Recovery after Liposuction Surgery

Recovery after Liposuction Surgery – Timeline and Top Tips by Dr Scott Turner Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction can remove excess fat permanently from targeted areas of the body. Through this procedure, you’ll be able to reduce fat from areas that cannot be lost through exercise and diet plans. This technique should not be taken as an alternative for weight loss but it should be seen as a method of removing stubborn fat pockets. With this procedure, you can remove persistent unwanted fat present in the abdomen, cheeks, arms, thighs, buttocks, neck, back, calves, and ankles. This procedure is also performed in combination with different breast and body surgeries for more comprehensive results.

Dr Scott Turner is a specialist plastic surgeon in Newcastle and Sydney NSW – find out more about his tips for recovery after liposuction.

Preparing for your Liposuction procedure

You can best prepare for liposuction by following these steps

  • Research the procedure online and read the Liposuction guide.
  • Choose the best Liposuction surgeon.
  • Plan the date in advance and secure time off from work.
  • Prepare your recovery room.
  • Get any medical evaluations done.
  • Consult with Dr. Turner about your current medications that might need to be adjusted.
  • Stop taking aspirin and blood-thinning medications.
  • Abstain from eating and drinking 8 hours before the procedure.
  • Shower the night before or the morning of the procedure.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes.
  • Arrange for someone to transport you home.

Timeline for Recovery after Liposuction

Liposuction recovery time will depend upon the site of treatment and the amount of fat that needs to be removed. Generally, most people will be able to go home the same day after the completion of the procedure, however, if the treated area and amount of fat removed are extensive, you might have to stay at the hospital overnight for observation.

You will need someone to transport you home as the effects of the anaesthesia may make it dangerous for you to drive a vehicle. You may feel groggy or dizzy after the procedure.

A – First three days after Surgery

During the initial three days after surgery, you may experience moderate pain and swelling. Pain medication to manage this situation will be prescribed to you. Small drains may be placed at the surgical sites to prevent the accumulation of fluid around the incisions. You will be given a compression garment to be wrapped around the treated areas. These garments help reduce swelling. Try to limit your activity to a minimum during this time and get plenty of rest. Take gentle, small walks around the room to prevent blood clotting. It’s recommended that you enlist someone to help you around the house for these initial few days.

B – One to two weeks later

There may be a significant reduction in discomfort and soreness in a week or two following the liposuction procedure. Most people will be able to return to work but if your job is physically demanding, you may want to take a few more weeks off. You will have to wear compression garments during this time. You may be able to take showers instead of baths.

C – Three to five weeks later

Some swelling may persist, which is normal, and can take a few months to be completely gone. The results will become more visible as the swelling and bruising continue to decrease. You will be able to perform light exercise after the fourth week but continue to avoid any heavy or strenuous activity.

D – Six weeks and beyond

After the sixth week, the majority of bruising and swelling should be gone, but swelling in a minimal amount may last a bit longer for some individuals. The compression garments can be usually taken off from this period onward, and you may be cleared to perform physical activities of higher levels unless otherwise ordered by Dr Turner. You’ll also be able to appreciate the results of the procedure.

Best Tips for Better Recovery after Liposuction Surgery

1. Get plenty of rest for speedy recovery after liposuction

Depending on the nature of your work, you should take a week or two off of work or more and limit your daily activities early on.

2. Have someone assist you for the initial few days

Your body will be sore following the procedure and you will need the assistance of someone for the first two days with daily activities.

3. Perform gentle movements for faster recovery after liposuction

To promote circulation of blood, it is recommended that you try to stand and move a bit whenever possible, as this will help lessen swelling and aid in the healing process. Staying sedentary will increase the risk of the formation of blood clots which can be fatal if they are not treated.

4. Have a Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage once a week on both the donor and injection sites can help decrease recovery time while also minimising discomfort. Doing so has also been shown to boost immunity while also decreasing the risk of infection. Find a qualified lymphatic masseur.

5. Abstain from smoking or passive smoke

Smoking and any forms of nicotine should be completely avoided during the recovery period. The use of nicotine limits your blood flow, which in turn can slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection or necrosis (tissue death).

6. Drink plenty of fluids

You may feel dehydrated following the completion of liposuction. You need to replenish your body with plenty of fluids to keep your tissues hydrated which will further aid in your recovery. Try to drink at least 8 to 12 cups of water or low-calorie beverages like herbal tea or diluted fruit juices. Avoid drinking alcohol and high-calorie sugar-laden beverages.

7. Use the compression garment

This compression garment provides support and helps give your body its new shape. It reduces bruising and swelling and lowers the risk of seroma. It should be worn for at least six weeks or more for optimal results.

8. Eat a nutritious and healthy diet

Consuming a healthy and nutritious diet will further speed up your recovery. You should consume more lean proteins, antioxidants, and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. You should limit the intake of salt because salt is known to cause the body to retain water which will make you appear bloated.

9. Keep the incisions dry and clean for better recovery after liposuction

There is a risk of infection at the incision site if the incisions aren’t kept dry and clean. Just by changing the bandages and dressing in a sterile environment, and keeping the incisions clean and dry, you can substantially lower the risk of infection. If you notice any unpleasant odour, pus, or oozing from your wounds – please check with the nurses ASAP.

10. Choose Loose-fitting clothes

Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes when you’re recovering. Tight-fitting clothes may irritate your incision sites.

11. Avoid strenuous exercises

Strenuous exercises and vigorous movements will hamper your recovery and increase the risk of injury or infection.

You should wait for at least six weeks or until suggested by Dr Turner before resuming any strenuous physical activities.

12. Follow Dr Turner’s guidelines closely

Following post-op recovery guidelines given by Dr Turner can help prevent complications associated with the procedure.

Do’s and Don’ts during recovery after Liposuction


  • Have someone to transport you home.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Keep the incision site dry and clean.
  • Gentle movements
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Use the compression garment.
  • Sleep on your back.
  • Eat healthy and nutritious foods.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Visit for recommended checkups.
  • Follow Dr Turner’s guidelines.
  • Take your prescribed medications on time.
  • Organise your recovery area in advance – electric charging cables and everything nearby.


  • Sleep on your side
  • Make the incision damp and dirty
  • moke, Vape or take in passive smoke
  • Consume alcohol
  • Perform any stressful exercises
  • Wear tight-fitting clothes

When to seek medical help about recovery after liposuction

You should get help immediately if you experience:

  • Infections that are gradually spreading
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive pain
  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop

You should also seek immediate medical attention if you feel something is not right either at the donor site or the site of reinjection.

FAQs about Recovery after Liposuction surgery

How painful is recovery after liposuction?

There will be pain and soreness following a liposuction that will last for up to a month. However, swelling will gradually subside with time and can persist for up to six months. Learn more about Recovery after Surgery.

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

Liposuction recovery time occurs in phases. Most people will be able to resume their daily activities within a week or two and return to their work within 2 to 6 weeks. However, complete recovery following a liposuction could take about six months.

What can you not do after liposuction?

After a liposuction, you should not sleep on your side for at least two to three weeks. You should also avoid:

  • Smoking and consumption of alcohol
  • Performing any physically demanding exercise
  • Tight-fitting clothes

How soon can you walk – recovery after liposuction?

You can start moving gently with assistance after the initial few days and you’ll be able to walk freely after a week.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after liposuction?

If you don’t wear the compression garment, your body will reabsorb fluid extending the post-op swelling much longer. Your new tissues will not be supported during healing. This in turn will impact the final result of the procedure.

What happens if you exercise too soon after liposuction?

If you exercise too soon after getting a liposuction, there is a chance that the wounds (incision sites) may reopen.

What happens if you don’t get a lymphatic massage after liposuction?

Lymphatic massages are optional after liposuction. If you don’t get a lymphatic massage after liposuction, you may experience prolonged swelling, bruising, and discomfort in the treated areas.

How long do I wear a compression garment after lipo?

You should wear the compression garment for at least six to eight weeks after liposuction.

How long are you swollen after liposuction?

The majority of the swelling will be gone after a month. But, some amount of swelling will remain for six months.

When can I sleep on my side after liposuction?

You can sleep on your side only after two or three weeks following liposuction.

Do you need drains after liposuction?

Yes, you’ll probably need drains after liposuction. Small drains will be placed at the surgical sites to prevent the accumulation of fluid around the incisions.

Can you sit after liposuction?

Yes, you can sit after liposuction but you should avoid sitting for an extended period early on.

How long of recovery after Liposuction Can I shower?

You may shower a day or two after the completion of liposuction, but make sure to keep the incision site clean and dry.

Does heat help after Liposuction?

No, heating pads do not help after a liposuction. The treated areas will be numb so you won’t feel the temperature and you run the risk of burning the skin.

What helps with swelling recovery after liposuction?

The use of compression garments and lowering salt intake helps reduce swelling after liposuction.

Does Liposuction permanently remove fat?

Liposuction is regarded as a permanent fat-removal method. Once fat cells are removed, they do not come back; however, be careful that fat can get redistributed to other body sites if you gain weight after the procedure.

Does Liposuction work immediately?

Liposuction can remove unwanted fat from your body quickly, but it will take some time before you can appreciate the final result of the procedure.

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Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Enquire to find out more about your surgery.
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure.

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral.

Making The Most of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive early for your in-person consultation.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Book a Phone Call for More Info

To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2.

Contact us or call 1300 437 758 to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

Email us for more information: [email protected]