Every surgery requires a recovery phase, and each person’s body is different. After a liposuction procedure, the recovery phase allows your body to heal and learn to live without the weight it used to know. Knowing more about what to expect from liposuction recovery can help you get the best possible results.
With the right understanding and plan, you can recover better and faster. So it’s imperative to understand what to minimize or avoid along with how and when to add in the proper exercises gradually.
Learn how to have the most effective, healthy, and enjoyable recovery possible.
15 Tips for Enhanced Liposuction Recovery
Vaser Liposuction is minimally invasive, quick, and the most painless liposuction procedure to date. In addition, whereas other traditional forms of liposuction incur some post-op pain, swelling, and discomfort, Vaser procedures have minimal swelling and bruising.
Regardless of the type of liposuction procedure you choose, you’ll have a period where your body needs time to bounce back.
By following these tips, you may reduce your overall timeline and enhance your results in a healthy way.
1. Make a Plan for Your Recovery
Making a plan for your recovery means more than just knowing how to take care of your bandages.
Ask yourself these questions when planning your recovery:
How are you going to eat? If you’re not ordering from a local meal prep service, make some food so you don’t have to cook. Instead, plan your meals or have friends or family provide you a meal train.
If you need help, who will you call? We have a dedicated after-care team, but you’ll want to have someone you’re close to or comfortable with as a reliable backup or primary contact. Make sure you have support from family or friends. Let at least one person know in advance.
Do you know what you will wear after? Patients who show the best results wear their compression garments religiously for up to 3-6 months.
For example, if you have a closet full of crop tops and get stomach lipo, you may want to consider different clothing during this period, so your garments don’t show.
How will you clean yourself if you cannot get your wounds or your garments wet? You also will not be able to shower for the first 48 hours after your surgery.
Finally, you will not be able to take a bath for at least 7 days (or when your surgeon approves). So prepare to give yourself a sponge bath and to have those toiletries available.
2. Prepare to Eat Right and Hydrate
The right foods, fluids, vitamins, and nutrients promote better healing and are essential to an optimal recovery process. Additionally, inflammation in the body causes most of the pain and strain on the body as you recover.
To alleviate discomfort, eat anti-inflammatory foods. Read our full guide and list of what to eat after your liposuction recovery. Here are some examples of delicious foods to prepare or have on hand before your procedure:
- Dark chocolate
- Salmon, anchovies, or similar fatty fish
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and kale
- Berries of all kinds
- Green Tea
- And much more
These types of foods will fuel your body with the nutrients needed to rebuild itself stronger, removing any roadblock to your recovery.
Preparing the proper foods also includes the right fluids. The best fluid is water. Your body always needs water but especially after surgery.
3. Know What to Expect before and after Surgery
During a Vaser liposuction procedure, your surgeon will insert a thin, hollow tube through tiny incisions in the area you want treating. As it moves around under the skin, suction is applied to pull fat out of the targeted site.
You’ll be able to walk out the same way you walked in. After your procedure, you’re free to rest or sleep until you’re ready to leave. Most patients take about an hour or so as you may feel a little bit shaky right after.
In general, you’ll only rest in the recovery room for about an hour after your procedure. While you rest, our team will watch for any signs of nausea or dizziness.
When you go to the outpatient clinic, bring comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, dark towels to place on your car seats. Also, bring water, crackers, and any pain medication our liposuction surgeons prescribed.
4. Treat the Treated Areas 48-hours Post-surgery
Liposuction is a reasonably easy procedure to recover from, but you will still have mild to moderate pain for the first forty-eight hours after the surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe medications to manage your soreness. You can also take an over-the-counter product like acetaminophen.
If your soreness does not start to improve within the first two days, contact your surgeon.
The first day after your surgery, you’ll likely see some fluid coming from your incisions. This is entirely normal and nothing to worry about. You’ll probably also see bruising around the incision sites.
These should heal up within a week or two of the procedure. See your complete liposuction recovery timeline.
5. Plan Your Next Two Weeks
You’ll need to be the most careful for the first two weeks after your procedure.
It’s important to wear your compression garment around the clock. In addition, you will have to get up and move around every couple of hours. This will help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots.
Avoid bathing or submerging your body in fluid during this time. Showers only for 7-10 days.
After seven days, you’ll have a follow-up with your surgeon. Then, if things have gone well, you will be able to remove your compression garment to shower. But, for the next week and a half, you’ll need to wear the compression garment any time you’re not in the shower.
At Premier Liposuction, we do a 48-hour check-in in-person or virtual. Then, we schedule a call with your plastic surgeon 1 week, and an in-person or video call follow-up at week 2.
6. Plan Your Next Month
After the first two weeks of recovery, you can mostly get back to normal life.
Although, you should still plan on wearing your compression garment for about twelve hours a day during this first month.
Start on a light exercise program during this time, including walking and stretching as your surgeon recommends. The first month after surgery, you can get back to your usual activities.
Please note it’s possible to see still swelling for several months after the procedure. Your results will not be evident until that swelling subsides.
In the meantime, make sure you keep up with a healthy lifestyle to help you maintain your ideal body image.
7. Manage Your Pain
One of the best things you can do to improve your recovery from liposuction is to take your medications. Controlling your pain is important because you aren’t resting, recovering, or increasing your activities as effectively when you’re in pain.
Make sure to take your prescribed pain meds according to your surgeon’s schedule. This means even if you’re not in severe pain when it comes time to take more medications.
When it comes time to take more medication as instructed by your surgeon, stick through the whole plan.
While some soreness or discomfort is expected with any procedure, you should not be in extreme amounts of pain. If the medications don’t seem to work or you’re in significant pain, contact your surgeon. It could be a sign that something isn’t right with your recovery.
8. Wear the Proper Bandages and Clothing
Wearing a compression garment all the time during the first few days after your recovery can be inconvenient. We understand that, but you must wear the garment exactly as your surgeon recommended.
Remember: these garments will help reduce swelling and bruising and improve your recovery as well as help maintain your ideal shape.
You may also have elastic bandages around your incision area. Follow your surgeon’s orders for wearing and changing these, too. Your surgeon will let you know when it’s safe to stop wearing these bandages and clothing, so don’t try to rush things.
9. Take Your Time
On the subject of not rushing, it’s important to give yourself time to recover from this procedure. Although it is a relatively minor cosmetic operation, liposuction is still a surgical procedure, so you need to give your body time to heal before you jump back into the daily grind.
Plan to take a few days off work. Also, prepare for someone else to handle your other daily obligations, including household tasks and even driving.
Your surgeon will let you know when they think it’s safe for you to return to work and return to an exercise routine. They should also give you a date when you may resume other normal activities, including driving and sex.
Follow these guidelines, and don’t try to rush your recovery.
10. Care for Your Surgical Sites
During resting and recovering, take care of your incisions. Any surgical incision can become a site of potential infection, so you must avoid this.
Infection can turn into a very dangerous complication. Use any antibiotic your surgeon prescribes as ordered.
The cleaner you keep these, the less visible the scarring becomes, so stay aware of drainage in the first few days after surgery. Follow your surgeon’s instructions for how to clean, dress, and protect the wound and the drains.
If your incisions become red, swollen, or warm, or if they start to bleed, open, or drain an excessive amount of fluid, call your lipo practice immediately.
11. Watch for Complications
Some potential complications may occur after liposuction. The riskiest of these include an infection that could turn into sepsis and a blood clot that could become a pulmonary embolism.
These complications are rare but serious, so call your surgeon if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Pain that only gets worse over time
- More swelling than expected
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Leg pain
- Redness or swelling in your legs
The symptoms above can all indicate possible infection, blood clot, or a pulmonary embolism. If these occur, seek medical attention immediately.
12. Follow Post-op Instruction to Avoid Scars
Since liposuction involves incisions, many people wonder if they’ll have scars. After all, is it worth having the procedure done if you’re going to be covered in scars afterward?
While there is a small risk of scarring, liposuction scars are usually hard to find.
The incisions your surgeon will make during the procedure will be about as long as your pinky fingernail is wide. They’re usually hidden in a natural fold of the skin to make them less noticeable.
If you follow the wound care instructions your surgeon gives you after the procedure, you should recover with minimal scarring.
13. Wait for Results and Swelling to Go Down
Once your procedure is complete, you’ll likely be anxious to see your new, slimmer body. But as mentioned, it can take several months for the swelling to subside completely.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see miraculous results as soon as you wake up from the procedure.
The majority of your swelling should go down within the first month or so after liposuction, especially if you follow your surgeon’s orders for wearing compression garments.
You’ll start to see some of your results during this time, but you may not see the full effect yet. You should see your final liposuction results about three months after your procedure.
14. Avoid Smoking and Drinking
As with any medical procedure, surgeons advise avoiding smoking and drinking before and after your liposuction treatment.
For best results, it’s recommended to stop smoking 4-6 weeks before your procedure and stay smoke-free at least four weeks post-procedure. This will help improve the rate and quality of healing and reduce your chance of complications.
Smoking increases the chance of infection because it decreases blood flow.
Alcohol can dry out your skin, which means the surgeon will have a more difficult time stitching your skin back together. This can result in a larger scar than anticipated because your skin isn’t as flexible.
Alcohol also changes your blood chemistry. If you’re being sedated for a major cosmetic procedure, the surgeon may have difficulty estimating the correct dosage to put you under.
Depending on the surgeon, they may even refuse to operate on you, which can mean lost time and money.
Staying away from alcohol and smoking for a few weeks before and after your procedure will help your recovery and overall well-being.
15. Avoid Soaking in a Bath or Other Still Water
While you can shower after a few days, it’s important to stay away from soaking in a bath or other still water.
Even though the incisions are small and close quickly, they can still become infected. Allowing your incisions to close and fully heal before submerging yourself in water will both help the incisions heal quicker and ensure minimal scarring.
Remember: aftercare is just as important as the procedure itself.
You’ve already invested a lot of time and energy into your procedure. Putting a little bit of attention into your aftercare program is going to help you get the best results you’re going to be happy with for years to come.
Learn More about Liposuction Results
To make your recovery as effective as possible, it’s crucial to follow all your surgeon’s orders. Take your time with recovery. Make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the procedure.
If you’d like to learn more about liposuction recovery, check out the many procedures we offer at Premier Liposuction. We offer the best Vaser liposuction, body contouring, fat transfers, and body sculpting so you can achieve the physical results you’ve been working towards.
Schedule a consultation to start living in a body you love today.