Liposuction Recovery

I'm thinking about liposuction but I need more info. about the recovery.  How much time is usually enough for liposuction recovery? Do most people see days, weeks or months of downtime after lipo?

Doctor Answers 65

Recovery ranges from 3-7 days for most, but it can vary

I generaly recommend that my patients take between 3-7 days off after liposuction, depending on how many areas were worked on, and your pain tolerance.  It can certainly vary, I've had people take off only 1 day, and others have needed almost 2 weeks to recover enough to return to work.  Anticipate that you're going to be sore, and require some pain medications for a period of time after surgery.


Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Liposuction Downtime

For most individuals I recommend they take about a week off of work. For patients having small amounts of liposuction they may only need 2-3 days. Swelling usually starts to go away in earnest at about 7-10 days after surgery and patients look good in clothes by this time. As far as strenuous activity is concerned, I usually recommend that patients start to ramp up into their prior workout routine at about two weeks - being careful not to cause discomfort. For most patients I find that they are back to full speed by 4-6 weeks after surgery even though their swelling will be reducing for probably 3-5 months. Bruising is rarely an issue after two weeks following surgery. Best of Luck

Jon F. Harrell, DO
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Recovery from liposuction

When done with tumescent anesthesia using long acting anesthetics, liposuction is a very well tolerated procedure and pain is just not a concern.

What is required is using a compressive garment with compression pads to keep the skin splinted in place so it heals nice and smooth. I tell my patients to stay off work a week when multiple areas of lipo are done.

Check out the video below for some info on lipo techniques, and the web link for the importance of compression after surgery.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Liposuction recovery

Every patient is a little different, but most patients see some limited bruising for about 1-2 weeks. Most of my patients take pain medication for only 2-3 days and then are just sore for 10-14 days. There are usually some areas of residual tenderness even for up to several months, but this is usually very mild and not bothersome. The swelling is decreased significantly by 3 weeks but may take 3-6 months to completely resolve. I would recommend taking about 1 week off of work and start back to an exercise routine about 2-3 weeks after surgery.

William T. Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Liposuction and Recovery

The amount of time you need to recover would depend on how many of areas of liposuction you are having done. I would suggest taking at least a week off from work to recover and if you are feeling up to it you can always return to work earlier. Keep in mind that the more active you are will increase the amount of swelling and time before you will see your final cosmetic result.

Bernard A. Shuster, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Liposuction recovery

Typically, after a liposuction procedure patients will require pain medicine for 2-3 days, and will take 3-4 days off of work.  The number of areas treated will also be a factor.  Most plastic surgeons recommend the use of compression garments for a number of weeks.  The garments are easily concealed under clothing.  Bruising and swelling can be present for 4-6 weeks, and it takes anywhere from 6-9 months for the skin to contract completely in most cases. 

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Recovery from liposuction

Some patients are back to work in a couple of days and at the gym in a week while others may wish to take off for several days and feel sore, especially with movement and exercise, for several weeks. Tenderness is typical for a few weeks but it is tolerable. External compression garments usually make this more comfortable, external ultrasound massages can also help.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Down Time After Liposuction

The truth be known that liposuction HURTS!! Okay it's not crippling but for the first 3 days you'll hate your surgeon. Most patients complain that it's a soreness when going from a resting position to one of motion. This will last for several weeks. So how long do you need to be out of work? My educated experience is 2 weeks is enough depending on the job that you do. Overall, the soreness may take up to 6 weeks to resolve.

Liposuction recovery. limitations and restrictions

It really depends on how much you have done.

The more you do, the longer the recovery.

Liposuction of the chin can result in almost immediate recovery with perhaps a few days of compression wear depending on the bruising.

Liposuction of the abdomen, hips, flanks and thighs can result in extensive bruising with nearly 2 weeks of downtime and 3 weeks of compression wear and tenderness for 3 months in the treatment areas.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Liposuction recovery

For the most part, recovery from liposuction is easily manageable. Since clothing can conceal areas that have been sculpted, most patients are back at work after just a couple of days. You will just need to wear a tight-fitting elastic compression garment during your first week to help the skin adhere. At a week to 10 days, you can remove the garment to shower, though you'll likely have to wear it for an additional week.

Lipo is great for instant-gratification seekers, but don't fret if you still see imperfections in your shape several weeks later. It can take 4 months, even a year, to get an accurate picture of how the body will look once the swelling subsides and everything settles into place. Lipo patients who started out especially overweight will have to bide their time before realizing their dream results, because it takes several weeks for skin to redrape over the new area and for tissue to heal completely.

Michelle Copeland, MD, DMD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.