Liposuction is consistently one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. In fact, statistics compiled by The Aesthetic Society show surgeons performed liposuction more than any other procedure in 2021, with nearly 500,000 surgeries. Liposuction’s popularity is understandable; the procedure requires minimal incisions and creates excellent results.
Those results, though, may take some time to become fully apparent. During the initial recovery, you may actually feel like there’s been no change or that the treatment area appears larger than before the procedure. Rest assured, that bloated appearance is temporary and caused by the fluid retention and swelling that occurs after surgery.
Even though every patient’s experience following liposuction is unique, here is a general timeline for your recovery and how soon you’ll see the results of your procedure.
Liposuction Recovery & Results Timeline
Even though liposuction is less invasive than most other plastic surgery procedures, it is surgery and requires some time to recover. Closely following our post-op instructions is the best way to shorten your recovery time. Another factor influencing your recovery and when you’ll see results is the area that was treated. The recovery time for neck liposuction, for example, is going to be different than if a patient undergoes abdominal liposuction that removes several pounds of fatty tissue.
The type of liposuction performed also affects your recovery timeline. I often use MicroAire’s PAL® Power-Assisted Liposuction System to make fat removal gentler and recovery easier.
Immediately After Procedure
You’ll return home wearing a compression garment around the treatment area. These specialized garments help the healing process by reducing swelling and shaping the skin to the body’s new contours. You should expect to wear this garment nearly 24/7 for a few weeks, although the exact length of time varies.
Days 2 to 4
Swelling and discomfort typically peak during this time. Prescription pain medication can manage any discomfort you experience during this time. Even though you should limit physical activity, it’s important to take short walks around your home to boost circulation. We explain more about how to encourage healing after liposuction in our related blog post.
Weeks 1 to 2
You may be able to return to work at this point if your job doesn’t require strenuous physical activity. Continue wearing the compression garment most of the day and night. The swelling begins to resolve but not enough to see your results.
Weeks 2 to 5
You’ll start feeling back to normal during this time, with your incisions healed and most of the swelling gone. At about a month post-op, you can resume moderate exercise. It’s tempting to push yourself physically, but it’s best to ease back into your exercise routine and listen to your body. At this point, you’ll begin to see the changes in your body’s contours.
Week 6 and Beyond
All your patience has paid off, and your results should be noticeable. Compression garments are no longer needed, and your workouts can increase intensity. If you have some loose skin in the treatment area after having fat removed, you may want to consider a nonsurgical treatment such as laser skin tightening.
If you want to learn more about liposuction in New York, please get in touch with our plastic surgery offices in Westchester, Long Island, or Manhattan. You can request a consultation using the online form or by calling (914) 423-9000.