Liposuction: How Long will it Take from Preparation to Recovery

by | Published on Mar 23, 2020 | Liposuction Surgery

Everyone wants a trim, attractive physique, but unwanted fat pockets in various areas make it impossible to achieve this goal. Most people find that even strenuous diets and exercise don’t work to get rid of this fat. Liposuction in New York City is the answer. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) noted that liposuction ranked among the five top cosmetic surgical procedures last year, along with breast augmentation, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery and tummy tuck. Despite its popularity, many people still don’t know much about the procedure. One common question that patients ask their plastic surgeon is what exactly the procedure involves – the time taken from preparation, to surgery, to recovery. Based on individual patients considerations and other factors, an experienced liposuction surgeon will be able to provide a reasonable estimate of the operating time at the consultation.

Preparation for Liposuction Surgery

Generally, preparation usually begins a month before the procedure. Proper preparation is one of the keys to a smooth recovery and optimal, long-lasting outcomes. During this period, you need to make some lifestyle changes to ensure your body is ready for liposuction. Here are some things you should do before having liposuction in New York City:

  • Do some proper research-understand your options as well as the risks involved in having the procedure; make sure the surgeon is well-qualified and experienced in using the latest techniques.
  • Enquire in advance of how complications (if they occur) would be handled, what would happen if you needed revision surgery, and so on, to make an informed decision.
  • Stop smoking for at least for few weeks before liposuction. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict and reduces blood supply to the organs and tissues, which can compromise wound healing post-surgery. Also, smoking can affect the way an anesthetic drug works during surgery.
  • Give your surgeon a complete list of your current medications and supplements, so they can let you know if you need to discontinue any of them.
  • Do not drink alcohol at least two weeks before surgery as alcohol can interfere with normal anesthetic drug metabolism.
  • Take the recommended vitamins prior to surgery because they increase the body’s ability to heal, build new collagen, and decrease swelling. Make sure you are only taking the supplements that your surgeon recommends.
  • Based on your surgeon advice, if needed, take adequate time off from work.

Depending on your personal situation, you’ll need to make these changes two to four weeks before surgery.

Procedural Time

According to an Insider article, a liposuction procedure usually takes under three hours. However, depending on the individual patient and surgeon, it can last up to several hours. The length of the procedure depends on how much liposuction is being performed – that is the amount of fat removed and the area treated. For instance, the chin area might only take 20 minutes, whereas other areas like the abdomen can take an hour. The approximate time taken for liposuction of various body parts is:

  • Buttocks: Generally takes at least 45 minutes since it’s a medium size surface area.
  • Abdomen and Back: Usually takes 1 hour because larger sized surface areas.
  • Arm and Legs: Usually takes a minimum of 1 hour, since there are two sides to be treated, with a medium to large-sized surface area.
  • Chin and Neck: Usually takes at least 20 minutes since these are small, localized area.

Also, the duration would vary when multiple areas are treated all at once. For instance, the flanks and lower and upper abdomen are areas that are commonly treated in combination. According to liposuction experts, this would take typically take two to three hours. In normal cases, liposuction on a single area takes less than an hour.

In addition to operating time and fat removed, you need to consider the extra time that you have to take for travelling and post-op. You would need to get to the liposuction facility 30 minutes before surgery and need time to wake up if general anesthesia is used. Minimally-invasive liposuction such as Smartlipo laser liposuction in NYC that uses laser energy for removing unwanted fat, then the procedure requires less time compared to traditional liposuction. Moreover, as it is performed under local anesthesia, it would involve far less downtime. In total, you can expect to be at the surgical practice for two to three hours on the day of your procedure.

Recovery Time

Recovery can take anywhere from one to six weeks. The length of recovery will be dependent on the area of liposuction – the larger the treated area, the longer the recovery. However, with laser liposuction, you can expect faster recovery than traditional procedure. Laser liposuction patients can return in two days’ time to their work if their job does not involve much physical stress. Many people choose to have the procedure on Friday so that they can get back on Monday.

The plastic surgeon’s experience and skill are critical for optimal results as well as to promote faster recovery. Follow your surgeon’s post-surgical instructions to ensure a smooth and safe healing process. Here are some tips to help:

  • Eat a balanced diet, reduce intake of salt and sugar, increase intake of protein, and eat small meals spread out throughout the day.
  • Restrict movement on the first day following the surgery. After that, start off with light walking and gradually get back to your normal workout. Avoid heavy workouts until you heal completely.
  • Take adequate rest.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and low-calorie, non-carbonated beverages.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol.
  • Wear a compression garment and the right clothes that don’t pose a hindrance to recovery.
  • Take proper care of the incision to minimize risks of infection and change bandages as necessary.
  • Avoid exposing the scar to sunlight for at least one year.
  • Take the medications that your surgeon prescribes to manage pain and discomfort.
  • Meet your surgeon as scheduled.
  • Watch out for complications. If you notice anything unusual, contact your surgeon immediately.

Liposuction outcomes are usually visible within just a few days following the treatment and will continue to improve for up to six months.

If you are considering liposuction surgery or laser liposuction in New York, choose an AAAASF-accredited plastic surgery facility that provides the services of experienced and skilled plastic surgeons.

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