Chills & Shivering

This occurs in up to half of patients as they regain consciousness after surgery. It is only temporary and will subside once your body temperature regulates.

Nausea & Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are the most common complications associated with anesthesia. Anti-nausea medications and adequate hydration can help patients avoid nausea and vomiting. TIP: Sniffing alcohol wipes can help ease nausea quickly and easily.

Forgetfulness & Confusion

Anesthetics are well known to cause confusion, but this typically decreases as the body processes the medications and removes them from circulation. Some medications can cause significant forgetfulness in the hours immediately after surgery, which is a normal side effect of anesthesia.


Pain after surgery is normal and to be expected. Medications will be given to help with discomfort and should be used as directed. If possible, fill your prescriptions & leave at your bedside so you have easy access to them.


Swelling is a normal part of the healing process. Surgery can be very traumatic on the body, especially after procedures such as liposuction. Many people experience moderate-to-severe swelling in the first few days or weeks after surgery, and mild-to-moderate swelling for 3 to 6 months post op.


The first few days can be a bit messy especially if you had liposuction. Some surgeons intentionally leave your incisions open to facilitate the drainage process.

  • This blood-tinged fluid leaks out from the incisions for the first 48 hours or so. Therefore, you can use abdominal or poise pads inside your garment to catch the drainage. PLENTY of bed pads (chux) will also be needed.
  • Fluid is encouraged to drain from the liposuction area. By doing this, healing is sped up and infection is prevented as any bacteria will also drain from the area.
  • Lymphatic massages, walking and compression garments are also used to help drain the excess fluid and resolve the swelling. Fluid accumulation can develop into a seroma and lead to fibrosis.


In many cases such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) a drain is used. A drain is used when your surgeon elevates tissue and creates a space. Drains are needed because the body doesn’t like to have spaces between tissue, so it reacts by releasing fluid. This fluid is called serous fluid.

  • If fluid accumulates between the tissue layers, the tissue can’t heal and glue itself back together to seal off. Therefore, drains are placed to suck out the fluid.
  • When the tissue has healed together, your body stops making fluid, and it is safe to remove the drain.
  • The time a drain stays in can vary from a few days to a few weeks. Once the tissue has glued itself back together, there is no “space” there anymore, and the fluid production stops.
  • If the drain comes out too early, then there is a risk of fluid forming and collecting under the skin.

Blood Transfusion

If you lost too much blood, you may need a blood transfusion. A blood transfusion usually takes one to four hours, though in an emergency it can be done much faster. Blood transfusions are generally considered safe. But they do carry some risk of complications. If you’ve had a reaction to prior blood transfusions, be sure to tell your physician.