Liposuction Recovery: Time, Timeline & Tips on Abdominal, Chin, Neck, Stomach, Arm, Thighs, Legs, Flank.. | Liposuction Surgery Recovery Guide 2024

At a Glance:

  • As you would expect, liposuction, even the laser-assisted lipo requires a set period for a full recovery. We will be discussing the liposuction procedure, specifically, as well as the time it takes for one to recover from this cosmetic procedure.
  • What should you expect during the first 24 hours after the operation? How about the next couple of weeks? Knowing what to expect during the recovery period will help ease your mind through the healing process.
  • We will also go through some critical considerations in regards to the necessary steps to ensure proper healing and avoid unnecessary side effects.

Liposuction or lipoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that requires a minimally invasive procedure to accomplish. That alone can give you an idea that the recovery period will not take as long as you initially think it would.

This cosmetic procedure is designed to remove excess fat from specific parts of the body using an exceptionally thin tube called the cannula. This tube will be inserted into that particular body part; the tube is connected to a machine that will extract excess fat from the body.

Among the biggest questions with this procedure is with its recovery period. How long will it take for the patient who underwent this cosmetic surgery to be back to 100% again? These are the questions that we will be tackling down below.

Liposuction Recovery

After the liposuction procedure, the client will then be transferred to the recovery room. They will then be fitted with a compression garment which is personalized to their body measurements beforehand. Clients can expect to be discharged from the clinic after an hour or so.

Laser-assisted liposuction, such as the one offered by Sono Bello, is also available for those who cannot afford the one-month recovery period of traditional liposuction surgery as patients will be near 100% at around the two weeks mark. Laser liposuction procedures include the use of laser lipolysis which helps the skin regain its taut appearance.

There is also a procedure called VASER Lipo which uses ultrasonic energy to break down fat cells in the body. VASER stands for Vibration Amplification Sound Energy at Resonance. VASER is another alternative for those who prefer minimally-invasive and non-surgical cosmetic procedures to obtain the body shape they desire.

Make sure to undergo the proper evaluation and inquire specific details to avoid reported side effect after the operation. Remember to follow the surgeon’s post-op recovery instructions to the letter to avoid such problems from emerging. Now then, let us go through the different stages of liposuction recovery so that you can prepare and know what to expect after the procedure.

Recovery Time

Depending on the degree of cosmetic surgery performed, the average liposuction recovery period is around two weeks. If the healing process goes smoothly, most patients can resume most of their regular physical activities in two weeks. However, surgeons might still require you to wear a compression garment for the next two months in order to further facilitate the healing process, alleviate any remaining swelling, and improve your overall comfort.

The recovery period for liposuction procedures might differ for each individual, but by following instructions given by the surgeon you can help improve the rate of healing and optimize results. Some side effects of liposuction that cannot be avoided during the healing process include swelling, soreness, and traces of bruising around the operated area. Surgeons will also prescribe you with antibiotics to help prevent infections that might occur during the healing process.

It is possible to expect full recovery from liposuction in as little as over a month, but surgeons would advise against performing physically demanding activities for the next six months or so, in order for your body to adjust properly with the changes.

Typical Milestones:

Days 1 – 2

The first couple of days after the procedure is widely considered to be quite rough as the local anesthetic will completely wear off at this point. This is also true for patients who underwent a tumescent liposuction procedure. A level of discomfort will be experienced; it is often recommended that patients take pain relief to make the acute pain manageable.

The dressing on the surgery area must be replaced regularly to ensure that no infection will occur. The first two days will also see severe drainage, but bleeding is generally at the minimum. It is also crucial for the compression garment to be worn during the first 48 hours to maximize the surgery’s results.

Days 3 – 14

At the fourth day, drainage is expected to stop completely. The compression garment’s necessity will also be lessened. After a week (7 days in), the patient can switch to second stage compression garment, which is considerably looser and more comfortable.

It is also recommended to do a follow-up checkup a week after liposuction for the doctors to better evaluate the rate of your recovery. Patients can also return to their work as long as it is not physically taxing.

Days 15 – 28

Half a month in, the surgical incisions should have fully healed. Any inflammation will also visibly subside during this period. Usually, patients can resume light to moderate exercise during this recovery period, but it is best to consult with your doctor before restarting your workout routine.

Days 29 and beyond

A month after the cosmetic procedure, inflammation would have subsided entirely. This is also the stage wherein the phlegmonous subacute healing phase begins. The patient will also be able to handle an increased tolerance for physical activities, but it is best not to push yourself too far. Within six months, the results of the body contouring procedure will become highly visible.

Recovery Tips & Considerations

To optimize recovery and skirt around complications, it is best to be pro-active and take all necessary steps to ensure liposuction recovery goes as smoothly as possible. Here are some tips you can apply in your daily routine to help improve the rate of healing and maximize final results.

Develop a Healthy Diet

Eating healthy is the core factor in ensuring that your body recovers smoothly and quickly. This holds true with liposuction recovery. A good and healthy diet not only hastens the healing phase, but it can also reduce swelling significantly.

Create a diet plan that includes a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that can boost your body’s recovery.  Some of the golden rules to remember when formulating a healthy diet for the liposuction recovery time are:

Reduce sodium intake. Sodium can leave your body dehydrated, which can exacerbate inflammation.

Consume more protein-rich food. Protein helps speed up the body’s healing capability.

Lessen your sugar intake as it can dampen the body’s immune system.

Include fruits such as strawberry, grapefruits, watermelon, and celery into your diet.

Eat small snacks throughout the day rather than one big meal two times a day.

As long as you keep in mind the guidelines above, you can further improve your body’s recovery after liposuction surgery.

Avoid Being Sedentary During the Recovery Period

While rest is crucial during the first 24 hours after the operation, keep in mind that physical inactivity onwards after the first day can lead to complications. Keep your body moving throughout the recovery period. This does not mean you will need to exercise from the get-go; you should take it slow and opt for light walks around the house or outside.

Any exercise that is considered to be physically exhaustive should be reintroduced weeks later into the recovery period. Check with your cosmetic surgeon on what physical activities are allowed during the recovery period.

Clean the Area and Replace Bandages Regularly

Always make sure that area is well-cleaned. This is rule #1 for avoiding infections, which is something you need to avoid at all cost. It is also important to note that you should avoid cleaning the area with regular tap water over the next couple of weeks.

Skip Bathtubs for Now

Soaking in water can affect the skin’s elasticity, which in turn can slow down the healing process. Soaking in the bathtub during liposuction recovery can also increase the risk of infection. For the time being, use sponge baths to clean yourself.

Always Keep Your Body Hydrated

Typically, you would want to drink around eight glasses of water a day, but if you underwent liposuction, it is advisable to increase that number up to 12. You can alternatively drink skim milk, fruit juice (diluted), and tea. However, avoid drinking Gatorade as it contains high amounts of sodium.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Make sure that you only wear loose and comfortable clothes during the recovery period. Avoid clothes that have fabrics that can cause irritation or chaff on the skin. Go for soft cotton clothes throughout the recovery period.

Take Advantage of Lymphatic Massages

This type of massage is designed to flush the body of toxins. Cosmetic surgeons highly recommend it as it can significantly reduce the recovery period and can help alleviate and pain and discomfort. If you are planning on using lymphatic massages, it is best to schedule it weekly throughout the recovery period.

Follow the Instructions Given by Your Doctor

The doctor will give you some post-operation care guidelines. Remember to follow said instructions to the letter to ensure that your body heals uninterrupted. For example, the compression garment that will be given to the patient must be worn for as long as the doctor deems necessary. While it might cause discomfort, it will enhance the surgery’s overall result.

Medications must also be taken as instructed by the surgeon. If you wish to add some supplements in there, it is best to first consult with your doctor to ensure it won’t interact negatively with your post-care medications.

Schedule Regular Check-Ups with Your Surgeon

Always schedule for follow up appointments after an operation. With this, your doctor can follow your recovery progress and make proper adjustments based on the rate of your healing.

The Bottom Line

Body contouring and liposuction may be not as invasive as other cosmetic surgical procedures, but that does not mean you should be lax when it comes to post-operation care. For those interested in undergoing liposuction, please note that this is not an alternative to weight loss. You will need to put in the work and develop a healthy lifestyle if you wish to retain the results of this procedure. As long as you follow all of your post-operation recovery instructions and take proper care of your body, you will have long-lasting positive results.

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