Liposuction Recovery – What To Realistically Expect
By Sadi Erfani.
Liposuction recovery is a gradual process which may classically take 6 weeks to 6 months. After the cosmetic procedure, you may experience some discomfort (“soreness”) which can be controlled by prescribed pain medications and/or muscle relaxants. The treated area will be protected and covered with special, fitted compression garments that are worn for up to several weeks to help shape your new body contours. Your Plastic Surgeon will see you on interval follow up visits after the procedure to ensure your best recovery. Suture removal of the “port” sites is generally done at 7 to 10 days after the procedure.
After liposuction surgery, swelling and bruising at the incision can remain for weeks. However, they often decrease significantly beginning at 2 weeks. Areas of swelling may variably resolve and worsen especially after strenuous activities. Strenuous activity should be restricted during the first 6 weeks of recovery. In rare cases, a “seroma” (localized fluid collection under the skin) may develop after liposuction, requiring drainage by your Plastic Surgeon.
Generally, the consistent use of appropriate compression garments has dramatically reduced swelling and bruising during procedure recovery. Additionally, massage therapists may be helpful in both contouring the treated tissues to maximize results as well as expediting the healing process by improving lymphatic drainage in the skin to help diminish local swelling.
Even though it is rare for risks to occur when the procedure is done by a trained/experienced Plastic Surgeon, there are risks to undergoing liposuction and these include:
• Prolonged swelling lasting greater than 2 months after surgery
• Seroma (excess fluid under the skin) may develop variably after surgery
• Incisions may remain red or visible for prolonged periods after surgery
• Internal organs may be punctured or damaged during the procedure (higher risk when the procedure is not done by a trained Plastic Surgeon)
• Results may be uneven on the treated areas (higher risk depending on the Surgeon’s experience and level of training)
• Prolonged inflammation of the treated areas because of trauma
• Color changes of the skin
• Permanent ripples in the treated areas (all too common when untrained physicians remove too much fat!).
After liposuction recovery, you should achieve a more desirable body contour which may be too challenging to obtain following a disciplined diet and exercise alone. Of course, recovery time correlates to each individual’s particular history and definitely varies among patients.
The decision to have Liposuction is exceedingly personal. You must decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks and have a clear understanding of what the potential outcome may be, based on consultation with your Plastic Surgeon. Without consultation with an experienced and HONEST Plastic Surgeon, you may be disappointed by the limitations of liposuction, and could possibly benefit from more invasive surgical procedures (“lifts”). You will be given numerous opportunities to inquire from your Plastic Surgeon all questions about your liposuction procedure in order to become as educated as possible before committing to this decision.