Recovering from Liposuction

Can you give me an idea of what to expect during my liposuction recovery period?

Doctor Answers 13

Liposuction Recovery

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Most patients have a relatively mild and uneventful recovery. I perform most of my Liposuction under general anesthesia. When the patient wake up, the liposuction sites are numb because in most cases I use tumescent fluid which contains a small amout of a local anesthetic, (Lidocaine). The patient also has a garment on providing gentle pressure on the liposuction sites. About one to two hours after the surgery the local anesthetic wears off. You may then feel a bit more discomfort. Most people say this feels like a sore muscle. The soreness tends to be the worst for the first 3-4 days, and just like a sore muscle slowly resolves, (usually within a week). The overlying skin may have some longer term numbness often lasting a few weeks. Most people with non-strenuous jobs can return to work in about 1/2 to one week after the surgery.

During the surgery we put on a relatively firm compression garment. After a week or so I tell patients that they can switch to softer more comfortable compression garments. I often encourage the patient to wear some of the athletic clothing which is snug, firm and relatively comfortable. I ask the patient to wear support garments for three weeks after the surgery if they can, and I prefer they wear these garments up to six weeks of possible.

Most people see a contour improvement very soon after the liposuction procedure, but the tissues are swollen after the surgery. It may take up to three of four months or even longer to see the final result.

Most importantly, see a board certified plastic surgeon with a good reputation who performs liposuction on a regular basis. Not everyone is a good candidate for Liposuction. Your surgeon can determine if liposuction is indeed the correct surgery for you.

Sarasota Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction can be done as a day case. You will wear a...

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Liposuction can be done as a day case.

  • You will wear a garment for the next 6 weeks after the operation and you will be a little bruised for approximately two weeks.
  • Post-operative massage of the area smoothes it and gets rid of the swelling sooner. The final result is apparent at three to six months.
  • A good diet with vitamin supplements is essential for all wound healing.

Barbara Jemec, MD, FRCS(Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon

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

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Information about Liposuction Recovery

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Here is the information I give my patients regarding the recovery process after liposuction.

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.

Your liposuction recovery will depend on several variables

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Hi there-

The recovery you experience after your liposuction procedure will depend on the area(s) treated, your individual pain tolerance, and the details (read quality) of your postoperative care.

Most patients describe liposuction discomfort as the feeling of muscle soreness- achy and crampy- like you worked out too hard the day before.

Please not that of the variables I listed above, the quality of your postoperative care is going to make the greatest difference in what you experience.

A Board Certified Plastic Surgeon spends YEARS learning not only how to safely and effectively perform liposuction surgery (and ALL liposuction IS surgery, by the way), but also learning how to take care of liposuction patients after the procedure.

There can be no question that this years-long training experience benefits our patients- in the form of a more safely delivered surgery, with a more pleasing aesthetic outcome, and a more comfortable and PREDICTABLE recovery period.

It is impossible for any reasonable person to believe that an eye doctor or gynecologist could offer you the same level of safety, outcome, or recovery after a few weeks of training not by other Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, but by some salesman.

Please also note that in the variables I listed that would affect your recovery, I DID NOT list the machine your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon uses. If you choose a well-trained Plastic Surgeon for your liposuction procedure, the machine does not matter. It's the carpenter, not his tools.

For more about the importance of choosing your liposuction surgeon carefully, please follow the link below:

Liposuction recovery faster with pure tumescent liposuction technique

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It is well known that the general anesthesia utilized in traditional plastic surgery liposuction approach may significantly prolong the recovery process. With a pure tumescent liposuction approach under local sedation, without general anesthesia, there will be much quicker liposuction recovery and most should be able to get some chores done with compression garment worn in few days.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Liposuction recovery

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Liposuction recovery is fairly easy as compared to other surgeries. Most patients can go back to routine acitivties within a few days. The bruising will probably last a week or two and the majority of swelling will dissipate in a few weeks.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Liposuction recovery

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Immediately after liposuction, you will be in a compression garment, there might be some drains put in, expect large volume of drainage if you have large liposuction volume.

Expect swelling, some pain, and discomfort.which gradually gets better with time.

Bruising can be severe. It takes 6-12 weeks for the tissue to feel soft, pliable, and non tender.

Then you will love it.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction Recovery

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You will be sore and have swelling. You may or may not have some bruising which is normal. You will have to wear a compression garment which will help contour the area and decrease the swelling.

After about 6 weeks you can do away with the compression and your swelling will decrease over time all the way up to 4 months. Your final results will be apparent at about 4 months time.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Liposuction recovery review

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After liposuction, you may or may not have bruising depend on the technique used. There will be swelling and you will most likely have some form of compression on the treated area. You shouldnot have extreme pain, but the area will be sore. there will be tiny incisions which may or may not have stitches to be removed. The first night, there may be a large amount of fluid coming out, so protect you bed with a towel or a shower curtain

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.