Surveys show that liposuction is one of the most-requested plastic surgeries in the United States, with more than 250,000 procedures performed in 2018. If you want liposuction, you have a lot of company!
Lipo 360 and liposuction have been around for decades and are safe and effective procedures to remove fat pockets that don’t respond to diet and exercise. It’s still surgery, though, so you should know what the recovery will be like.
Knowing how things will go after your liposuction will help set your expectations and speed up the recovery process.
Learn more about the recovery process below, including what to expect three weeks after liposuction.
So you want liposuction, but how is the procedure performed? First, remember there are several types, but tumescent liposuction is the most common. Here is how liposuction works.
Tumescent liposuction involves making small incisions in the target area, such as the abdomen or outer legs. The surgeon then inserts a thin cannula that injects lidocaine and epinephrine to reduce pain, swelling, and bleeding.
Next, the plastic surgeon inserts another cannula that sucks out the fat and fluid. The incisions are closed and the patient is sent to the recovery area.
You will be groggy for most of the day as you wake up from general anesthesia, so you will need a friend or family member to drive you home.
Note: If you have sagging skin in the abdomen, you may need a tummy tuck as well as liposuction. Also consider other procedures, such as a Brazilian butt lift; this rear-enhancing surgery uses fat transfer to give you a larger, shapelier rear.
Liposuction is usually done on an outpatient basis, so you can probably go home that day. But if you have fat removed from several areas, you may need to stay overnight.
After liposuction, you will be tired and sore, but don’t worry: That won’t last long.
3 Days After Liposuction
The plastic surgeon will provide you with a compression garment to put around the treatment area. For example, someone who has liposuction on their abdomen will have the compression garment wrapped around their midsection.
It’s important to wear your compression garment for several weeks after the procedure. It helps to press the skin against your slimmer profile, and it also reduces swelling and bleeding.
The surgeon also may insert drains into your liposuction incisions. These will drain fluid so it doesn’t build up at the incision sites, which can affect the healing process. If your surgeon puts in drains, they’ll tell you how to keep them clean and when they will remove them.
During this phase of the recovery, you will have moderate discomfort and soreness, but it can be managed with prescription or over-the-counter pain medication. Abdominal soreness after liposuction feels similar to the next day after an intense ab workout.
If the surgeon gives you a prescription, remember to fill it before surgery so it’s available when you need it. You also should take it easy during the first three days and don’t lift anything heavy. This includes small children, so ask for help with the little ones if you need it.
1-2 Weeks After Liposuction
After a few days of soreness rest, you should notice a major reduction in pain at this point. Most people can return to work at the 1-2 week mark, but if you have a physically demanding job, you may need more time off.
You will need to keep wearing your compression garment all the time, except for showering.
3-5 Weeks After Recovery
You can expect at the 3-week mark to no longer have pain or soreness in the treated area. There still may be some swelling but this is to be expected. The swelling can take three to six months to completely go away.
After four weeks, you should be able to engage in moderate physical activity, such as light jogging or biking. But you still shouldn’t lift a lot of weight at this time.
6 Weeks + After Liposuction
After six weeks, most swelling and bruising should be gone, but some patients may still have minor swelling.
You probably can discard your compression garment at this time, but check with your surgeon. And you can usually return to more vigorous workouts, including weightlifting.
Most patients see their final results after six weeks, but don’t worry if yours take longer.
How To Speed Up Liposuction Recovery
Liposuction recovery takes time, but there are a few things you can do to potentially speed it up:
Eat A Healthy Diet
Even if you are in perfect health, any surgery takes a toll on the body. Quick healing means good nutrition that includes a lot of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. It helps to have meals made before surgery so you can just warm them up for the first week.
Eating healthy will speed up your recovery and reduce inflammation.
It’s always important to drink six to eight glasses of water per day, but it’s even more critical after liposuction. Drinking water helps to flush toxins from the body and also speeds up recovery.
Take it easy for the first week and get a lot of sleep so your body can heal. However, it helps to take a daily walk as soon as you feel up to it, which increases circulation.
Ask For Assistance
After liposuction, you will be tired and sore, so it’s important to ask for help for errands and caring for children. You also may need someone to drive the kids around for a week or two.
Before surgery, ask a friend or family member to be available if you will need assistance.
Liposuction is safe and effective and most patients are delighted with the results. Knowing what the recovery will be like and how to speed it up will ensures everything will go well.
Request a Houston Liposuction Consultation
Interested in liposuction in Houston? Please set up a consultation with Dr. Ashley Steinberg today. She’ll talk to you about the benefits and risks of liposuction and determine if this procedure is a fit for you.
Liposuction Recovery – What To Expect. (2021). Accessed at https://www.healthline.com/health/cosmetic-surgery/liposuction-recovery
What You Need To Know About Your Liposuction Recovery. (2020). Accessed at https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-liposuction-recovery
Liposuction At 3 Weeks. (n.d.). Accessed at https://www.realself.com/questions/liposuction/3-weeks-post-op