeks maximum. Alternatively you could substitute the garment for a firm supportive piece of clothing (e.g. cycling shorts, tight body [?] etc.)
  13. Some people, particularly those who have had large volumes of fat removed or who have chronically low blood pressure, can experience light headed, faintness or dizzy sensations when rising from a lying down position. Similar sensations can also be experienced when the garment is removed for the first or second time and subsequently the patient stands. This is called orthostatic hypotension (standing low blood pressure). The best way to avoid any such dizziness is to sit by the side of the bed for a couple of minutes after you have been lying down (or if you have just removed garment) and then slowly stand up.
  14. Basically, avoid standing up too quickly in the first week! Expect significant oozing of bloody fluid from the small incision sites during the first 24 to 48 hours. This occurs because the incision sites are sometimes not sutured and therefore remain open so they can freely drain any fluid developing immediately after surgery. The incision sites seal off after this time and fluid build-up decreases.
  15. You may shower after 24 hours. DO NOT have a bath. On the incision sites apply a waterproof dressing such as Elastoplast Aqua Protect strips or Boots own name brand of waterproof dressings (all are usually available at Boots). Leave these on for 7 days before changing/removing them. If they peel off before this time then apply a new dressing. Reapply garment as necessary afterwards. Bathing is allowed after 10 days, or when the wounds have sealed off.
  16. Moderate your activity during the first week and slowly increase your physical activity after 10 days.
  17. You will be bruised for up to three weeks and swollen for up to six weeks. However even after this time there will be subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes that you can see.
  18. Swelling may be present in the operated areas for up to 6 or 9 months. With procedures carried out to the abdomen, the swelling and bruising can sometimes migrate downwards to the external genitalia, leading to similar effects. Arnica cream or gel is useful to massage into bruising from day 14 post surgery. Some patients can experience sensory changes (e.g. numbness or hypersensitivity) in the areas treated. This settles with time, and in fact starts to improve significantly with massage. It is advisable to begin massage to the areas from about 2 to 3 weeks following the procedure. Massage is a very important part of the treatment. Massaging helps decrease swelling by increasing the circulation and activating drainage activity. It also helps stimulate the collagen in the skin into tightening and therefore improving the final result. Massage should be firm and consistent using a circular motion. For larger areas or areas that are difficult to access it might be advisable to have a course of six professional massages, one per week, four to six weeks after surgery.
  19. After the first 3 weeks you will experience hardening, tightening and lumpiness of the skin and tissues which were treated. This is part of the normal healing process and will subside over the ensuing weeks. Vigorous massage, when appropriate, will help overcome this; however this may sometimes take up 6 to 8 months to fully subside.
  20. Avoid ultraviolet exposure (sun & sun bed), of the treated areas for 6 weeks. After this time apply appropriate sun protection (e.g. SPF 15 +)

You should contact us if any of the following occur:

a. Fever greater than 100 Fahrenheit or 38.05 Celsius.

b. Pain not relieved by two pain relieving tablets.

c. Significant discharge from the incision sites or any other area of the skin after 48 hours.


MONDAY to FRIDAY ON 0161-232-2670/ 0161-232-2680 OR OUT OF HOURS IN AN EMERGENCY