As a type of body contouring surgery, liposuction removes “unwanted” fat using suction through a slender, blunt-tipped tube called cannula. While small round cuts in the skin are made to access the fatty tissue, within a year they will most likely fade into imperceptible white “dots.”
The success of liposuction depends on several factors, which include the surgeon’s skills, patient’s weight and health condition, skin quality, and motives and expectations.
- Achieve your goal weight. The general rule of thumb is to be within 15-20 percent of your ideal weight before any body contouring surgery is attempted. Nevertheless, it remains important that you are able to keep it long term through regular exercise and superb diet.
Even after achieving your goal weight, sometimes it makes sense to wait for at least six months before you undergo a body contouring procedure to make sure that you will not experience weight fluctuations that will affect the surgery’s results.
- Preparation for “good” blood. The general rule of thumb is to avoid blood thinners such as aspirin and ibuprofen for 10-14 days prior to surgery. The same rule also applies to a variety of nutritional and herbal supplements such as green tea, maidenhair tree, ginseng, and high-dose vitamin E.
- Superb diet. Some surgeons recommend a low-sodium diet a week prior to surgery to minimize postop swelling and bruising, while others are more focused on increasing their patients’ fruit and vegetables intake.
Despite some differences in preoperative diet, the consensus is to eat a small amount of [lean] protein at each meal because it plays a crucial role in tissue repair.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol for at least three weeks. Tobacco products are particularly deleterious to your healing as the nicotine leads to poor blood circulation and increased risk of infection and skin necrosis (death of tissue).
Alcohol, meanwhile, affects how your liver metabolizes medications and is known to increased postop bruising and cause longer recovery.
- Prepare your skin. While there is no truly proven treatments which can change the inherent quality of skin, it remains helpful to avoid skin irritants (used in skin resurfacing treatments), sunbathing, and tanning booths at least three weeks prior to liposuction.
- Organize your house. Purchasing your supplies (e.g., postop drugs, dressing, loose clothing, easy-to-prepare meal), cleaning your home, and making simple arrangements days prior to surgery can go a long way toward a comfortable recovery.