In a perfect world, surgical procedures like liposuction would cause no pain to patients. However, reality being what it is, feelings of pain after surgery are unavoidable. After all, your body has undergone stresses that it does not normally face. Read on to learn more about what to expect after liposuction, as well as to find out more about the process of recovery after liposuction!
The best way to describe a typical patient’s after liposuction pain is that it begins as a soreness or tenderness, which lasts for 12 to 24 hours while the local anesthesia is still in your system. The pain then progresses to feeling like a sunburn and a muscle soreness similar to what you might experience after working out a little harder than normal. Patients rarely require any medication beyond Tylenol (acetaminophen).
When operated on by a surgeon skilled in liposuction with local anesthesia, patients will experience much less discomfort than they would under general anesthesia. In procedures using general anesthesia, a lack of local anesthetic (lidocaine) in the tumescent solution results in a more intense pain that often requires the application of narcotic analgesics.
For the first full 24 hours (and sometimes longer) following liposuction, the effect of the local anesthesia can still be felt, greatly reducing the patient’s pain. After that, the amount of soreness and swelling felt in the subsequent days and weeks largely depends on the type of aftercare procedures used. Soreness tends to peak in intensity between 2 to 4 days post-surgery, decreasing steadily afterwards. Tenderness and soreness are most bothersome for up to 4 weeks, gradually diminishing over the next 4 to 8 weeks.
Using an open-drainage technique, which entails leaving the miniscule incisions used in liposuction open in order to allow the drainage of the anesthetic solution that can cause inflammation and pain, wearing elastic compression garments can diminish post-operative pain. Even after the anesthetic solution has drained completely, patients often find that continued wear of a compression garment restricts the movement of treated areas, reducing discomfort and adding to their sense of security.
No; in fact, patients are encouraged to remain active after their surgery under local anesthesia. Most are able to drive a car within one to two days, and are able to return to a normal work schedule within one to three days.
The short answer is yes, tumescent liposuction performed with local anesthesia is much less painful than when performed under general anesthesia, due to a number of factors. Nurses and surgeons who have specialized training in performing a tumescent infiltration can do so causing as little pain as possible; without this training, surgeons must defer to general anesthesia. In addition to employing greater skill, the localized numbing that results from local anesthesia (which may not be used with general anesthesia) and the length of time for which the numbness lasts allows patients to experience a degree of recovery before feeling even the slightest discomfort, after which all that is required is Tylenol.
In contrast, because general anesthesia tends not to employ the use of local anesthesia, patients experience greater pain that is only combated with narcotic analgesics, injected intravenously, which frequently cause post-operative chills, nausea, and vomiting—all symptoms that are incredibly rare when using local anesthesia.
Before electing for a major surgery like liposuction, make sure to receive a medical consultation from an experienced, qualified cosmetic surgeon. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation appointment, learn more about what happens after liposuction, and learn more about liposuction and other procedures that we specialize in.