Liposuction Recovery: Tips, Truths, and Timelines

In 2017, the United States was the country with the highest number of cosmetic procedures, with 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures being performed that year alone. While breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and eyelid surgeries are all common choices, liposuction is consistently one of the top surgical cosmetic procedures for Americans and continues to grow in popularity. In 2017, liposuction procedures experienced a five percent increase from a year prior, totaling 246,354 procedures in all. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery estimates even higher procedural totals for liposuction last year, as their report states there were 304,850 such procedures in 2017.

Regardless of whose estimates are most accurate, one thing is clear: more than ever, Americans are eager to improve their appearance. One 2016 survey found that only 20 percent of women and 24 percent of men felt very or extremely satisfied with their weight, while only 26 percent of women and 28 percent of men felt extremely satisfied with their overall appearance. For many people, plastic surgery can improve body image satisfaction, confidence, and even quality of life.

That said, you’ll want to consider all possibilities before undergoing any type of plastic surgery. Although there are more minimally invasive options available today, liposuction still typically offers more long-lasting results. Those results, however, are preceded by a more extensive recovery time. Before making a final decision pertaining to liposuction, it’s important to learn a bit more about the recovery process and what you can expect post-surgery.

After your liposuction surgery

Immediately after your procedure, you will have a customized compression garment put onto you (which you will need to keep on for the next several days). You will then be taken into a recovery room where your vital signs will be monitored prior to being sent home to begin your recovery.

You should expect some level of pain as your body recovers from this procedure. You will likely feel sore and will see some bruising in the days immediately following. Although this pain should not be so severe that you can’t do basic activities (like reading, watching television, or walking), your doctor may prescribe pain medication to help you manage these after-effects. You can also expect to see discharge from incision sites during the first 24 hours after your surgery.

In the first five days or so after your procedure, you will need to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and refrain from bathing. You will need to move around every couple of hours to prevent blood clot formation and to reduce swelling. After that time, you will have a postoperative visit with your surgeon to examine your progress. Following that visit, you will continue to wear your compression garment for 10 days (or the amount of time recommended by your doctor); you can start showering and doing some light exercise at this point.

You may expect to return to work within a few days to two weeks after your surgery. You will still need to wear your compression garment, but after the third and fourth week, you may wear it for only 12 hours per day. By the four-week mark, you can resume your normal activities, though it can actually take several months for all of your swelling to go down.

What to bring with you

For the sake of your own comfort, you should plan to bring some supplies with you on the day of your surgery. These include loose and easy-to-wear clothing, pillows, dark-colored towels, water, crackers, pain medications, and any other items your doctor has recommended for you. You will also need a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery (and who can ideally care for you in the initial days following).

Liposuction surgery results

With this surgical procedure, you cannot expect immediate results. The swelling from your surgery will last for anywhere from a few weeks to several months. After that time, you will start to notice a leaner figure. If you maintain your weight following your surgery, you can expect this result to last a long time.

Keep in mind that there are limits to how much fat can be removed during liposuction without requiring an overnight hospital stay. This is equivalent to approximately 10 pounds, but the amount could be less depending on the patient’s circumstances. Some patients want to know specific information about the clothing size they’ll wear after their procedure, but this is difficult to predict. You will see a reduction in fatty tissue within the area treated by the procedure. That may or may not translate into a different clothing size. Ultimately, what matters is how you look and feel in your clothes, rather than the size printed on the tag.

For many people, the recovery period that comes with liposuction is well worth to obtain a new lease on life. Of course, it’s important to remember that all surgical procedures come with risks. Before you make a decision to undergo plastic surgery, it’s essential to consider all of these concerns and explore every option available to you. If you are considering undergoing liposuction, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider to ensure it’s viable and recommended for you.

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Categories: Lifestyle