Liposuction Recovery Timeline: What to Expect

Liposuction removes unwanted fat to slim and sculpt the body. However, like any surgery, the procedure involves a bit of recovery time. When you’re excited to see results, those weeks of waiting can feel especially long. With a bit of research and planning, you can learn how to support your body and make your recovery as smooth as possible.

Before undergoing liposuction, it’s good to know what to expect from the recovery process.

Recovery from Liposuction

The day of surgery

Liposuction is typically an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day. After your cosmetic surgery, you will need someone to drive you home when you’re cleared to leave. You will be sore and likely feeling residual effects of the anesthesia or pain medication, so it’s not safe to operate a vehicle.

The first three days

Normally, our board-certified plastic surgeons will provide you with a compression garment or elastic bandages to wrap around the treatment areas. It’s important to wear these diligently, as they help to reduce swelling and contour your body to its new shape. Your surgeon will follow your recovery process closely and instruct you how to use these garments throughout the process.

You may also have small drains placed at the surgical sites. These prevent fluid from building up around the incisions, which can slow down the healing process. If you have these drains, your surgeon will tell you exactly how to care for them and how long you will have them in.

During the first few days of recovery, you can expect moderate pain and soreness. Our surgeons provide you with pain medication to make this discomfort manageable, so follow your medication schedule closely. You should plan to limit your activity during this time as well. Your compression garments may restrict your movements some, but it’s also important to limit unnecessary activity when possible. It’s recommended that you enlist help around the house for these few days, especially if you have young children.

Weeks 1-5

After the initial few days of total rest and moderate pain, you will likely notice a significant reduction in pain and soreness in the week or two following your procedure. Many people can return to work after two weeks, but if you have a particularly physical or demanding job, you may want to schedule additional time off to recover more fully. You will still be required to wear your compression garments during this time as well.

Your surgeon will require you to attend a follow up appointment one week after surgery. They will monitor your incisions and provide further post-operative care instructions at this time.

Around the one-month mark is when patients typically no longer feel pain or soreness. You may still see swelling, but this is normal. Swelling can take months to completely subside. At this point, you will likely begin to see visible results as well. Keep in mind that your results will improve as the swelling and bruising continue to heal. After about four weeks, most people are able to resume light exercise, but any heavy or strenuous activity should still be avoided! Everybody is different and your recovery process is unique to you, so it is important to always speak with your plastic surgeon and follow their post-surgery instructions.

Week 6 and beyond

The six-week mark is where most of the bruising and swelling should have subsided, but lingering swelling can last a bit longer for some. You will likely no longer need your compression garments at this point, and your activity levels will no longer be restricted unless otherwise ordered by your surgeon.

Patients can expect see final results between 6-12 months after surgery. It is imperative that patients follow surgeons post-operative instructions, as well as attend all follow up appointments to ensure optimal results.  Learn more about how you can improve your recovery speed and results below!

Recovery tips

You should not try to rush your recovery, but there are certain things you can do to help your body’s natural healing process.

Eat well

Even if you’re healthy, surgery is tough on your body. Proper healing requires good nutrition. You can prep healthy meals ahead of your surgery since you likely won’t feel like cooking. Be sure to eat well and eat regularly. Include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in your diet to help boost recovery and limit inflammation.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of broth and water post-procedure. Hydration is a key component of successful recovery. You can infuse your water with fresh fruit if you need a change.

Rest up

Taking it easy and getting plenty of sleep in the first few weeks following your surgery are the best ways to help your body heal.

Take a walk

While exercise is not recommended during your recovery, light movement can help to speed your body’s healing. If you feel up to it, taking short walks is a great way to get moving without straining your body.

Ask for help

When possible, you should ask for a friend or family member to help you with activities such as cleaning, caring for young children or running errands. You likely won’t be able to pick up your children for a few weeks following surgery and having a full schedule of errands will wear you down.

Liposuction can be life-changing for many people. It can be a great way to boost your confidence and help you to feel happier with your appearance. Knowing what to expect during the recovery can help you make a better-informed decision to undergo liposuction and enjoy the journey to a slimmer, more contoured body. If you are considering a liposuction procedure, call (512) 244-1444 to schedule your complimentary consultation with Synergy Plastic Surgery today!

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