Should I Have Liposuction Before Or After Ankle Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting the abdominal and flank liposuction. However, I currently need to get surgery done on my ankle by an orthopedic surgeon.  The surgeon will not do it, however, until I quit chewing tobacco. Therefore, I want to ask you another question. Could both surgeries be done close to each other or do I wait a period of time between both? Should I get liposuction first or does it matter? The chewing tobacco issue is still a work in progress but my ankle is hurting worse by the day and I need to get it fixed soon.

A: Quitting tobacco is a good idea regardless of any type of major surgery you are considering. The nicotine in tobacco has as very negative effect on bone healing, particularly in the lower extremity. Certainly these two surgeries can be spaced relatively close together (one to two week sapart) and the order is dependent on how one affects the other in terms of recovery. It is question of which one is going to make you more immobile and what type of physical therapy would be needed afterwards. I assume that the ankle surgery will put you in a boot/cast with some limitation of movement afterwards. it would make the most sense then to have the liposuction first and then the ankle surgery afterwards. There is also the issue of typical bacteremia (release of bacteria in the blood stream) which occurs after any surgery. With a load of bacteremia released from liposuction, you do not want that to adversely affect the ankle bone healing. (seed the healing bone with bacteria) This would also require input from your orthopedic surgeon to see his thoughts as well as on this issue.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana