It’s now 12 weeks since the surgical procedure to remove the fat from my abdomen and insert it into my breast. I thought (maybe mistakenly) that everything would have settled down by now.
However, there are one or two little irritations that keep reminding me that I’ve had the procedure, which otherwise would fade from my memory.
They are a tenderness in my lipofilled breast and a weird ‘sharp’ (for want of a better description) protrusion in the aureola of the breast. Plus the sensitivity of the liposucked(?) area has not diminished completely.
I’ve been taking a look around on the internet and found quite a lot of information out there that you may find useful, as I have (retrospectively), in understanding what liposuction is and what after-care is needed. Less information is available on lipofilling, but I’ll update on the information I have found on that for you in another blog. All information can be helpful if read in a considered manner and judged according to its source etc.
Liposuction- how it is carried out and it’s after-care
Sites describe the style of lipsuction carried out on me as most probably the tumescent technique whereby the incisions made to gather the fat are left open (i.e. no stitching to seal the wound) so that fluid is allowed to drain away. Tumescent refers to the blood-filled fluid that occurs beneath the surface of the skin from where the fat is harvested. The elastic compression garment (‘magic pants’) encourages the drainage of the fluid from beneath the skin and increases the speed of the healing process.
There is swelling and bruising (my colleague said I looked like I’d been in a Road Traffic accident – but then I do bruise really easily!) which disappears over 5 to 8 weeks. Lipsuctioned skin is very prone to itchiness (I certainly found it so), as liposuction has a skin drying effect. Some sources recommend massaging with a heavy lotion to reduce this effect.
Massage is something which I did instinctively start to do, as it eased the discomfort of the smarting I experienced in the ‘suctioned’ area. on conducting my research I found out that this was a good thing to be doing. And, in fact, I ought to have been doing it more frequently, some sites advocate massaging deeply three times a day for six weeks! This helps minimise dimpling or wrinkling apparently, as does early exercise (something which I was unsure whether I should do or not) after about a couple of weeks. Walking frequently is supposed to improve your blood circulation and speed up recovery. Another thing I discovered is that liposuctioned skin is numb or hypersensitive for several weeks afterwards and that massage also helps to alleviate this.
A myth: after liposuction you don’t get fat where the cells have been taken from. In fact, the remaining fat cells can grow larger! Also fat will accumulate in the other areas of your body.
As regards pain, I think I stopped taking my prescription painkillers far too soon. Next time, I’ll take them for a fair bit longer! Research has shown to me that after a few days the pain should start to subside, though remains a problem for a few weeks (even as long as eight weeks). The intensity of the pain is apparently dependent on the type of anaesthesia used. As I had a general anaesthetic, the pain is generally more intense and requires narcotic painkillers (which explains why I was given morphine).
Skinsite.com describes the liposuction process:-
Liposuction involves the use of a small stainless steel tube, called a cannula. The cannula is connected to a very powerful suction pump and is inserted through small skin incisions. The removal of fat is accomplished as the suction cannula creates tiny tunnels through the fatty layers. After surgery, these tiny tunnels collapse resulting in an improved body contour.
The sites I have been visiting all have lots of tips as regards liposuction and the best way to recuperate post-surgery. Here is a summary of the bulk of them:-
- Stay hydrated, especially during the recovery period
- Maintain a proper, low-sodium diet
- Get adequate rest and avoid returning to your normal activity level too quickly
- Gently massage the area to encourage circulation
- Avoid medications that may interfere with fluid balance, and be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking
- Alcoholic drinks are not advised before and after a liposuction procedure.
- Application of ice-packs, heating packs and other skin application are not advised as it affects the healing process.
- Do not expose the operated area to water. Do not get into a sauna, Jacuzzi or a swimming pool. The excessive moisture could develop into a serious infection.
- Wear light garments and preferably cotton or a fabric to which your skin is comfortable.
Something which I didn’t even consider (as my husband is a food and health fanatic and makes sure that I eat very healthily) was my diet. Some recommended foods (from Healing Foundation) post-surgery are:-
- Green leaf steamed vegetables
- Protein Shakes
- Green drinks
- Apple Sauce
Healing Foundation also has a recommended list of food items for maintaining the slimming effects of liposuction (see sources of information for more details).
I’ll go into more information about the Lipofilling part in another blog later on.