Liposuction Recovery: Tips + What To Expect
Are you considering a liposuction procedure? If so, you may have questions regarding how long it takes to recover from liposuction.
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 Time
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.
Video: Real Liposuction Recovery VLOG
Liposuction Recovery Tips
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.
Additional Resources Regarding Liposuction Recovery
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons
- RealSelf.com liposuction recovery forum
- American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
- RealSelf Q&A Thread
- Great blog post on lipo recovery by Cleverly Catheryn