Taking the time to understand the process of liposuction before undergoing surgery is key to having a positive experience and getting the results you want.
Often, this starts with understanding the recovery process. That’s because this is the phase of the procedure that you, the patient, are largely responsible for. Taking it easy during recovery, following your surgeon’s directions, and getting help when you need it will all help to facilitate a faster recovery and better results.
Below, we’ll discuss what to expect when it comes to the average liposuction recovery time.
Average Liposuction Recovery Time
Recovery times vary for liposuction patients. However, the majority of patients will be ready to partake in their regular routines after around three to six weeks. At this point:
- Most patients can stop wearing their compression garments.
- The majority of swelling and bruising should be gone.
- Patients should not experience any lingering pain or soreness.
- Patients will be able to see (most of) their full results from surgery.
Incidentally, women’s and men’s liposuction recovery time durations are usually the same.
While the six-week mark is usually a definitive turning point in liposuction recovery, it’s important to note that some patients won’t see the full results from their liposuction until six months to a year after their procedure. This is usually due to residual swelling that takes time to completely go away.
Returning to Work After Liposuction
Depending on the extent of the liposuction and where the procedure was performed, most patients can return to work after about a week of recovery. Keep in mind that this is generally acceptable for those who work at desk jobs or similar. Light work is fine after about a week of recovery.
More intense work, on the other hand, should be put off for another week or two. For example, if you are on your feet all day as a teacher or salesperson, or if you work as a trainer, athlete, or similar, you may need to wait before returning to work.
Similarly, if a large amount of fat was removed from multiple locations on your body, you may need more rest before going back to work. The good news is that no one should be able to tell that you’ve had liposuction if it is not your intention to share this fact with friends or co-workers. While chin liposuction will be more visible, for nearly all other areas of the body, compression garments can easily be worn beneath clothing.
Physical Activity After Liposuction
Exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. However, directly after liposuction, patients should avoid exercise and any other exerting physical activities. This is because strenuous activities after surgery can put your health and your results at risk.
Ultimately, it’s best practice to wait until your surgeon says it’s okay to return to a regular exercise routine. This usually happens after about two to three weeks. You will be able to take brief, gentle walks at the beginning of your recovery (more on this below), but weight lifting, running and jogging, biking, and other sports should be avoided during this time.
Most of all, you should avoid straining your incision areas. Strain and tension where incisions are located is the leading reason for poor scar recovery. If it is your aim to avoid the appearance of significant scarring (as it is for most patients), make a special effort to reduce tension near your incisions.
This means avoiding bending or stretching your upper body if you’ve had liposuction around your abdomen. It also means avoiding activities that might make you tired and out of breath. Finally, do not lift anything heavy while you are in recovery from liposuction. Heavy lifting of weights, boxes, or even babies and children may put tension on your incisions. In a worst-case scenario, closed incisions may reopen, causing bleeding, pain, and excessive scarring.
The Importance of Regular Ambulation Post-Surgery
Surgeons and doctors will almost always promote “early ambulation” for their patients after surgery, but what does this actually mean?
“Ambulation” is simply a medical term for movement — particularly, walking. When your surgeon tells you to get up and move around as soon as possible after your procedure, they’re telling you to ambulate.
Early and frequent ambulation promotes blood flow and overall improved circulation. A chief risk for patients after surgery is blood clots. Movement helps reduce this risk and other potential complications. It’s a good way to reduce your chances of being hospitalized, and it will help speed up your recovery overall.
As a liposuction patient, you’ll want to move around regularly, but not too much. Never over-exert yourself. Rather, make it a point to get up every hour or two and walk around your house. As you get stronger (and as your surgeon allows), take your walks outdoors and go for longer stretches.
FAQs About Liposuction Recovery
How painful is liposuction recovery?
Patients should not experience significant pain during liposuction recovery. Some light soreness and discomfort is normal at the beginning of recovery.
Is the liposuction recovery time abdominal patients experience the same for other body parts?
Yes, liposuction incisions usually heal at about the same rate on different areas of the body.
What is the liposuction love handles recovery time?
Most patients who have liposuction on their love handles can start returning to their normal activities around one to three weeks after surgery.
How long after liposuction will I see results?
Final results from liposuction will occur around one to three months after surgery. Full recovery and the reduction of all swelling may not occur until six months to a year after surgery.
How long is laser liposuction recovery time?
Most laser liposuction patients can start returning to their normal activities around one week after surgery.
Book a Liposuction Consultation Today
If diet and exercise haven’t been enough to take care of your stubborn body fat, liposuction may be an excellent option.
Call us today to schedule a consultation appointment with female double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Smita Ramanadham and learn how liposuction can help you get the figure you’ve always dreamed of.