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How to Care for Your Liposuctioned Areas and Incisions

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Updated August 05, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Care After Liposuction

Liposuction, also known as suction-assisted lipectomy, removes small to moderate localized deposits of fat. Here's information about caring for your incisions and the areas of your body that were liposuctioned.

  • It is normal for bloody fluid to drain on clothes and sheets for the first 24 to 72 hours after surgery. The fluid is put into the area before liposuction to make fat removal safer for you.
  • Mild bruising is normal after surgery, but will gradually subside over 10 to 21 days.
  • Swelling is normal after liposuction. You should immediately notice an improvement in your body contour, but remember: You will have swelling, which will gradually subside. It can take three to four months to see the final result.
  • Depending on your surgeon’s preference, you can remove the outer dressings from the liposuction site 24 to 72 hours after surgery. Your incisions may be left open or they may be closed with a stitch. If you have tapes or steri-strips over the incisions, leave them in place. The steri-strips should be left alone and allowed to fall off on their own, or they will be removed by your surgeon in the office.
  • Most plastic surgeons will allow you to shower 24 hours after surgery. When you shower, you can run soap and water over the areas without scrubbing. The areas should be gently dried with a clean towel. Avoid still (non-running) water for two weeks after surgery. This includes baths, swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, oceans, etc.
  • Monitor your incisions for signs of infection -- spreading redness, increased swelling, excessive drainage or pus, foul odor, increased pain and warmth. A temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit may also be an indicator of infection.
  • A compression garment should be worn at all times except during showering. Compression garments reduce swelling and speed up your recovery. Your plastic surgeon will let you know when you can stop wearing the garment.
More About Liposuction Recovery
  • Recovery After Liposuction - How to Manage Your Pain After Liposuction
  • Recovery After Liposuction - Return to Activities

  • Recovery After Other Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Recovery After Plastic Surgery - All Procedures
  • Sources:

    American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction Recovery. Accessed May 22, 2011.

    Gingrass MK. Liposuction. In Thorne CHM, Beasely RW, Aston SJ, Bartlett SP, Gurtner GC, Spear S, eds. Grabb and Smith’s Plastic Surgery, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2007.

    Hunstad JP. Liposuction of the Hips and Thighs. In Evans GRD, ed. Operative Plastic Surgery. New York: McGraw Hill, 2000.

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