Liposuction Surgery


Pain Level: Varies depending on procedure (ranges from mild to severe); 3-14 days of pain medication
Swelling: 2 weeks-2 months or more
Bruising: 2 days-2 weeks
Numbness: lasts several weeks
Bandages: Changed in 1-2 days (drains and sutures removed first 5-10 days)
Work: Return after 1-3 weeks
Exercise: Wait 2-4 weeks
Final result: Seen after 1-6 months

For faster recovery:
  • Drink adequate amounts of liquids to prevent dehydration
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for 48 hours before and after surgery
  • Wear compression garments as suggested to prevent slow healing and excessive drainage
  • Do NOT apply ice-packs or a heating pad to skin overlying the liposuctioned areas
  • Do NOT apply hydrogen peroxide or plastic Band-Aids to incision sites
  • Do NOT soak in a bath, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, or the ocean for at least 7 days after surgery in order to minimize the risk of infection
  • Reduce your risk of fainting at home by: standing up slowly after urinating, remove compression garments slowly, have assistance for your first shower, sit down if you feel dizzy or lightheaded
Recovery from liposuction can be uncomfortable, but most people are back to work within 10 days. During the first few weeks most people experience varying degrees of pain, burning, swelling and temporary numbness. Pain medications can alleviate discomfort (usually taken for 2 days - 2 weeks) and a body-compression garment will minimize swelling. You will need to refrain from any exercise other than walking for about a week after the procedure. Slowly work your way back to your old exercise routine.

Consider a massage therapist for lymphatic drainage massage to relieve swelling and possible itching (discuss this with your doctor).

Although the new shape of your body usually begins to emerge in the first few weeks, some swelling may remain for several months. Major weight gain or loss after liposuction can produce skin surface irregularities. The final result may not be clear until 6 months after surgery.

Many people assume that because liposuction permanently removes fat cells, it's impossible to regain weight in the treated areas. This is only partially true. Adults have a fixed number of fat cells, and liposuction removes some of these cells permanently. The remaining fat cells can grow bigger, especially if you do not exercise and maintain a healthy diet. This means problem spots can return. However, weight gain after liposuction will usually be distributed to other parts of your body instead of settling back into the old problem areas.

To view liposuction before and after pictures, check out our Liposuction Before and After Pictures.

Information provided is for general education about ultrasonic liposuction, tumescent liposuction and other cosmetic surgery procedures. This information is subject to change. Smart does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, and is not responsible for any actions resulting from the use of this information. General information provided in this fashion should not be construed as specific medical advice or recommendation, and is not a substitute for a consultation and physical examination by a physician. Only discussion of your individual needs with a qualified physician will determine the best method of treatment for you. All board certified plastic surgeons listed are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Board certified plastic surgeons are verified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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