Liposuction aftercare is integral to a successful outcome. Several treatable side effects of liposuction must be managed after liposuction to avoid more permanent complications that include hyperpigmentation, skin compromise, and scarring. Immediately following liposuction, the soft tissues will experience drainage of plasma fluid from leaky vessels. This fluid is the water portion of what we refer to as blood. This drainage is also accompanied by actual red blood cells and proinflammatory cells. The goal of liposuction aftercare is to limit the leakage of not only the plasma fluid but also red blood cells and pro-inflammatory cells.
Restricting plasma fluid is important since it will result in increased pressure on the skin. Since liposuction already compromises blood flow to the skin, further pressure induced from swelling can be detrimental. As such, the use of a compression garment in liposuction aftercare is a critical component of a successful outcome. Avoiding leakage of red blood cells is also important as red blood cells that leak get stuck in the soft tissues and subsequently pop causing staining of the skin from a molecule called hemosiderin. Hemosiderin staining will result in hyperpigmentation that can compromise your outcome. Finally, avoiding an influx of pro-inflammatory cells is important as it will avoid activation of a pro-inflammatory state that results in unnecessary scarring.
Appropriate dressings are also critical in liposuction aftercare. These include the application of Xeroform which has several compounds such as bismuth that are soothing to the skin cells. Bacitracin ointment is also applied and provides an anti-microbial compound that will prevent inadvertent skin infection. If patients demonstrate skin bruising during surgery, then hydrocortisone ointment is applied to counter pro-inflammatory cells from further activating an inflammatory reaction.
Postoperative skin compromise must be detected immediately to avoid permanent injury. Nitro paste can be used focally on areas of skin compromise in an attempt to dilate the local microvessels to encourage increased blood flow. Hyperbaric oxygen has also been recommended in the early postoperative period in cases of skin compromise. Unfortunately, this treatment does require a more arduous commitment to travel to the chambers, two sessions daily, for several days. Moreover, we have observed better success and compliance with the use of Nitropaste alone.
Lymphatic messages are an important component of liposuction aftercare. Patients should undergo lymphatic messages daily or every other day for a period of 1 o 2 weeks depending on the extent of liposuction. Lymphatic messages serve to drain any leakage of plasma fluid in the early postoperative period until the soft tissues heal back together. Lymphatic massages are even more critical in patients undergoing high definition liposuction. These patients often have highly defined muscle outlines that need to be maintained by keeping gulleys between muscle junctions empty of settling, residual fat cells. Moreover, regular lymphatic messages allow patients to be inspected frequently to manage any unexpected side effects.
In summary, liposuction aftercare is an important component of liposuction surgery. Patients who are not willing to comply with liposuction aftercare may be considered poor candidates for this surgery. If you would like to receive more information regarding liposuction aftercare, please contact one of our centers for further information.