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 19

Recovery From Liposuction

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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.


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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!


Time to Recover from Liposuction

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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.

Time off for recovery after liposuction

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This alot of liposuction to be performed and in all honesty you would be better off getting closer to your ideal body weight of 125 lbs prior to liposuction. However, I would generally advise at least 2 weeks off.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Liposuction results

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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
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lipo Recovery

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Liposuction can be one of the most painful but common and sought after procedures. The first 3 days are the toughest. You will feel numb, bruised, sore and possibly still a little “out of it” due to the meds. Generally we suggest to go back to work within 7-10 days but it might take up to 3-6 months for the patient to feel completely back to normal. Some patients can go back to work sooner- it really all depends on each persons healing process.

Keith S. Berman, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction on multiple areas

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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 Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Liposuction Recovery

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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.

Liposuction Recovery

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Thank you for your question.  It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.The first few days after surgery, you should rest quietly. If you can elevate the body part, it is usually suggested that you do so. Remember, you must not take Aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications. You most likely will wear a garment. If it is too tight, you should promptly notify your surgeon. During the first 48 hours following surgery, patients experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising. Although the vast majority of patients will have virtually no bruising, some patients will have bruising. Bruising typically disappears within 7 to 10 days. Stitches are usually removed within a week of surgery. Straining, bending over and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period. In many instances, you will be able to resume most of your normal activities within 10 days or less. Best of luck!Dhaval M. Patel Double board certified Plastic surgeon Hoffman Estates BarringtonOakbrook Chicago

Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 100 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.