How to Speed Up Abdominal Liposuction Recovery?

I was wondering, what can I do to speed my abdominal liposuction recovery? I am 10 days out and still sore with bumps. I am doing some massage to keep scar tissue away. Any other ideas?

Doctor Answers 4

Compression, massage, ambulation, exercise stretching and low sodium diet!

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It’s not unusual for liposuction patients to have lumps, bumps, pain and swelling in the immediate post-operative period. During the procedure, the liposuction cannula is passed through the subcutaneous tissue. This causes disruption of the lymphatic channels and cellular injury, which causes swelling and mild contour irregularity.

Significant improvement in swelling can be seen in the first three weeks following surgery, with the majority gone in about three months.Small amounts of swelling may persist up to a year following surgery.

We generally recommend the use of compression garments for about three weeks following surgery.We also recommend a low-sodium diet before and after liposuction.Exercise is usually started early in the post-operative period, and we want patients to ambulate as soon as possible following surgery.

Massage is also helpful.It decreases swelling by mobilizing retained fluid following liposuction.It also helps with minor contour irregularities.All of these steps help to minimize the duration of swelling following surgery.In your case, your post-operative course appears to be normal and should resolve with time.Compression, massage, ambulation, exercise, stretching and low salt intake will hopefully help you get there sooner.

Surgical Recovery

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Dear Sscuzzseattle, there are many things you can do for recovery!! The massage is a good start. Following your surgeons post op instructions is very important. There are a variety of supplements that can aid healing including anti-oxidents and Arnica. If you have a good Naturopath or MD in alternative medicine there are intravenous therapies that can help. GentleWaves is a light therapy that can help with swelling and discomfort and bruising.

Topical creams such as Traumeel and lymphdiural also can help.

With Warm Regards,

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Tips on fast liposuction recovery

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Therapeutic or "lymphatic massage" may be helpful following Liposuction (Smart Lipo, Vaser, Tickle lipo, or conventional lipo) to minimize swelling but not all plastic surgeons recommend it nor is it Mandatory. Make sure your surgeon feels that you have healed sufficiently  and it is safe before doing this.  Endermologie is also very helpful after liposculpture/liposuction but again, not critical.  Although deep tissue massage following liposuction can aid in smoothing out  contour irregularities that invariably accompany this procedure it has limited effect on the final outcome and  is NOT mandatory. Some plastic surgeons recommend it to all  patients as they feel the edema resolves faster.  Ask your surgeon to show you or a significant other how to do this if cost is an issue. Typically they will have you massage toward areas of maximum lymphatic drainage ( for example groin or armpits) A low sodium diet and no heavy exercise especially lifting for the first 4-6 weeks may also be helpful.

Lipo recovery

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At only 10 days soreness and a few bumps are not abnormal.  The massage you are already doing is a good idea.  I like to use external ultrasound.  My patients also get a full course of endermologie after liposuction.  We generally start that at around 3 weeks post-op.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.