How to Manage Itching After Tumescent Liposuction

A lot of liposuction patients report that the first few days following tumescent liposuction are relatively easy to deal with. They expect to have a little bit of pain, drainage, and soreness in the days immediately following surgery. But what patients don’t expect is that for the next four to five months, they may experience some intense itching from time to time. It helps to have a few strategies lined up for patients to help them deal with the fact of itching after having tumescent liposuction surgery. Because when the itching starts, it can be pretty difficult to come with any viable solution to it other than scratching.

Experts report that you do not want to scratch the itch that patients inevitably have in the areas where they had liposuction done. Scratching will only make it worse. According to the plastic surgeons who regularly perform tumescent liposuction, cannulas can cause trauma to the nerve fibers as they pass back and forth across the tissues under the skin.

After Lipo - Courtesy-Getty-Images-EWomens-Health.jpg

Although it may seem as though the itching associated with tumescent liposuction would be worse than what patients experience following SmartLipo or all the other types of laser liposuction techniques, in reality, this isn’t the case. If you’ve recently had tumescent liposuction or you have surgery coming up soon, take courage in the fact that the itching associated with tumescent liposuction is often easier to cope with than the itching you would likely experience if you had a different liposuction procedure performed.

The itching usually comes on around the second week following surgery and then continues with differing levels of intensity for a number of days. Most of the time, the itching is due to the nerve fibers in the areas affected by liposuction that have been traumatized.  However, some patients experience allergic itchiness in response to wearing the post-operative compression garments or irritation at the site of the incision. If you experience itching due to the compression garments, talk to your doctor about finding a product that won’t irritate your skin. But for the itching that comes from irritated nerve fibers regenerating, you’ll have to wait as the itchiness tapers off over time, as nerve fibers heal. The irritation becomes less, but patients report that periods of extreme itchy sensations can persist for four to five months as the nerve fibers regenerate.

Resist the urge to scratch at all costs because after you scratch, you’re going to feel sore. Instead, when you feel the itching start, (as long as it’s been more than 7 days since your surgery) hop into a nice hot shower or use a topical anti-histamine lotion. Taking anti-histamines internally like Benadryl or Claritin can help too. If your incision sites have completely healed, you might want to try taking a soak with some oatmeal to make the itching subside. Put some oatmeal in a muslin bag and tie it shut. Put the muslin bag of oatmeal in the bath to “steep”. You can also try oatmeal soap to bring the itching down to a manageable level.

Though your doctor may only mention itching in passing when he talks with you about post-operative care, it’s important that patients have a plan in place to deal with the irritation. Most patients simply aren’t prepared for the kind of irritation that’s common following tumescent liposuction and it’s tempting to scratch that itch and cause damage to the area that’s been treated rather than coping effectively with it.