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What to Expect during Liposuction Recovery

By David Passaretti, MD on April 23, 2016


A woman's slim, contoured abdomen and thighsThose who have tried different forms of diet and exercise to get rid of stubborn pockets of body fat often turn to liposuction to achieve their desired body goals. Liposuction can help address fatty trouble spots to reveal a smoother, more contoured physique. Each liposuction procedure is unique to the patient and, as such, each recovery is different. The amount of time required to recover after liposuction is based on a number of factors, including the size of the area treated, the type of liposuction used, and personal healing times. For your personalized liposuction recovery timeline, schedule a consultation with Fairfield, CT Dr. David Passaretti. 

What to Expect during the First Few Days of Recovery

In the first few days after liposuction, patients should expect to feel some discomfort and swelling. Discomfort can be relieved with pain medication, and swelling can be reduced with ice packs and use of a compression garment.

Some patients will feel well enough to return to work after a few days of rest, but should stick to light activity for at least two weeks. Patients should begin to take light walks after three to four days to encourage blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots, which can develop with prolonged bed rest.  

If tumescent liposuction was performed, patients may notice fluid draining from their incisions during the first few days of recovery. This is the anesthetic solution used during tumescent liposuction and is normal to this procedure.

What to Expect during the First Few Weeks of Recovery

During the first few weeks of recovery, it's important to keep an eye on incisions in order to catch any signs of infection before they become severe, as well as monitor swelling. To help reduce swelling, patients should continue to wear compression garments for several days to several weeks, depending on the extent of treatment.

Most liposuction patients will be able to return to their normal activities after two weeks, but should refrain from vigorous activity until doctor approval is received.

During the first few weeks of recovery, the final results of liposuction are often obscured by swelling, bruising, and skin looseness. Patients who may feel discouraged by the immediate results of liposuction should keep in mind that it can take several months for the full results to be revealed.

What to Expect after Several Months of Recovery

A month after surgery, bruising should disappear, and most swelling should have resolved. Most patients will no longer need a compression garment a month after surgery since most swelling should be gone by this point. With that said, it can take several months for swelling to completely resolve after liposuction. Swelling that becomes worse may be an indication of infection or other complication and should be immediately brought to your doctor's attention.

Over the next several months after liposuction, the skin around the treatment area should begin to tighten. It can take up to six months for the skin to fully tighten. Due to the length of time required for the skin to tighten and the swelling to go down, it can take several months to see the full results of liposuction treatment. Although many liposuction patients will see some slimming results immediately after treatment, the full results will take three to six months to develop.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about liposuction, or other body contouring treatments, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Passaretti.

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