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Common Side Effects after Liposuction Surgery

By Sheryl Pilcher on October 10, 2013

San Antonio Liposuction Side EffectsBody contouring procedures are a popular way to help patients achieve the curves and confidence they desire. When coupled with proper diet and exercise, liposuction has given many patients the ability to permanently rid themselves of frustrating pockets of fat. Like any plastic surgery, however, the results are accompanied by temporary side effects. At Accent Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, we want you to have realistic expectations for the recovery process.

Immediately after Surgery

If general anesthesia was used for your liposuction, you will likely feel groggy and somewhat confused upon waking. You may also experience nausea, dry mouth, a sore throat, or muscle aches. These symptoms are normal and should subside in the following hours. Prior to the surgery, it is important to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home from your operation. Even though local anesthetic may produce mild or no symptoms, you are still advised to have driving assistance whenever anesthesia is used.   

Prior to leaving, your doctor will give you an elastic compression garment to wear around the area you had liposuction. A compression garment will hasten the recovery process, promote healing, and lessen side effects after surgery. Most patients are instructed to wear their garment for two to six weeks, but your own timetable will be determined based on the procedure.

You may also be given antibiotics, which will minimize your chances of the incision becoming infected. Take them as directed by your doctor and report any signs of infection immediately.

Side Effects Over the First Week

Most negative effects of surgery will present themselves, and also subside, within the first week of recovery. Patients tend to experience the following side effects, each of which may be reduced by certain procedural methods. Talk to your doctor to understand which liposuction techniques are offered and which are right for you.

  • Pain and tenderness: Your site of liposuction will be sore as it begins to heal, especially in the first few days. This is usually manageable through over-the-counter painkillers, such as those containing ibuprofen, or with a prescription painkiller.
  • Bleeding: Your incision will be stitched during surgery, but there is still a chance of mild bleeding in the following hours. Applying pressure to the area should stop bleeding within 10 to 20 minutes. If bleeding continues, promptly contact your doctor.
  • Bruising: It’s not uncommon for bruises to form after surgery. These should slowly disappear over the first week or two. The use of ice packs or a cold compress may also help reduce bruising.
  • Swelling: The area will almost certainly be swollen in the days following your liposuction. This should gradually decrease over time, and may also be aided through the application of ice packs and the use of a compression garment. Still, swelling may persist for weeks or, depending on the invasiveness of surgery, months before fully resolving. 

Potential Complications

The most common risk following surgery is infection. Although greatly reduced by the use of bandages, your compression garment, and antibiotics, infection is still a possibility. This risk is increased by tobacco use or diseases which lower your immune system, so speak with your doctor about possible risk factors beforehand. If any of the above side effects continue or worsen over a prolonged period of time, call or visit your doctor. 

Because you will be resting during your recovery, you may also be at risk for blood clots if you stay too inactive. To promote your circulation during recovery, get up and take an easy walk around the house a few times a day.

Call to Learn More

The lasting benefits of liposuction far outweigh the side effects for most of our patients. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Pilcher to learn more about the liposuction procedure and what it can offer you.

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San Antonio Office

255 E Sonterra Blvd
Ste 201
San Antonio, TX 78258

Open Today 8:30am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (210) 654-9900