When you’re considering liposuction, you’re most likely envisioning a newly sculpted body, free of that stubborn fat that just won’t seem to go away with a nutritious diet and regular exercise regimen. Typically, patients forget to think about the recovery process, yet it plays a vital role in the overall outcome. Caring for your body as directed by your surgeon in the weeks following surgery can help achieve your desired results. Failure to do so can have negative consequences. 

Most surgeons will offer similar advice during recovery, which can last up to one month. They’ll suggest you eat a nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables. This can support healing and minimize inflammation. It may be best practice to prepare healthy meals ahead of your operation date to ensure you have them on hand. Hydration and rest are keys to a successful recovery. It’s also recommended to take part in light movement, such as short walks around the house, and get help from family and friends. For the first few days, you’ll need assistance cleaning, cooking, and caring for children. 


Immediately Post-Surgery

The amount of fat being removed will determine whether the procedure is in- or outpatient. Typically, it’s the latter—meaning patients can go home the same day. You’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home, and will be wearing a compression garment or bandage around the treatment area. It’s probable you’ll also be feeling the effects of anesthesia or pain medication for a few hours after surgery. You may feel slight pain and soreness, so it’s important your caretaker fills the pain medication prescription your surgeon prescribes. It’s crucial you rest and allow your care team to perform regular household tasks. 


Several Days After Surgery

Your plastic surgeon will typically ask that you set up a post-op appointment to review the results and decide whether you need to continue using compression garments. It’s important to wear them until your surgeon says otherwise, to reduce swelling. In the days following, you’ll continue to feel mild to moderate pain, which should dissipate with prescribed medication. Continue to limit your activity and rest. 


One to Three Weeks Post-Op

After approximately one to two weeks, you should feel a reduction in pain and soreness. In two weeks, some patients can return to work, but it’s best to get prior approval from your surgeon. If your job involves heavy lifting or much physical labor, you may want to take additional weeks off. Depending on your recovery, your surgeon may suggest you continue wearing your bandages. 


One Month & Beyond 

Pain and soreness should disappear in about one month. However, you may still experience slight swelling. Although this may last for a few more weeks, you should also begin seeing results. At this time, you can get back to the gym for some light exercise such as walking. Don’t lift heavy weights. Approximately one and a half months post-op, the bruising and swelling should have reduced significantly. Your surgeon will most likely have approved you to remove your compression garments, for good. At this point, you should see full visible results of your procedure and go back to everyday activities, including heavy lifting at the gym. 


This is a loose liposuction recovery timeline, but every patient and healing process is different. Age, health, and medical history can play a large role in determining the total duration. Your plastic surgeon can provide a more detailed outline of what to expect. Remember to inquire  about the recovery process at your initial consultation.

For more information about liposuction prep and recovery, check out our blog here

Dr. Anthony Buglino at Woodbury’s Buglino Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery will describe the pre-care, procedure, and post-op recovery to help you understand the entire process. For more information about liposuction, call (516) 864-0700 or schedule a consultation online.

Topics: Body Contouring, Liposuction