You can remove the gauze dressings the day after surgery. It is normal for a small amount of fluid to leak from the incisions for the first few days. This fluid looks like "Kool-aid" or fruit-punch and is part of the normal healing process. If you have leaking fluid that persists more than 48 hours after surgery, call the office. If there is tape or adhesive strips directly on your incision, do not remove these. If they fall off in the shower there is no need for concern. You can reinforce any leaking sites with gauze or a maxi-pad. If you are given a garment at the time of surgery, you should wear this as often as possible for the first couple of weeks. Do not purchase a garment on your own without checking with your surgeon first.
It is rare to need drains after liposuction. The one exception is large volume liposuction of the abdominal region. If your surgeon is planning on using a drain, he will inform you of this ahead of time. The drain helps remove the fluid that is produced under your skin as part of the healing process. Without drains, this fluid can accumulate, termed a seroma. The drain stays in until the drainage is less than 25 ml per drain in a twenty four hour period. This usually takes 3-5 days, but can be shorter or longer in some cases. The drains are easy to take care of, and do not hurt to take out.