Knees and Ankles Liposuction?

My knee/ankle liposuction is next week. Two weeks after I'll be traveling and active. My surgeon is a renowned practitioner. He assured me that after 1 week any swelling thereafter will be minimal and smaller than my original size. He said that after 2 weeks I will be fully operational and for the most part, healed. I want to believe him but everywhere I look I see patients and doctors stating otherwise, citing 4-6 weeks or more for substantial recovery. I am slender/fit. Please, help?

Doctor Answers 7

Recovery after liposuction of the leg

The thing about liposuction, (as in any surgical procedure), is that there is an immediate surgical recovery and the long term recovery. Surgery creates an inflammatory response that is proportionate to the injury. There is no avoiding this. That said, you will likely be able to move about but you will need to be careful standing or having your legs dependent for too long a period of time. Your body needs time to re-establish the proper lymphatic flow and circulation especially in the lower part of the leg where It seems to take the longest. I recommend quiet daily activity for a month and using compression devices and pumps here. The results are often less than ideal in the ankle but if there are fat deposits, it can give subtle but nice results. It may take 6 months to a year to see the final outcome. Knees respond well to these procedures and return to activity is faster but the long term results still take time, 3 to 6 months at least. 

Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Recovery After Knee And Ankle Liposuction

While knee and ankle liposuction can be very effective, it most assuredly is not all going to be back to normal at just two weeks after surgery. Knee stiffness can persist for up to six weeks after surgery and most remnants of swelling will take 3 months or more to completely go away. Expecting to be very active, unrestricted and pain free at just two weeks after surgery would not be what I would advise for my patients.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Surgical Healing

Surgical healing to 100% takes one year.    Swelling after surgery is unpredictable.     Ankles and knees often are tender for 2 to 3 months and full recovery is one year.    Patients can walk immediately and do full exercise in 2 weeks but with some discomfort.  Advil is usually needed for 6 to 10 weeks.  Bruising can take 3 or more weeks to resolve    Full athletic ability and agility may take 4 to 6 weeks and usually longer. Pain will  still occur after 2 weeks and things will hurt on activity but you will not hurt yourself doing activity.  Ankles being far from the heart take the longest to reduce  in swelling.  Avoiding salt helps.  Support hose are advised for 4 to 10 weeks.   The heavier you are, the longer the recovery.    Many doctors self proclaim they are renowned as does their staff so proclaim about them.   The best doctors usually avoid such fluff.    Frankly I have no idea exactly what the term renowned means nor did 5 other doctors I polled.  I believe it means different things to different people on different days.  Good Luck,  My Best  Dr C.

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Liposuction of the knees and ankles

I think that you have every reason to be a bit skeptical about the healing timeframe that your surgeon has proposed. I would not expect your swelling to be resolved in such a short period of time. I would also be cautious about the idea of simply having liposuction of the knees and ankles to begin with. These are not areas that are easily treated and many plastic surgeons, myself included, rarely treat these areas because of the relative increase in complications. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Knee and ankle liposuction

I doubt very much that your swelling will go away completely in one week. The knees and ankles are notoriously areas that stay swollen the longest. More like 6 months or more.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling After Lipo

In my experience, your surgeon may be right re. the knees, but it takes 4-6 weeks for the ankles to go down due to the dependent nature of their location, especially if you plan on being active postop.  To minimize the edema(swelling) time, you should compress your ankles with whatever your surgeon uses(ace wraps, garments), elevate your legs as much as possible, avoid salt, and avoid vigorous activity.  Hope this helps.

Peter J. Simon, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Knee and Ankle Liposuction Recovery

    I do not typically even offer these areas due to general lack of fat in these areas and increased risk of contour irregularities.  However, ankles in particular are more likely to be swollen for longer, more so if you are on your feet and active.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 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.