Liposuction a.k.a. Suction Assisted Lipectomy » Liposuction: When to have the doctor paged after hours.

Questions or concerns after liposuction?  When to have the doctor paged after hours.

This is probably your first time with liposuction and you may have a few concerns. Here are some common concerns after surgery. In most cases, these concerns can wait until regular office hours but sometimes it’s best to call the office and have the doctor paged.

Pain: Even though the incisions from liposuction are really small, the treated area is often very large and sore for a few days after surgery.   Keep on top of the pain with the pain meds. Also, ice packs to the treated areas can help with break through pain. Make sure you aren’t doing too much. Don’t push it and let others take care of you for a change. Sometimes pain meds need to be adjusted. This almost always requires an office visit due to new laws regarding controlled substances. Give the office a call clinic hours to talk with the doctor. (206) 467-1101.

Swelling: It is normal to have swelling for a couple of weeks after surgery. Swelling often peaks at about 2 days after surgery and then starts getting better. If your swelling has been gradual, it is likely not a serious problem. Have you been over active? If so, get some rest. Cold packs will also likely help.

If you have the sudden onset of swelling or if you have the feeling of fluid sloshing round under the skin, this may indicate a build up of blood or fluid. Give the office a call at (206) 467-1101.

It will be a good three months before all the swelling in resolved.  That’s why I won’t be taking your post operative photos until you are three months out from surgery.

Drainage:  It is normal to have quite a bit of drainage the first 24 hours after surgery.  I use the tumescence technique for liposuction.  A large volume of a mixture of saline, local anesthetic and epinephrine is injected into the surgical area prior to suctioning the fat.  This helps reduced pain, blood loss and swelling.  That fluid will often leak out of the incisions the first 24 hours after surgery.  It is almost always stained with blood and can be alarming.  Don’t worry about this drainage but make sure you don’t use your satin sheets the first night after surgery.

Incision issues: It’s normal for incisions to be tender and red for a couple of weeks after surgery. It is also normal for there to be a ridge among the incision. This is called a “healing ridge” and is caused by collagen accumulating as the incision heals. It’s also normal for there to be a little seepage from incisions for the first few days after surgery.

If your incisions are getting more tender and more red as the days pass or if there is persistent drainage, it may indicate a problem. The most causes would be a “spitting stitch” or an allergic reaction to tape or ointment. If there is a rash or blisters around the incision, take off any tape or ointment, wash the area with mild soap and water. If the rash or blisters don’t get better within 24 hours, give the office a call. If there is a tiny opening in the incision and some drainage, it is likely a spitting stitch. Some warm, moist compresses may help. This will likely require an office visit. Call to schedule an appointment during clinic hours. If the tenderness and redness is accompanied by fever or chills, you should have the doctor paged. Call (206) 467-1101.

Problems with drains:  If I did liposuction on your lower abdomen or pubic area,  you may have a drain.  Nobody loves their drain but it is there for a reason.  It helps the pubic area from getting really swollen.  I usually remove the drain when the output is less than 25 cc per day. If the drain site is really sore, try putting some clean gauze over it or put an ice pack to that area.  If your drain for some reason falls out, just leave it out and put a piece of dry gauze over the drain site and give the office call during regular clinic hours.

Concerns about your garment: If the garment is causing a lot of discomfort, try to adjust it. It’s important for the garment to be nice and smooth. This may require you unzipping it and adjusting it. You will likely need some help with this. Sometimes the skin is really sensitive after surgery. A light cotton t-shirt or camisole under the garment may help. If you just cannot make peace with the garment, it’s probably okay to remove it and switch to something a little more comfortable like a Spanx.  Usually you can kiss that garment good-bye about three weeks after surgery.

Lumps and bumps and uneven areas:   These are almost always temporary and reflect areas of swelling or retained fluid.  After a couple of weeks, it can be helpful to do a little gentle self massage to these areas.  It will smooth them out and also likely help along the healing process.  Don’t let a massage therapist really go after these areas until you have checked with me.

Constipation or difficulty with urination:  Check out these instructions.

Swelling in your legs: Generalized swelling is really common after surgery. You may feel “puffy” all over for a few days. If it’s just your legs that are swelling and especially is it’s just one leg, you may have a blood clot. You should have the doctor paged. Call (206) 467-1101.

Difficulty breathing: This is a call to 911. You may have a blood clot in your lungs. You need to be seen in the Emergency Room immediately. Once you are in the Emergency Room call (206) 467-1101 to have the doctor paged.

I hope this helps!