Liposuction is a surgical procedure performed to remove excess fat tissue from different areas of the body. Today, a laparoscopic approach is most commonly chosen. This procedure is still very stressful for the human organism, as it involves the removal of vascularized, healthy tissues.
Cause Of Postoperative Swelling
Postoperative swelling is not specific only to liposuction. It is the most common, yet expected complication of almost all surgical procedures on living tissues. Postoperative swelling is caused by tissue damage and consequent inflammation which is a very powerful defense mechanism. Inflammation attracts different cells of the immune system that protect the wound from foreign pathogens.
Swelling appears during the first few hours after liposuction, and lasts for a variable amount of time. Most of the swelling should go away during the first month after the procedure, while minor residual swelling in some places can last for two to three months. After that period, patients may still have a feeling of numbness and it takes several more months until the skin shrinks and everything gets in place.
Ways To Reduce Postoperative Swelling
You should not worry about residual swelling up to six months after the procedure, but there are some ways to speed up the healing process. Your doctor will likely prescribe you some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to use during the first postoperative week, in order to reduce pain. Besides reducing pain, NSAIDs also have the ability to reduce swelling and inflammation. Consult your doctor regarding which NSAID to use, as some of them can increase the tendency to bleed from the surgical wound. Compression garments are often used to mechanically prevent the swelling from increasing.
Antibiotics are also necessary to prevent the development of wound infection, and they need to be prescribed by your doctor. Wound infection can drastically worsen the inflammation, increase the swelling and worsen the outcome of surgery. Good hygiene is very important to lower the risk of wound infection. You should visit your surgeon regularly for follow-ups on the progress of the healing process.
Healthy eating is also very important during the postoperative period. Avoid excessive salt as it retains water and gets your swelling even worse. Make sure to stay hydrated and consume fruits and vegetables. Sleep well, rest, and take all the advice that you get from your doctor seriously.
Other common complications of liposuction include fat embolism (clots of fat tissue occluding distant blood vessels), fluid imbalance, damage of abdominal organs during the procedure, and complications of general anesthesia.
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