Most doctors on RealSelf say that a good compression garment is essential to minimize swelling and bruising, help the skin smoothly adhere to the underlying tissue, and speed up healing; but some don’t think it’s necessary. Doctors who recommend compression garments often have patients wear them 24/7 (with a break for showering) for at least two weeks and then gradually reduce the number of hours they need to be worn over a period of three or more weeks. As a bonus, doctors say, compression helps ease discomfort. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Some surgeons recommend lymphatic massage starting at about four weeks post-op, to help drain fluid and bring down swelling. “I don’t suggest self-massage, because you can counteract the surgery,” Dr. Mesa says. “But going to a massage therapist who specializes in post-surgical massage does make the healing process faster and prevent irregularities.”
• Vanquish uses radiofrequency energy to melt fat cells, in a painless procedure that lasts about 45 minutes. You’ll have to wait about two weeks to start seeing a difference, with full results apparent in four to eight weeks—and most people need four or more treatments to get the results they want. It has a lower Worth It Rating than either CoolSculpting or WarmSculpting.
Nonsurgical fat reduction treatments can also treat small pockets of fat, but be aware that RealSelf members give these procedures a lower Worth It Rating than they do liposuction. They usually require multiple treatments, over many months, to see a significant improvement—and the results are typically not as dramatic as those you’d get with lipo. After a nonsurgical fat reduction procedure, the body flushes out the damaged fat cells over time. Dr. Marosan also cations that “Patients who undergo nonsurgical fat reduction and then opt for liposuction surgery are more difficult to treat, due to the extensive internal scarring. In my practice, over 50% of my body sculpting patients had previous nonsurgical or surgical fat reduction, with suboptimal or poor results.”
A major key to making sure that the breast lift process is as comfortable as possible is planning ahead of time. Much of the post-operative discomfort is due to swelling. While wearing a compression bra should help manage some of the swelling and help reduce pain, there are other things that can be done to reduce swelling and make your recovery easier.