Liposuction is a surgical procedure to remove external fat. There are several technologies that are used, and they include mechanical removal, use of laser, use of ultrasound, and other technologies.
The common factor that all of these liposuction technologies have is that tumescent fluid is usually injected before the surgical procedure starts. Tumescent fluid is fluid, usually saline solution, that is mixed with other medicine that slows down bleeding and gives some numbing medicine relief. It is injected into the areas of liposuction right at the beginning of the surgical case. This tumescent fluid is then allowed to sit for about 10-20 minutes.
After allowing this fluid to work, liposuction then starts. The material removed by liposuction is called aspirate. With the tumescent fluid action of vasoconstriction, or lowering blood loss, the aspirate is typically white or yellow, implying that mainly fat and soft tissue is being removed. If no tumescent fluid is used, or it has not been allowed to settle for a longer period of time, the aspirate can be reddish, or blood tinged.
After your liposuction procedure is done, there is probably still some tumescent fluid left behind. This fluid is absorbed, but some of it may leak out through your tiny liposuction incisions. This is what causes some leaking after surgery.
This fluid may be pink or red, but usually, there is not much blood in it. Remember, blood is dark red and will form a clot. Liposuction fluid is pink or red, and usually not as dark red. Also, usually, it will not clot, and will need to be absorbed by gauze or other dressings right after surgery. Some leaking after your liposuction surgery is to be expected, but an excessive amount may indicate that you will want to talk to your plastic surgeon or go to the emergency room.
Typically any leaking or excess fluid will occur within the first 24 hours. It is unusual to continue after this time period.
A hint if you run out of gauze dressings- you can always use sanitary napkins over your incisions to absorb any extra fluid.
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