Recovering From Liposuction: What Can I Expect?

Liposuction is one of the most dramatic and effective methods of sculpting your body into its ideal shape. As you age, fat deposits settle, typically around your midsection, thighs and buttocks, resisting your efforts to reduce them through diet and exercise. Reshaping through liposuction isn’t a weight-loss method, but rather a surgical reimagining of your body profile.

Whether to have liposuction surgery, however, is a personal decision with a potentially major impact on your life. Any surgery has risks, so your informed decision balances these against the benefits. Because of its impact on your life, recovery from liposuction is an important part of the decision-making process. Ultimately, the success of your procedure depends on the appropriate attention to its recovery steps.

Immediately following your surgery

Once the lipoplasty procedure is completed, you’re typically fitted with elastic bandages or a compression garment to cover the treatment area. This helps minimize inflammation and “sets” the skin around your new shape. You may also have drains placed to temporarily reduce the buildup of fluids beneath the incisions. Both blood and lymphatic fluid could otherwise accumulate as a normal byproduct of surgery.

Going home after surgery

This depends on the procedure you have, and the anesthetic support used during your liposuction. Local anesthetics require less postoperative recovery, so you can usually leave within 30 minutes of your procedure. General anesthetics require up to three hours of recovery time before you can leave. Be sure to arrange transportation ahead of your liposuction appointment.

Wound care

Keep your incisions clean and, except while showering, dry. Make sure to wash your hands before changing dressings or touching the incision area. You can discontinue dressings once the incision stops draining for about 24 hours.

The post-op check-up

This depends on your procedure and the extent of the liposuction. Usually, a post-op appointment follows in about a week in cases where sutures are used, both for their removal and for inspection of the incision. For less invasive procedures, the check-up may be only a few days later. In some cases, follow-up may be done by phone or avoided altogether if there are no complications or concerns.

Bed rest

Typically, you’re not confined to bed for more than a few hours after even major liposuction surgery. The impact of your procedure shouldn’t make mobility difficult, and motion helps your circulation and healing. Of course, you should avoid strenuous activity such as exercise or lifting immediately after your procedure. You’ll be advised about an activity schedule suitable for following your surgery.

Returning to work

Much depends on the type of work you do. Office-based desk work usually requires only a few days of rest before you can return. Heavier work, including lifting or standing for long periods of time, may need longer before your return. The number of treatment areas during your procedure may also affect your return-to-work time.

Returning to exercise

Prepare to scale back your typical routine. After a few days, you can attempt about 25% of your pre-surgery exercise level, working back to a full workout over a week or two. Discuss your exercise routine with Dr. Ku, in case certain motions or activities should be avoided.

Part of your liposuction consultation will include specific recovery instructions for your procedure, such as medications, general post-op care, and any exceptions that might apply to your surgery. If you have any questions, contact the team at Precision Plastic Surgery by phone or online.

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