When open drainage is used after liposuction surgery, especially in the case of tumescent liposuction, the incisions are not closed with suture but rather are left open and then simply covered with super absorbent pads and elastic compression garments. Super absorbent pads have two main functions, mainly:
1.) completely absorb drained tumescent fluid, and
2.) evenly distribute the compressive force of the elastic garments to prevent bruising.
By soaking up the tumescent fluid, these special pads also prevent the blood from staining the patient’s clothes, bedding and furniture. This, in turn, promotes personal hygiene, and also prevents the patient from seeing too much blood, which is one of the triggers for vasovagal syncope or fainting.
Super absorbent pads are similar to self-adhering foam such as the 3M Reston Foam, which is also used after surgery, in that they are both designed to prevent bruising to a certain degree. Reston foam, however, has to be left on the treated area for several days, preventing the patient from being able to shower. Also, 3M has issued a warning against the use of Reston foam in liposuction patients due to previous cases of allergic reactions.
Compression sponges are defined as a combination of both super absorbent pads and compression pads, which both absorb copious post operative drainage and act as protective cushions over the incisions and adits.
HK pads are the preferred choice of surgeons for surgical super absorbent pads. These pads come in four different sizes from X-Small (12? x 5?) to Large (12? x 20?), with the Large ones able to absorb more than 1000ml of fluid without leaking and while remaining dry against the patient’s skin.
Some surgeons ask that patients change the super absorbent pads as often as needed for the first 24 to 48 hours following liposuction surgery when the drainage is most profuse. Others ask that the pads be left alone for the first two days in order to achieve their full effect.
After the drainage has stopped, you can continue using the pads for security, replacing them just once daily after you shower.
If you are prone to fainting at the sight of blood, which occurs commonly after liposuction, you should have someone else change the dressing or at least, have someone with you when you change them to prevent you from falling and hitting your head.
Since super absorbent pads are not self-adhering, you will need to apply them using paper tape or surgical tape. You can also use gauze or elastic tube netting to keep the pads in place before putting on the elastic compression garments, which should be designed to accommodate the pads.
Dr. Milan Doshi- Founder and Medical Director of Allure Medspa, He is (M.S, M.Ch) Indian Board Certified Plastic Cosmetic Surgeon with International Expertise and qualification (Member of ISAPS- International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon). Read more..