Everything You NEED To Know About Liposuction Recovery

Body Care, Procedures

Trying to decide if Liposuction surgery is right for you? Time after any surgery can be a bit challenging. So, what about Liposuction Recovery?

In this article you will learn everything there is to know about recovering from Liposuction. SInce the time of writing, we have some other modern lipo procedures, that can change the recovery times due to technological advancements. These include HD liposuction procedures and Vaser liposuction for example.

Scheduling a consultation probably is the best thing you could do to learn about this process but reading this article is close second:

  1. You will learn about the recovery process – from few hours after the surgery to 1st month and beyond,
  2. All question on how your life after the surgery will look like, also will be answered,
  3. Last but not least, you will learn how to recover faster and how to maintain your new looks.

If by any chance, you’ve had your Liposuction surgery but accidentally fall asleep during the initial consultation with your Cosmetic Surgeon, then we got you covered. This article recaps the most important points you should know about the lipo recovery process and FAQ section covers the questions you should have asked during the consultation.

What you need to know about your liposuction recovery 

Mild to moderate bruising can happen after PAL liposuction. Many clients notice the bruising improving in a short period after using Arnica tablets, roughly one week before the surgery and for a couple of weeks after. 

Will I have scars after Liposuction?

Most of the anxiety patients experience before surgery comes from a lack of information and fear of the unknown. In this article, we will provide as much information as possible, gathered from our patients and years of experience in the hope that it will help you in your recovery time.

We are going to talk about what to expect after liposuction surgery based on both local or general anaesthesia (including small procedures like chin liposuction or areas with special consideration). Then we shall discuss what to expect in the short and long term, along with how to make your recovery as smooth as possible.

What the recovery process looks like

The recovery process after the liposuction varies from patient to patient but in short this is what you can expect:

  1. Mild bruising and swelling after the procedure
  2. Some itchiness as you begin to heal
  3. Manageable pain with prescribed medication
  4. Rest and low-impact activities
  5. A slow return to your normal routine

How the first 24 hours look after Liposuction 

It was reported that patients experience itchiness once the tissues start to heal, and the skin begins to retract and shrink. Mild itchiness can be due to dryness of the skin or irritation from the garment, and it is recommended to use a moisturiser to minimise it.

Excessive itchiness or pain, persistent nausea, and fever are not normal after liposuction and should be reported urgently. General recommendations are the same for all areas, while liposuction of the abdomen should avoid sitting up straight for two weeks after surgery and keep 45 degrees while sitting. This is to prevent a horizontal dent in the middle of the abdomen.

First 48 hours after Liposuction

If you had your surgery under general anaesthesia, you will wake up on the day surgery bed with a nurse looking after you. She will keep checking the monitors to make sure that your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen are all normal while updating you about your progress.

When the patient is under general anaesthesia, they feel nothing but when the procedure is done under local anaesthesia we have a different protocol.

We will also ask you about your pain score every now and then. Your pain score is scaled from zero to ten, with zero being no pain while ten meaning pain as bad as a broken ankle or giving birth.

Support lines to help during your recovery

Please do not hesitate to let the nurse know at any time if you are in pain so we can provide pain relief if appropriate. The other common complaints are shivers and nausea; again, please inform the nurse if you experience any of these.

Once you are fully conscious and can stand, the nurse will ask you to move and sit on the recliner chair, calling someone to come and collect you. You will need to arrange for a relative or a friend to pick you up after surgery as we will not proceed with the surgery unless this is confirmed, and they can stay with you overnight. These instructions are stringent, direct from the Department of Health, for your safety.

Managing your pain during recovery

The numbing tumescent lessens your pain directly after surgery, but after a few hours, the effect of the tumescent wears off, and the prescribed painkillers are then recommended before you experience any pain and regularly every 4-6 hours. This is particularly important in the first one to two days. We will also provide an option of a spare garment as it is recommended strictly not to have a shower for five days after surgery and not to remove the garment.

First week after Liposuction

In the first week, you may experience some dizziness or feel faint if you stand from sitting or lying down too fast. We advise you to sit on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes, then stand up slowly. For the first couple of days, someone may need to help you go to the toilet to ensure you don’t pass out.

It is recommended to start massaging the area operated on as soon as possible; we will demonstrate that during your pre-surgery consultation and in the provided information video.

First month and beyond

It is vital that you wear a compression garment. You will likely notice that any pain should have fully subsided around the two-week mark post-liposuction procedure. The results of the procedure should also start to become noticeable with all incisions fully healed with only some light bruising or swelling remaining.

It will help significantly if you avoid intensive exercise until given the all-clear. Typically, swelling and bruising should have resolved with no more need to wear compression garments. High impact exercises will likely be fine at this point as well.

The role of a good diet is vital to a quick recovery after liposuction. It will help reduce swelling, and the incorporation of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients help your body to regain its strength.

Keep the following diet rules in mind

  • Reduce salt as it encourages the body to retain water worsening swelling. Choose foods that are low in sodium
  • Increase your intake of protein
  • Decrease your intake of sugar as it will suppress your immune system
  • Consume small amounts of food to avoid nausea or bloating
  • Increase fruits such as watermelon, strawberry, grapefruit, celery and zucchini

How long is the recovery process

This will vary with each patient and their healing abilities, but a rough time frame minimum is one month before you will feel as though you are yourself again. Lifestyle factors and how you manage your recovery will contribute to this timeframe.

What happens after the liposuction?

It is essential to rest for the first 24 hours following any form of liposuction surgery, after which light exercises can speed up the body’s healing process. Intensive training should be avoided for the first few weeks, and proper hydration is vital during the entire recovery phase.

Aim for 10-12 glasses of water per day. Other beverages such as tea, and diluted fruit juice can help, but sports drinks such as Gatorade should be avoided as they contain high amounts of sodium.

How can I help promote healing and good results?

You should aim for effective pain management. Make sure that the wound is healing properly and the swelling is under control. Remember it would be taking several months before the swelling subsides completely. Recovery involves realistic expectations about your newly-acquired body shape and also, a great deal of patience.

Take Pain Medication

It is most common to experience a certain amount of pain post the liposuction process. It is essential to manage pain because only then can you recover, rest and start increasing your activities. Most patients are advised to have acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief. However, depending on the extent and the kind of liposuction, doctors may advise stronger pain medication. Consult your physician before taking Ibuprofen and Naproxen.

Keep Wearing Compression garments and Elastic Bandages

After liposuction you should wear elastic bandages and a compression garment for effectively reducing bruising and swelling. The gentle support offered by compression could help relieve your pain to an extent. Usually, a patient is required to wear these compression garments for quite a number of weeks after a liposuction procedure.

Get Back to Your Usual Lifestyle Slowly

It may take many weeks before you return to your normal activities. You are encouraged by surgeons to start walking shortly after liposuction to promote body healing. Most patients go back to their usual work within just a few days. They start exercising within a couple of weeks. You must follow your doctor’s dictates. Consult your doctor before returning to your usual activities such as work, sex, driving and performing sports or taking part in other leisure activities.

Take Good Care of Your Incisions with a compression garment

It would take a couple of weeks for your wound to heal. You could be prescribed antibiotics for preventing infections. Follow all instructions regarding covering and bandaging the wounds. Keep the wounds dry. Do not soak your wounds during the healing period and so it is best to avoid pools and bathtubs. Your doctor would be removing your stitches or drains. Remember to treat it as serious and get immediate medical attention, if your wounds are swollen, red, warm, bleeding, draining excessive fluid or beginning to open up.

Watch Out for Complications

It is essential to be completely aware of all possible complications. In case there is any complication, feel free to call up your doctor if you develop fever, acute pain or too much swelling. Follow the dictates of your doctor.

How do I maintain my new look?

To maintain your new look you have to ensure a healthy diet and active lifestyle post-procedure to maintain your new look.

Patients gaining a small amount of weight will experience an increase of the size of other parts of the body and to a lesser extent in the liposuction area. Patients put on 10% or more of their body weight will experience fat cells showing in all areas of the body, including treated areas.

The downtime of roughly one to two weeks that follows liposuction is based on the amount of fat removed, and while it is only day surgery that is required, you will need a family member or friend to bring you home and act as a carer for the first few days.

FAQ section

For short, straight to the point answers to most stressing questions, have a look at the FAQ section.

What is the fastest way to recover from liposuction?

The fastest way to recover from liposuction is to ensure plenty of rest, mitigate your pain with medication and follow all directions provided to you by the surgeon.

How long after the liposuction procedure does it stop hurting?

The time frame after your procedure that liposuction stops hurting will vary with every patient. There are some common side-effects that patients experience after their procedure, like bruising, which are completely normal and no cause for alarm. To help lower the severity of this, we strongly recommend that you stop any medications that you may be taking which thin the blood a week before surgery. These can often include aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications.

Arnica tablets, taken one week before your surgery and two weeks after can also help to diminish the amount of swelling and bruising you experience. Some studies do consider this to be a placebo, however.

How long should I take off work for liposuction recovery?

You should take roughly one to two weeks off work. This will, of course, vary based on the number of areas you are targeting and the amount of fat removed.

Another important point to consider is how you will get to and from the day surgery for the procedure. You will be unable to drive yourself home and it is always a good idea to have a family member or friend act as your carer for the first few days after surgery.

How long do you stay swollen after lipo?

You will stay swollen for roughly one month after liposuction however this will vary for each patient due to their individual ability to heal.


Disclaimer: Losing weight through natural methods and regular exercise offers more health benefits compared to liposuction. We strongly encourage patients to pursue their goals using natural and healthy approaches before contemplating liposuction. It’s important to note that liposuction is not a method for weight loss; while it may result in a reduction in dress or pants sizes, the scale may not reflect a significant difference.

Also, before deciding on any treatment, it’s important to have realistic expectations about the outcome. Talk to your practitioner about what to expect from the treatment and make sure you understand your recovery time and the likely results.