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What Is the Liposuction Recovery Timeline?

By Sheryl Pilcher on August 08, 2014

Woman holding her bare left leg in both handsGenerally an outpatient procedure, liposuction can remove fatty deposits that don’t respond to traditional diet and exercise. The procedure also sculpts the contours of the body for a more attractive overall appearance. Women between 35 and 50 years of age are the most common liposuction patients, though we routinely perform the procedure on men and women over 18 years of age in our San Antonio plastic surgery office. For all patients, we explain what to expect during theliposuction recovery process and how to maximize results, long-term.

The Day after Liposuction

Expect to feel very sore the day following your liposuction procedure. You will be able to move around and function, but you’ll experience side effects that could include inflammation, swelling, discomfort, nausea, and dizziness. Wear your compression garments for a minimum of 24 hours after your procedure - longer if the surgeon deems necessary. Plan to rest the day after surgery, but do not neglect occasional walks to deter blood clots from forming. The surgeon may prescribe antibiotics and pain medication, which you should take as directed. If you do not have prescription pain medication, opt for Tylenol instead of aspirin or ibuprofen.

The Second Day After Liposuction

By day two post-op, you should be walking more, but you may feel tired and worn down for the next five to seven days, or longer depending upon your body’s response to the procedure. On day two, you will also need to remove your compression garments to shower and apply fresh dressings at surgical sites. Remove the exterior garment first, wait 10 minutes for blood flow to regulate, and then remove the other garments. If you do not undress in this manner, you might experience dizziness. When removing your dressings from surgical sites, you may notice drainage; this is normal. Bruising and swelling is also to be expected. Over the next week or two, drainage will stop, bruising will disappear, and most of the swelling will subside.

Back to Work

Most liposuction patients take up to one week off from work, after surgery. However, those who have a job that does not require physical stress may return to work sooner. On the other hand, some patients refrain from work for longer than one week. Keep in mind that every person’s body heals at a different rate, so pay attention to how you feel before delving into a regular routine of work and play. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions for as long as directed, even once you feel better.

Possible Complications

If you experience high fever or headaches, notice redness, discolored discharge, and/or swelling does not subside around your surgical sites, call the office immediately. You may have an infection that requires treatment.

Maintaining Results

In most cases, patients notice results immediately following recovery, but may continue to see improved results for up to three months after the procedure. Liposuction does not guarantee lifetime results. While the newly sculpted lines of your body will remain permanently, you can still gain weight. Liposuction removes fat cells from specific areas. However, if you gain weight, you’ll simply see it in other areas. If you gain more than 10% of your weight, new fat cells may form anywhere on your body, even in areas treated with liposuction.  

Plastic Surgery and Liposuction Information

To learn more about liposuction and other plastic surgery procedures, schedule an appointment with Accent Plastic Surgery today.

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San Antonio Office

255 E Sonterra Blvd
Ste 201
San Antonio, TX 78258

Open Today 8:30am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (210) 654-9900