What should I expect after surgery?

Most patients experience bruising, swelling and discomfort which lasts about a week. After the surgery a garment is worn to provide support and pressure to the liposuctioned areas. This garment is worn for 4-8 weeks after surgery.

Following surgery, patients normally rests for 24-72 hours. Normal bathing activities can usually be resumed after 48 hours and return to work is possible at one week. A gentle massage program may be commenced 10-14 days after surgery.

When can I return to normal activities?

Generally patients are able to return to work 5-7 days after surgery. Gentle exercise can be resumed after approximately two weeks, however, vigorous exercise should be avoided for six weeks.

Is there anything I should do before surgery?

  • Avoid taking aspirin for two weeks before surgery.
  • It is advisable not smoke for three weeks before and after surgery as this will delay the healing process.
  • It is advisable to come off oral contraceptive medication prior to liposuction surgery

Are there any risks?

As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications. Surgery and anaesthesia are very safe and it is most unlikely you will experience any difficulty. However, there are areas of potential problems you need to understand before proceeding with your surgery. You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following Dr Drielsma’s instructions after surgery.

Areas of numbness may occur and usually disappear after some months, however, these may be permanent.

Bleeding, infection and seroma (collection of fluid ) are rare following liposuction

Minor contour irregularities such as rippling or dimpling are not uncommon following liposuction. These resemble celluilite which is commonly present also prior to the procedure. Liposuction is about contour improvement, not perfection and having realistic expectations is important in ultimate satisfaction.

Although rare, there is a risk of clotting in the veins of the legs. This can be reduced by flexing your calves after surgery to maintain leg circulation and moving around as soon as possible. Pulmonary emboli (clots in veins which can travel to the lungs) can rarely occur.

An area of skin loss can occur and has been reported in literature. Fortunately, this has been an rare occurrence.

Important points to remember before proceeding with surgery:

There can be no absolute guarantee with any surgery. In the hands of even the most experienced surgeon, a secondary operation to correct a minor irregularity may be needed.

It often takes up to six to eight weeks before the benefits of the procedure are visible. It usually takes 6 months to see the final result, so don’t lose heart if you can see no improvement for the first few weeks.

Should there be any questions regarding liposuction, be sure they are answered in advance by Dr Drielsma. Well meaning friends are not a good source of information. Find out everything before the operation – a well informed patient is a happy one.

The best candidates for cosmetic surgery are those who want to enhance or improve their appearance, not those who seek perfection. You will be satisfied with the results of surgery if you have realistic expectations. It is important that you make the decision to proceed with surgery for yourself, not anyone else.

The next step when considering cosmetic surgery is a consultation with Dr Drielsma. You will be shown before and after photos and will be given the opportunity to discuss the procedure with previous patients.
The above information mentions only some of the benefits and complications of liposuction. This information should not be regarded as a substitute for information and advice provided by Dr Drielsma during consultation.


Dr Robert Drielsma is a fully qualified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon specialising in Cosmetic Surgery and Reconstructive plastic surgery with over 20 years experience.