What to Expect During Your Liposuction Surgery Recovery Journey


Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery performed to remove unwanted fat from your abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs. The doctor sculpts and contours these areas to remove fat cells permanently and reduce your dimensions in these areas.


Liposuction surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure if there are no complications. However, you should know what to expect after surgery and plan ahead to ensure a speedy and safe recovery journey.

Below is a traditional liposuction recovery timeline.

Timeline of Recovery After Liposuction Surgery

It is essential to note that the doctor can only safely remove a specific volume of fat (usually about five liters).

After your surgery, the initial recovery takes five to seven days, after which you can return to work. Steer clear of physical activities like exercise for four to six weeks, and resume only with your doctor’s approval. Your entire liposuction surgery recovery will take about three months, during which time the swelling should subside completely.


Note that specific timelines will vary from one person to the next, depending on age, medical history, and overall health. Do not push your body to heal faster to your expense.

Short-Term Recovery After Liposuction Surgery

After your procedure, your plastic surgeon will recommend compression garments where you had liposuction.

As the anesthetic wears off after a few hours, mild discomfort/soreness can begin. You will have pain medication to manage it. Sometimes, the surgeon may recommend an overnight stay to monitor your vitals and rule out dehydration before discharge.

After three to seven days, you will visit your plastic surgeon for a post-op appointment. This allows your surgeon the opportunity to check the incision sites and ensure healing is progressing as it should.

If you had a drain inserted at the surgical sites, your doctor will tell you how long they should remain and how you will care for them.


After this visit, the doctor may ask you to gently massage the area to smooth it over and move any stagnant/accumulated fluids. You can expect swelling to decrease gradually after some time.

Long-Term Recovery After Liposuction Surgery

In the first week, you should limit your movements as much as possible. You should notice a reduction in pain and soreness by the second week. If your job is physically active/demanding, you may need additional time before you can resume.

Around the three to five-week point, any pain/soreness should have dissipated, although you’ll still notice some swelling. You should also see visible results of the procedure, which will improve as the bruising heals and swelling subsides. You can resume light exercise with your doctor’s guidance but avoid strenuous lifting/activities.

Most of the bruising and swelling should have cleared by the six to eight-week point. It is normal to have residual swelling; give it a few more weeks.

You won’t need your compression garments after this point, and you can resume your normal activities if given the green light by your doctor.


Final Thoughts

Liposuction can be a life-changing surgery, boosting your self-confidence and enabling you to do what you couldn’t do before.

Do not rush your recovery journey, but you can support it by eating a balanced diet, hydrating well, taking a short walk every day, and avoiding strenuous activities.

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