Your Journey to Recovery After Lipo

Liposuction is one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures. In 2018, plastic surgeons performed a quarter million liposuction procedures in the United States alone. The procedure is designed to remove stubborn fat from areas of the body that have not responded to exercise and dietary changes.

Liposuction is a major surgical procedure that should be performed by a licensed plastic surgeon at a reputable medical facility for the best results. In addition to preparing for the surgery, knowing what to expect after the procedure can help the patient recover faster. Here are a few liposuction aspects and considerations before going under the knife.


An in-person consultation is significant for the patient because it gives them a chance to get a detailed explanation of the surgery. The plastic surgeon also gets the opportunity to show the client what to expect after the surgery and liposuction recovery period.

Recovery Is Different for Everybody

All bodies are unique, and they all heal in the same manner. Some patients have a lower pain threshold than others, while some heal faster than others so take your recovery journey as a unique one handling each challenge as it comes.

The Recovery Process

Liposuction is usually an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home after surgery as soon as the anesthesia wears off and you are comfortable to be moved. Your doctor may want to keep you overnight if you have any unforeseen complications or if your procedure involves the removal of large amounts of fat from the body.

First 72 hours

After you get home from the hospital, your doctor will advise you to rest most of the time. Most doctors will help you put on a compression garment and may attach drains to help drain excess fluid. You will also get instructions on how to care for your incision sites.

You should expect some swelling, bruising, discomfort, and pain in the first few days. You get an assortment of medications to help you manage the pain.

Week One to Week Two

After the first few days, you will notice the swelling or bruising going down gradually, and the pain will have lessened. You will also be able to move around more and maybe take a bath.

Week Three to Week Six

After three weeks, you will notice the pain lessen or come to an end, and much of the swelling will have dissipated. You will be able to do your daily activities like walking and even making yourself a meal. By the time six weeks have ended, you will be able to engage in mild exercise and maybe even go back to work.

How to Improve Your Liposuction Recovery Journey

There are a few things you can do to improve your recovery journey, including:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Keep the incision sites clean
  • Stay active
  • Wear compression garments
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Take medication on time
  • Follow the doctor’s instructions

Liposuction Recovery Q&A

How long does liposuction take to heal?

Most liposuction procedures heal in six weeks, after which people return to work.

What happens during a liposuction procedure?

The patient is usually put under anesthesia which can be general or local. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will make incisions in the skin, insert a tool (cannula) attached to a suction machine into the fat pocket, and start extracting the fat. Depending on the liposuction technique, the plastic surgeon may use a medicated solution to loosen the fat before extraction.

Does liposuction leave a scar?

Liposuction can leave different sizes of scars depending on which part of the body it is done. The scar will also be different if you get another type of surgery done simultaneously. For example, some people get a tummy tuck with abdominal liposuction, which leaves a scar along the bikini line. Consult with your plastic surgeon on the possible scarring from your liposuction procedure.

Does liposuction hurt?

Patients will experience some level of pain after the surgery, depending on their pain tolerance levels. Your doctor will prescribe nerve blockers and a pain relieving medication to help ease the first few days of recovery, which are usually the hardest.

Does a drainage massage help improve liposuction results?

If your doctor does not attach drains to your incision sights, a drainage massage every few days may help express any fluid buildup after the surgery. Despite the benefits of a drainage massage, it is important to always consult your plastic surgeon on the best course of action beforehand.

Can I exercise after liposuction?

Exercise after plastic surgery is healthy and often called for as long as the incision sights have healed, and you do not experience any pain while moving. Just remember to take it easy and ease back into your training routine gradually. Consult your board-certified plastic surgeon if you experience pain after the first three months of recovery.

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