Many people know what they want their final liposuction outcome to look like, but aren’t sure of what the healing process entails. Having a clear understanding of the timeline can help you prepare for an optimal recovery and truly appreciate your results.
What to Expect
Liposuction is typically performed on an outpatient basis, so you can expect to go home the same day of your treatment. Following your liposuction procedure, you’ll wear a compression garment over the surgical site. The garment is an important part of the healing process, as it can help to reduce swelling, reinforce the body’s new contours and keep you more comfortable. How long you wear the garment will depend upon your rate of healing as well as your surgeon’s recommendations.
Returning to Work
Most adults are able to go back to work and resume light activity within a week to 10 days after liposuction. People who had a small amount of liposuction may only require 2 to 3 days of downtime before returning to their jobs, whereas those with more extensive procedures will need more time to heal.
Light walking is encouraged immediately after surgery, to assist with blood circulation and facilitate recovery. You can slowly ramp up the pace and distance of your walking during the first 2 weeks, and should be able to get back to your regular fitness routine with few to no restrictions 6 weeks following surgery.
Swelling and Bruising
Bruising and swelling are a natural, unavoidable part of liposuction and will take some time to resolve. Immediately following liposuction, it’s not uncommon for people to actually weigh a bit more than they did prior to the surgery or for clothes to feel tighter. The post-surgical number on the scale reflects fluids still present in the body and is nothing to worry about. Wearing the recommended compression garments, limiting salt intake and engaging in light activity can help to prevent further fluid retention and expedite the healing process. You’ll likely get back to your pre-lipo weight or lower within 2 weeks of your procedure.
Lower extremities often take a bit longer to heal, due to the pull of gravity. The majority of post-lipo swelling typically goes away after 6 to 8 weeks, offering you a good glimpse of your results. The rest of the swelling will continue to gradually decline, and you should be able to enjoy the final outcome of your body contouring within 6 to 9 months.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
They say that patience is a virtue, and perhaps there’s no better test than with liposuction. There is no instant gratification or overnight remedy for the frustrating pockets of diet and exercise resistant fat, but when you know what to expect and how to help your body during its recovery, you can rest assured that in time you’ll see the long-lasting results of liposuction. By the 9 month mark, you should be ready to celebrate your beautiful new contours.