What Is Liposuction Recovery Like?

Woman with hands on stomach (model)

People considering liposuction are often eager to enjoy all the benefits this body contouring procedure has to offer. But there’s one hurdle that gets in their way: recovery. I’ve found that the main source of recovery nerves is often the fear of the unknown. The more you learn about liposuction recovery, the easier it is to see it as just one small stepping stone on your path to body confidence.

In this blog post, I’ll explain what you can expect during liposuction recovery, from post-surgical garments to pain medication.

How Long Will I Need Off Work for Liposuction?

If you have a low-impact desk job, you’ll likely be able to return to work in just a few days. This may vary depending on how quickly you bounce back, how extensive your fat removal was, and other factors.

Those with more physically demanding jobs may need time off or a modified schedule for up to 6 weeks, at which time most people are completely healed and can get back to more strenuous activities.

Will I Need To Stay Overnight After Liposuction?

Most of the time, surgeons perform liposuction as an outpatient procedure. That means you can go home the same day once the effects of your anesthesia have worn off. This usually takes about an hour, although the timeline is different for everyone. You will need a trusted adult to drive you home and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after your surgery.

Will I Have To Wear a Compression Garment After Liposuction?

Dr. Calobrace and I always send our liposuction patients home with elastic support garments in place. These simple garments make all the difference when it comes to minimizing swelling, encouraging the healing process, and shaping smooth, attractive results.

It’s best to wear your garment around the clock (except when bathing) for the first 2 weeks or so. Once your initial swelling subsides, your surgeon may switch you to a smaller garment and allow you to wear it only during the day for another couple of weeks.

When Will I Get My Stitches Out After Liposuction?

Your surgeon will remove your stitches 4 to 7 days after your surgery. This post-op appointment gives your surgeon a chance to assess how your incisions are healing, look for any possible signs of complications, and potentially give you the green light to return to work and other activities.

How Painful Is Liposuction Recovery?

With the help of prescribed painkillers for the first few days, liposuction recovery isn’t typically too uncomfortable. It is normal to feel sore, achy, and fatigued initially. Within the first week or so, most people can comfortably transition from prescribed medications to over-the-counter alternatives.

What Will My Liposuction Scars Look Like?

Liposuction scars are very small, usually just millimeters long. Dr. Calobrace and I hide them in the body’s natural creases or areas that even small undergarments will cover. As you can see in our liposuction before-and-after photo gallery, it’s very difficult to spot the scars even when you know what you’re looking for. If you do find them, you’ll notice they simply look like natural freckles.

How Soon Can I Fly After Liposuction?

If you’re traveling from out of town for surgery, don’t book your flight home right after your procedure. It’s typically best to wait 10 to 14 days to fly after liposuction. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Your risk of blood clots is higher after surgery, and as Healthline reports, flying exacerbates this. Sitting in a confined space for long periods of time does nothing to help your circulation, which will already be under stress.
  • You’ll need to be around for follow-up appointments. While telehealth can go a long way, it’s important to meet with your surgeon in person for your first follow-up visit.

If you have any upcoming getaways scheduled, plan to put at least 2 to 3 weeks between your liposuction date and your long-haul flights. Your veins will thank you!

When Will I Be Ready To Show Off My Results?

Most of your swelling should subside within 6 weeks, but it may take between 3 and 6 months for your final results to take shape. You may gradually notice your clothes are beginning to fit differently, that your trouble spots are no longer so troublesome, and that you can take on the world with a little extra spring in your step.

At that point, your liposuction journey is complete. Simply do your best to stay healthy and avoid any major weight fluctuations, and your results are yours to enjoy for good.

Liposuction recovery is just one chapter in your lifelong story of feeling good in your skin. If you would like to learn more about it, or if you’re ready to schedule a private consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, please call (502) 899-9979 or request a consultation online to get started.

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