We advise our patients to do whatever activity they can do comfortably. On the first day you can walk around the house. The second day you may be able to go out for an errand or two. By the third or the fourth day, you might be able to return to work if you want. You should be able to resume all your normal activities in three to seven days, except for strenuous exercise or heavy lifting (no kick boxing for five weeks!). We advise avoiding sit-ups for several months if your abdomen was liposuctioned. If you do too much abdominal exercise too soon, you could end up with lumps. Some larger cases, or older patients may have fatigue for a week or longer. There should be no wetting of the areas liposuctioned or bandaged with the garment for the first three days. Tap water can cause infection before the surgery holes close properly. On days three and four, you may shower with the garment still on (it may be too difficult to get back on if removed). Don't use soap, as it may cause skin irritation. After your shower, squeeze the water out of the garment and pads with towels and then blow them dry with a hair dryer using the cool setting for about 20 minutes.
You will experience major drainage from the incision sites during the first 12 hours following your liposuction. This will gradually decrease and end sometime within three to seven days, depending on how much fat was removed and the areas that were treated. It's perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. The excess tumescent solution is just leaking out, and it can be pink to red in color because it is mixed with a tiny bit of blood (total blood loss from liposuction done with tumescent anesthesia is typically modest). It will stain your girdle, but it can be cleaned with peroxide and/or a colorfast detergent. You may wish to purchase a second girdle so you can wear one while laundering the other. (We recommend Design Veronique® long-term wear garments which do not have zippers. Call 800-442-5800 for more information or to place an order.) The girdle must be snug and sometimes you'll need the next size smaller if you later buy a second one. About the fourth day you should carefully remove the foam pads with some oil. This is the first chance you'll have to get a glimpse of your new body! Patients are often overjoyed when they look into the mirror at this stage. There is a noticeable difference, but the best news is that it keeps getting better. Your body will be very swollen, and even though you can see your new shape, it will be somewhat camouflaged by puffiness. This gradually decreases over a couple of months, so your body will actually be changing and shrinking for the next four to eight months. You may also see bruising in some areas, but this will be gone in about two weeks.
After you've stared at yourself in the mirror for a while, the garment must be put back on, and it should be worn for three to four weeks. Some people like wearing it longer because it can sometimes be more comfortable with it on. It keeps the muscles and skin from moving around too much, kind of like a giant ace bandage, and this helps decrease the swelling and seems to relieve some soreness. When the garment is off, you may feel stiff and slightly sore. When it's on, the soreness may decrease dramatically.
By about the third week, you may start thinking about buying some new clothes. But hold out a little longer on the shopping spree as the suctioned area should continue to shrink if you don't lose control of your eating. Also, some patients (especially the larger volume cases) have a kind of "grace period" after liposuction, during which their appetites actually decrease. There may be a period of three to six months in which you won't be as hungry as before, and this may contribute to weight loss. We wonder if this may be due to fat-cell breakdown products from the liposuction somehow influencing the appetite response of the brain. There are a few studies now that indicate diabetes can improve after liposuction. At the same time, your body should be shrinking because of the healing process. For people who've been overweight most of their lives, it's the greatest feeling in the world.
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