Simply Aesthetic

Recovery After Waterjet Assisted Liposuction

Waterjet Liposuction is associated with a quick recovery time, and often requires little  pain relief. But what is it really like to have this operation?

“Comparison of Power Water-Assisted and Traditional Liposuction: A Prospective Randomized Trial of Post-Operative Pain”

Araco A, Gravante G, et al. In : Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2007 (31): 259-265

Study Summary:

  • 60 patients (32 had WAL)
  • Pain & bruising significantly reduced after WAL compared to traditional liposuction.

  • Average 4.8X more pain after traditional lipo than WAL

  • After 4 days, 87% of WAL patients were free of pain, versus 3.6% of traditional lipo patients

  • Operating time shorter for WAL

  • Fewer pain killer tablets needed by WAL patients than traditional lipo

Postoperative pain is an important factor that needs to be analyzed when new techniques in cosmetic surgery are introduced. This study shows that water-assisted liposuction is an almost painless procedure as compared to traditional tumescent liposuction.

Recovery After WAL

The degree of discomfort is closely related to the size of the operation. Small, localised fat extraction is nearly painless, whilst large volume liposuction involving large areas can be quite uncomfortable. Each individual’s tolerance to pain also varies tremendously. Some who claim to have little pain tolerance sail through large procedures with no major complaints of discomfort. Others who think their tolerance level is high sometimes find it very uncomfortable.

Many require minimal pain relief after the operation.

Swelling is variable, from virtually none to significant. People with previous surgery tend to swell more, but lack of previous intervention does not mean no swelling. The swelling tends to go within 2-4 weeks.

Bruising is minimal and lasts 2 weeks at most.

Oozing is common in the first 24 hours. We provide a change of dressing for your comfort. We use machines to draw out excess water the day after the operation, so the holes can close up quickly. It is rare for oozing to continue beyond 48 hours unless circumferential thigh surgery is done. For this, we offer daily fluid drainage to speed up recovery and reduce swelling.

Skin laxity was a concern initially, but skin retraction has not  been a major problem. High risk patients can undergo additional skin firming procedures (non-surgical). Although it is unlikely that the skin will be tighter after surgery than before,  skin laxity, particularly with the use of skin firming treatments, is rarely a major issue.

Most of the recovery is complete after a month. Further reductions in girth can be seen after, but swelling is usually minimal by this time. Final results are seen after just 6-10 weeks. Occasionally we do find hard lumps and numb spots, which are common after all liposuction techniques. These resolve spontaneously, but may take months.

Compression garments should be worn for 4 weeks after the surgery. The first 2 weeks all the time, then at least 12 hours a day. This is usually adequate unless there has been some complication during recovery, or swelling continues to persist beyond the month.