Recovery after Liposuction Surgery – Timeline and Top Tips by Dr Scott Turner Plastic Surgeon
Liposuction is a minimally invasive cosmetic surgery that can remove excess fat permanently from targeted areas of the body. Lipo can reshape and improve the contour to those areas. 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. 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 to improve the aesthetic results of those surgeries. Dr Scott Turner is a Plastic Surgeon and liposuction expert in Newcastle and Sydney NSW – find out more about his tips for recovery after Liposuction.
CLICK to Download Dr Scott Turners’ Liposuction Surgery Guide
Preparing for your Liposuction procedure
You can best prepare for Liposuction by:
- Research about the procedure online and reading the Liposuction guide
- Choose the best Liposuction surgeon
- Planning the date in advance and securing time off from work
- Preparing your recovery room
- Getting any medical evaluations done
- Consulting 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
- Showering the night before or the morning of the lipectomy
- Wearing loose-fitting clothes
- Organising someone to transport you home
Timeline for recovery after Liposuction
The total time for liposuction to be completed 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 is extensive, you might have to stay at the hospital overnight for observation.
You will need someone responsible to transport you home as the effects of the anaesthesia or pain medication may make it dangerous for you to drive a vehicle.
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, to help your rehabilitation. You will be given a compression garment to be wrapped around the treated areas. These garments help reduce swelling and give your body its new shape. Try to limit your activity to a minimum during this time and get plenty of rest. Take very gentlc, 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 after a fortnight, 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
A month after the liposuction procedure, generally, you should feel minimal to no pain or soreness. However, some swelling may persist, which is normal and can take a few months to be completely gone. During this period, the results of the procedure will start to be visible. The result will improve as the swelling and bruising continue to wane. Most people 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 onwards, 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
Though there won’t be any big incisions in liposuction, it is still an invasive surgery, and procedures like this take time to heal. 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 completion of the procedure, and you will need the assistance of someone for the first two days with daily activities.
3. Perform gentle movements
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 Lymphatic Massage
Lymphatic drainage massage once a week on both the donor and reinjection site can help decrease recovery time while also minimizing discomfort . Doing so has also been shown to boost timmunity 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.
6. Drink plenty of fluids
You may feel dehydrated following the completion of liposuction. You need to replenish your body with plenty of fluid 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 protein, 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 that will make you appear bloated.
9. Keep the incisions dry and clean
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 smell, 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 and avoid tight-fitting clothes.
11. Avoid strenuous exercises
Strenuous exercises and vigorous movement will hamper your recovery and increases the risk for 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 make your recovery a lot easier.
CLICK to Download Dr Scott Turner’s Surgery Recovery Guide
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
- Smoke, Vape or take in passive smoke
- Consume alcohol
- Perform any stressful exercises
- Wear tight-fitting clothes
When to seek medical help
You should get help immediately if you experience:
- Infections that are gradually spreading
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive pain
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
Any unusual pain in the arm or leg may be a fat embolism and needs immediate attention.
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 liposuction recovery?
- Generally, recovery following liposuction is not very painful. There will be some pain and soreness following a liposuction that will last for up to a month. However, swelling will gradually subside with time and can persist in small amounts for up to six months. Learn more about Recovery after Surgery.
How long does it take to recover from liposuction?
- Recovery from liposuction 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 lipo, 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
- Wear tight-fitting clothes
How soon can you walk 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 lipo.
What happens if you exercise too soon after liposuction?
- If you exercise too soon after getting a lipo, you run the risk of opening the incision and increasing the swelling. You may also get a poor quality final result.
What happens if you don’t get a lymphatic massage after liposuction?
- Lymphatic massages are optional after lipo. Some patients find that lymphatic massage helps them heal more quickly and they can see their full results sooner.
How long do I wear a compression garment after lipo?
- You should wear the compression garment for at least six to eight weeks after lipo.
How long are you swollen after lipo?
- The majority of the swelling will be gone after a month. But, some amount of swelling will remain till six months.
When can I sleep on my side after liposuction?
- You can sleep on your side only after two or three weeks following lipo.
Do you need drains after lipo?
- Yes, you’ll probably need drains after lipo. Small drains will be placed at the surgical sites to prevent the accumulation of fluid around the incisions, to help your rehabilitation.
Can you sit after liposuction?
- Yes, you can sit after liposuction but you should avoid sitting for an extended period early on.
How long after Lipo Can I shower?
- You may shower a day or two after the completion of lipo, but make sure to keep the incision site clean and dry.
Does heat help after Liposuction?
- No, heating pads does not help after a lipo. The treated areas will be numb so you won’t feel the temperature and you run the risk of burning the skin.
Is getting Liposuction worth it?
- Liposuction is a simple surgical procedure of body contouring where excess fat is permanently removed from a part of your body. Those fat cells, once destroyed, don’t come back.
If rigorous exercises and adhering to strict diet plans have not helped you get rid of stubborn pockets of fats in some parts of your body, and you want to get rid of it, liposuction is worth it to give your body a final touch.
What helps with swelling after lipo?
- The use of compression garments and lowering salt intake helps reduce swelling after lipo.
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.
Medical References about Recovery after Liposuction
- What you need to know about your liposuction recovery | ASPS (plasticsurgery.org)
- Liposuction Recovery: What to Expect – UtBreastAugmentation
- How To Prepare For Liposuction | Newport Beach (orangecountycosmeticsurgery.com)
- Liposuction Preparation | American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery.org)
- 9 Tips to Speed Up Your Liposuction Recovery | Pasadena Cosmetic Surgery
- Liposuction Recovery: 15 Tips to Enhance Your Recovery (premierlipo.com)