If you have unwanted fat in one or more areas of your body, and you’re not significantly overweight, then liposuction might be a great way to get rid of your annoying little bulges and “problem areas”. Liposuction is a popular surgical procedure that physically removes stubborn fatty tissue from areas of the body like the hips, stomach, and thighs. To perform the procedure, a surgeon makes small incisions and threads a thin tube, called a cannula, through the incisions to suction the fat out.
Like any other surgical procedure, liposuction does require some downtime once the procedure is complete. Knowing how long the recovery might take and what’s expected of you during that time can help you decide if the surgery is right for you.
When Can You Go Home After Liposuction?
Most people are able to go back home the same day as their liposuction surgery. As the anesthesia from the surgery wears off, you’ll be resting in a recovery room at the treatment center. You’ll usually be able to go home about an hour or so after surgery. For safety reasons, someone will need to drive you home from your appointment.
What Should You Do During the First Week?
You’ll want to take it easy during the first week after liposuction. You might even want to take a full two weeks off after the surgery to allow your body to heal.
‘Taking it easy’ means not going to work or participating in other regularly scheduled activities. It also means not working out or exercising. Generally, you want to rest up, but don’t feel you need to be confined to your bed. You can take short walks and move around your house as needed. This will help encourage proper healing.
The first week after liposuction is a good time to relax with a book or catch up on a TV show.
How Will You Feel During Recovery?
You’re likely to feel a bit of discomfort or soreness after liposuction, particularly in the treatment area. Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain relievers to help you manage any discomfort you may experience.
You can also make yourself more comfortable during recovery by wearing loose-fitting clothing and by giving yourself plenty of cushions and pillows to support you when you sit or lie down.
Although loose-fitting clothing can be ideal, there is one area you’ll want to wear something a little more fitted. Your surgeon will most likely give you a compression garment to wear around the treatment area after liposuction. The compression will help shape the area, creating a smoother result.
How Will the Treatment Area Look During Recovery?
You can expect to see some bruising in the treatment area after liposuction. Swelling is also common. It’s worth noting that the ‘super wet’ liposuction technique typically ends up producing less swelling and bruising than other techniques. Wearing the compression garment will also help to minimize swelling after liposuction.
While you might notice some improvement in the size of the area right away, it can take some time before a more dramatic improvement is visible. In some cases, it might take a few months before your final results appear.
How Can You Prepare for Liposuction Recovery?
Before your liposuction procedure, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon to discuss the procedure and your plan for recovery. Your surgeon can help you with your preparations for both the surgery and recovery. They might write you a prescription for pain relievers, which you can fill before the day of your liposuction. They’ll also give you instructions for recovery to help you heal and care for yourself properly.
Liposuction recovery preparation can involve finding people to cover for you at work, scheduling nannies and pet sitters, and finding someone to keep your house clean and healthy food on your table while you rest. You might also want to stock up on cushions, ice packs, and other items to help keep you comfortable afterward.
If your surgeon is recommending a specially fitted compression garment, you’ll want to order it well before the surgery, so that it arrives in time.
When Will You Be Back to Normal?
Although the general advice is for people to take a week off from work, then slowly add other activities back to their schedules over the next few weeks, the reality is that liposuction recovery is slightly different for everyone.
It can be difficult to say definitively when your life will be back to normal or when you’ll be able to jump back into everything you did before surgery. You might recover more quickly than the average person, but it might also take you a bit longer to bounce back. No matter what your experience is, following your surgeon’s instructions and asking any questions that come up will help to improve your post-liposuction recovery experience.
Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas who regularly performs liposuction for patients. To learn more about the recovery period after liposuction, call 281-484-0088 and schedule a consultation today.