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How Long Does Recovery from Liposuction Take?

hips, thighs, back of kneas, waist/lovehandles, and stomach area i weigh 150, and am 5'4" tall and am 23 yrs old

Doctor Answers 14

Recovery From Liposuction

I'm amazed at how naive some plastic surgeons are when they talk about liposuction.  The reality is that liposuction is the most painful cosmetic procedure performed.  I wish it wasn't but that's the truth.  The reason is that the cannulas are passed along the muscle fascia and through the fat layers many, many times.  And although this causes a neuropraxia or makes the sensory nerve to the skin go to sleep and be numb it still is a painful procedure.   Not intolerable but not fun for the first 3 days.

If the surgeons uses good technique and waits for the epinephrine in the tumescent to work, there really is only mild bruising and this is quite helpful.  The more bruising the more pain.  What is painful is muscular motion under the area of liposuction.  Pain results from changing from one position to another such as sitting to standing and lying to standing.  Most patients tell me that once they are moving it really isn't too bad.  

So the long and short of it is that you should plan on taking 7-10 days off.  After that you should be able to return to work but you'll have "discomfort" for weeks to come.  You probably won't feel normal till about 3 months after surgery.   And in the end the result will be worth the short term discomfort.

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I prefer that the patients stay at home for one week, then they can return to work. At one month, I allow them to start low-impact cardio. I like the patients to wear a compression garment for several months after surgery. You should begin to see that your clothing fits better at the one month visit. After that time, when you start diet and exercise, you will see results that you have never been able to see before. Typically by 3 months there are very nice contours, but the final results are not apparent until 6 months. You will have moderate discomfort for the first month.

Time to Recover from Liposuction

Here is the information I give my patients regarding the recovery process after liposuction. In general however young adults like yourself tend to recover faster than most.
As with all operations, pain and discomfort varies greatly from patient to patient. Generally, one should expect that pain medication will be required for the first few days. Continuing discomfort can last varying amounts of time.  Much of the swelling and bruising will be improved within two weeks; however, some will persist for six to eight weeks.  It is often difficult to see permanent changes in the body shape before this time.
Most patients are instructed to wear an elastic garment from four to six weeks to help with skin shrinkage. Your plastic surgeon will tell you how long you should wear your elastic garment. For patients with poor skin elasticity Endermologie treatments may be recommended.
Normal activity may be resumed at 1 to 2 weeks post operation.  In general, patients may return to office work 3-5 days after the operation, and 14 days for more active employment.  After the operation, exercises are recommended, such as walking immediately and progressive activities beginning on the 14th day, in order to minimize the adhesions between the skin and the deeper tissues. Walking, swimming, or a stationary bicycle can usually begin in a few days after surgery. Specific time periods for resumption of daily activities, work, and exercise with be further discussed by your surgeon post operation.
Early results are seen 10-14 days after surgery, but improvement continues for 4-6 months.  Persistent swelling and irregularities may be present for several months.  If antibiotics are prescribed, they should be taken as directed.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Liposuction Recovery Varies from Patient to Patient. We recommend Taking 1 Week Off from Work

Liposuction recovery varies from patient to patient. We generally recommend that patients take a week off from work following this procedure. Occasionally, patients are able to return to work even sooner. Patients usually resume all their normal activities within six weeks following surgery without restrictions.

We feel that exercise facilitates recovery and because of this, we encourage physical activity. Although swelling may still be present six weeks following surgery, the majority of patients have effectively returned to normal activity.  

Liposuction recovery

The final result can usually be assessed at 3-4 months, although it may take longer if you have a slower recovery rate. Follow your surgeon's post-care instructions closely to facilitate your recovery.


Although every patient is different, it is common to experience some discomfort for the first few weeks after liposuction but any discomfort or soreness should be well controlled with pain medications prescribed by your plastic surgeon.  There will also be visible swelling for a few weeks up to a few months.  The swelling will continue to decrease over time and your final result will be visible in 6 months to a year.  Most patients will also develop some bruising that could last for a few weeks as well.  How long the bruising lasts depends on your body’s ability to heal.  By far the longest part of the recovery process is wearing the compression garment that is placed immediately after surgery.  I recommend my patients wear their compression garment 24 hours a day for 6 weeks.  The compression garment helps the swelling resolve more quickly and also helps the skin retract to reduce the risk of sagging skin.  Unlike other surgeries liposuction will not affect your lifestyle as long as a tummy tuck would for example but you should be prepared to take it easy for a couple of weeks and avoid any strenuous activities.  Do not resume your normal physical activities without first being released to do so by your plastic surgeon.  Be sure to only research board certified plastic surgeons in your area then schedule a consultation for a thorough physical exam to confirm you are a candidate for liposuction.

Be well and good luck!


Liposuction Recovery

Liposuction recovery for the multiple areas you have mentioned will take several weeks.  The first week you will be sore but the pain medication will help.  You will be required to wear a compression garment for a month following surgery.  I ask my patients to avoid exercise for the first 10-14 day.  After that you can progress your activity gradually.  Begin with walking or riding a stationary bike.  You can progress to the elliptical or jogging after a month.

Younger patients like yourself seem to be more resilient and progress well after their procedure.  Follow the guidance of your surgeon give yourself time to heal.

Christopher J. Morea, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Liposuction results

Liposuction results take several months.  You have to give some time for the swelling to dissipate. This often takes 4 months or longer.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews


full and complete recovery can take several weeks; however, one can usually resume work, though may have pain and/or discomfort, within a few days, or sooner.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Liposuction on multiple areas

Recovery can take different time for different people depending on the amount of surgery. It may be safer to have separate surgeries and do liposuction on one or two areas than to try to get all done the same time for convenience. Multiple surgeries adds to the length of the procedure and may add to the risks of the procedure.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 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.