After liposuction surgery is performed, a certain amount of fluid is always left behind beneath the patient’s skin in the areas where the fat was removed. This fluid consists of anesthetic solution that was left over from the procedure together with blood, which the body produces to help heal all of the wounds that were created under the skin.
This fluid accumulation can greatly slow down the healing process by preventing fresh supplies of nutrients and oxygen from reaching the injured areas under the skin, and in some cases can cause cell death.
All of the fluid that is backed up is considered a type of swelling known as edema, and it can also cause bruising of the skin, as well as other, more serious problems. Pockets of blood or lymph, known as hematomas and seromas respectively, may be formed.
These anomalies can cause infections in the body, and the patient’s immune system may not be able to remove them on its own. In some cases, these problems can also develop into blood clots, which can cause even more serious problems such as thromboses or a stroke.
In addition, even if none of these problems occurs, an excessive amount of fluid carried under the skin can cause the heart to work harder. The body maintains a balance of the amount of fluid that is between the cells and in the blood, and if there is an imbalance, it can be very taxing on the heart.
The solution recommended by virtually all plastic surgeons to correct this problem of the build-up of fluids under the skin is for the patient to wear an elastic liposuction compression garment for approximately two to six weeks after the surgery.
These garments can be made from a variety of fabrics including Lycra, and the type of elastic material from which girdles are made, and often come with Velcro straps.
A liposuction compression garment, which is made for the lower half of the body, is typically crotch-less, to enable patients to relieve themselves without having to remove the garment.
They reduce the post-surgery edema by pressing down on the skin and squeezing the excess fluid back toward deeper tissue in the body, where it is absorbed.
This attire can also serve another purpose, depending on whether the surgeon sutures the openings in the skin, or “adits”, that were made for the insertion of the cannulae, or whether he leaves them open for drainage. Elastic liposuction compression garments can serve to push the fluid that is trapped under the skin out of the adits, or out of any drainage tubes that were placed there by the surgeon.
As is often the case when liposuction is performed, the patient’s skin does not shrink back all the way to fit their new, smaller body. This skin will be baggy and unsightly, and will require further cosmetic surgery to correct the problem.
Elastic compression garments can serve to help shrink this extra skin by compressing it against the body. It will not always do this completely, but it can make a marked improvement. Likewise, holding damaged skin against the body aids in the healing process, as baggy skin does not heal as well as skin that is held firmly against the body.
The use of an elastic compression garment after a liposuction procedure is one of the most important things that a patient can do to ensure an uncomplicated, speedy recovery.
As long as the surgeon’s post operation instructions are followed, and the liposuction compression garment is worn at all times and for the recommended length of time, the patient’s swelling, bruising, and risk of complication will be greatly reduced.
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..