Liposuction Recovery: Tips + What To Expect

By Lela Lankerani, MD June 20, 2017 12 Comments

liposuction recovery

Are you considering a liposuction procedure? If so, you may have questions regarding what to expect in regards to pain and recovery from the procedure.

It is important to note that your experience may differ greatly from other patients, as each individual varies in terms of their individual pain tolerance and recovery response. Additionally, there are various characteristics of the procedure that can influence recovery including the type of liposuction technique performed, the type of anesthesia used, the number and location of treated areas, and the amount of fat removed.

With those differences in mind, this article will give you an understanding of the average liposuction recovery, along with tips on making your recovery faster and easier.

Liposuction Recovery Timeline

2-3 Days Following Surgery: During this period patients typically experience moderate pain and discomfort, which can be managed through pain medication. Most patients will need to wear compression garments which will limit their mobility. Patients are encouraged to limit unnecessary physical activity.

1-2 Weeks Following Surgery: Pain and discomfort may continue to persist, but becomes lesser with time. Most patients will be able to return to work as long as they refrain from any form of strenuous activity. Compression garments will continue to be used and incisions and fluid drainage should be regularly monitored.

2-5 Weeks Following Surgery: Pain should be fully subsided and results start to become visible. However treated areas may still exhibit swelling and bruising. All incisions should be fully healed. Most patients can begin light to moderate exercise after week 3, however high impact exercises should continue to be avoided.

6 Weeks Following Surgery: Most post-liposuction swelling and bruising should be resolved, enabling the patient to see the result of their procedure. Compression garments will no longer need to be worn and all forms of physical activities can be resumed.

Tips For A Speedy Liposuction Recovery

Follow All Post-Procedure Instructions: Following all post-procedure care instructions provided to them by their physician is the most important thing a liposuction patient can do during their recovery. This includes attending any recommended follow-up appointments.

Avoid Blood Thinning Drugs: Refrain from using ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other blood thinning drugs in order to decrease the risks of unnecessary swelling or bleeding. Caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes should also be avoided.

Rest: Like all surgeries, rest is the most needed ingredient for the body to heal. Clear your schedule for the weeks following your procedure to allow for plenty of rest and relaxation. So don’t feel bad for lounging around and make sure to get plenty of sleep following your procedure.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water post-procedure is critical.  Proper hydration aids the body during its healing process.

Proper Diet: Healing requires proper nutrition. Following liposuction, patients should eat a well-balanced diet and limit their consumption of salts, sugars, and saturated fats. Foods including salmon, berries, and green tea are full of healthy vitamins and antioxidants which can help boost the body’s recovery.

An Apple a Day: Reduce post-procedure swelling and bruising by eating apples or pineapples during your recovery. Both fruits are naturally high in bromelain and quercetin, which contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Light Exercise: While patients should refrain from intensive exercise during the initial weeks following their procedure, some light exercises such as going on short walks can speed up the body’s healing process. Make sure to follow any physician provided guidance and don’t overdo it!

Lymphatic Massage: Undergoing weekly lymphatic draining massages (a gentle massage technique focused on releasing pent up toxins in the lymph nodes) after liposuction has been shown to decrease recovery time while minimizing pain and discomfort suffered by the patient. Lymphatic massage can also boost a patient’s immunity, which can prevent infection.

Aromatherapy: Some patients may feel the effects of depression during their recovery. Patients should try aromatherapy (especially using grapefruit or peppermint essential oils) to lift their mood.

Compression Garments: While uncomfortable at times, the use of compression garments can be essential to properly recovering from liposuction. Most patients will be advised to wear a compression garment, which can reduce pain and discomfort, aid in the draining of fluids, and protect incision sites.

Avoid Pools: Avoid swimming or taking a bath during the full duration of your recovery as soaking the treated area(s) can increase the risk of infection and slow down the body’s healing processes.

 


Lela Lankerani, MD

Lela Lankerani D.O. received her undergraduate degree in Biology at Washington University where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Lankerani has published articles in several scientific journals and has presented at national scholarly meetings including the American Academy of Dermatology and American Osteopathic Academy of Dermatology.


12 Responses to “Liposuction Recovery: Tips + What To Expect”

  1. Bethel says:

    My sister is preparing to have liposuction done sometime soon. I am really glad to hear that the recovery goes really smoothly. She has been really excited for this procedure and I can’t wait to see the results.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you so much for showing me what it takes to recover from a liposuction surgery. Recently, my friend has lost a ton of weight from cutting back on his food intake and exercising every single day. Because of that, he has a lot of excess skin and fat that needs to be removed. I think that this information would be really beneficial to him because the recovery could take up to 6 weeks, just like you mentioned; however, he can start to do most things around the home pretty quickly. Thanks again for all the information, and I will make sure that he knows more about this!

  3. Roger says:

    My wife is wanting to lose weight very quickly and we’d heard about liposuction and how nice it can be. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to stay hydrated and get a lot of rest to make the healing process go by quickly. We’ll have to start looking around for a professional that can handle liposuction, and I’ll be making sure she gets plenty of rest and is hydrated along the way.

  4. Aleshire says:

    It was nice to know that it is only after six weeks after the surgery that the results of the liposuction treatment will be seen and normal activities can be resumed. My surgery is next week (in Atlanta) and I was getting really nervous but this made me feel better

  5. Bethany says:

    I like how you mentioned that you should be close to your weight goal before getting liposuction. I totally did not know that! I was wondering what other resources you have for lipo? Can you send me more info to review

  6. Gary says:

    It’s good to know that it can take 6 weeks to completely recovery from liposuction. I’m sure the first couple of weeks will be the hardest though, like you said. You should definitely make sure you take it easy during that time.

  7. Heidi says:

    A friend of mine is going in for her first liposuction treatment next week. We don’t know anyone who’s done this before, so we aren’t sure what to expect at all. I appreciate the information in this article, it’s good to know to avoid blood-thinning drugs and caffeine after the procedure.

  8. Taylor says:

    I’ve been trying to lose weight, but I haven’t lost much mass. Because of this, I’ve been thinking about getting liposuction. It’s interesting that liposuction can take 1-2 weeks to stop aching. Where can I learn more about liposuction and it’s pros and cons?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Taylor, Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question! You can find more info on liposuction at this page (https://www.westlakedermatology.com/cosmetic-procedures/plastic-surgery/liposuction-austin-tx/) as well as on our blog (https://www.westlakedermatology.com/category/liposuction/).

      Hope that helps!

      WD Staff

      • Orla says:

        Hey I was also not aware of this as I thought the procedure was to be done if you were carrying extra weight so I’m confused why it suggests you to be at an ideal weight for procedure

        Thankyou

        • WD Staff WD Staff says:

          Hi Orla,

          Thanks for reading out post and submitting your question! Just to clarify, we always recommend perspective liposuction patients to have an in-person consultation to determine candidacy. I just want to make sure readers are not dissuaded from the procedure from reading this post. An in-person consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist is the only way to know if Lipo truly is for you!

          Basically, liposuction is not a weight loss treatment. It’s a body contouring procedure that is dedicated to addressing isolated pockets of fat and shaping (contouring) the silhouette. Depending on specific needs and characteristics of the patient, doctors may recommend a weight loss program prior to a lipo procedure. That recommendation can differ from patient to patient (which is why the in-person consultation is very necessary).

          We hope that helps!

          Thanks,
          WD Staff

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