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Getting Back to Normal


Drainage from the incisions is normal during the first 24–48 hours. This may cause blood-staining of the garment.


You can shower and bathe after your appointment the day after surgery.


When getting ready to shower, remove the garment and then sit down for several minutes before getting up. This gives your body a few minutes to adjust because your blood pressure will drop a little with the garment off. When you are up, if you feel light-headed, immediately lie down and this will correct itself. After a few days, this does not seem to be a problem anymore.


You will probably need some help taking off the garment and putting it back on during the first few days. Then you will get the knack of doing it yourself.


Swelling and bruising are to be expected. Keep in mind the bruising is affected by gravity. Areas such as the flanks and the back of the thighs tend to bruise more because you sleep on your back. If your thighs are treated, the swelling and bruising can go down your legs, even to your ankles and feet. Usually, when the abdomen is treated, there is swelling and bruising of the pubic area, often going down to involve the genitalia. Don’t worry about bruising and swelling of this area, it is normal.


Wear the garment day and night. Take it off to bathe and wash the garment at the same time. Wash the garment in a gentle cycle in cold water and line dry or place it on the air-fluff dryer setting.


After two weeks, you can alternate and wear spandex for periods of the day, which is likely to be more comfortable. Aerobic outfits or cycling shorts usually contain this material, which provides compression. The principle is even compression of the treated areas for comfort and to reduce swelling. You should wear the garment for a month.


The Band-Aids can come off after two days, or sooner if they are saturated. Leave the Steri-Strips on another couple of days (don’t worry if it comes off with the Band-Aid). Usually, you don’t need to apply another Band-Aid unless there is still some drainage or the incision is in an area that might be subject to friction from the garment. The sutures dissolve on their own.


Contact the office if you are having excessive fainting, nausea, swelling, pain, or fever over 101.0°F or 39.5°C. Swelling of the feet and ankles is normal if you had your thighs and knees treated. But, if the swelling seems to be much greater on one side than the other, this may signal a blood clot and you need to come in to have this assessed.


The bruising can take up to a month to go away. Swelling takes longer. About 80% of the swelling is gone in a month and virtually all of it is gone in three months. This is the reason why we usually take photographs three months or more after liposuction.