How Long Is Recovery After Liposuction Plastic Surgery?

Plastic Surgery Silver Spring, MD

Also called lipoplasty, suction lipectomy, liposculpture or lipo, liposuction is a minimally invasive plastic surgery that involves removing excess fat from a localized part of the body using a thin, hollow tube called a cannula. Liposuction is not an alternative to weight loss and exercise. It is not practical for removing cellulite or tightening loose or saggy skin.

About liposuction

The plastic surgeon will insert the cannula through incisions created in different areas of the body, move it around to loosen surplus fat and suction it with a vacuum or a cannula-attached syringe. The treated part of the body will look slimmer and more contoured.

People who opt for liposuction must be in good health and have one or more areas of their body that do not yield to dieting or exercise. Liposuction usually focuses on areas of the thighs, abdomen, back, arms, hips, flanks, buttocks, chest, calves, face and ankles. The surgeon may perform liposuction alone or together with other surgeries such as abdominoplasty.

Recovering from plastic surgery

Following the liposuction procedure and before going into the recovery, the medical team will place the patient in a compression garment that was custom made for the patient before the surgery. The patient will be discharged from the recovery room about an hour later.

The medical team will monitor the patient in the recovery room. They will check their vital signs, including oxygen levels and blood pressure. The patient will also be monitored for symptoms of dizziness or nausea.

In the first 24 hours after the procedure

Patients are required to get supplies ahead of their return home. These should consist of:

  • Pillows to rest on
  • Bottled water
  • Comfortable, loose clothing
  • Dark towels to absorb leaking fluids
  • Soda crackers for nausea
  • Pain medication

In the first 24 hours after the procedure, the patient will notice a fluid discharge from the small incisions created for the procedure. This is normal and is not a reason for worry. The patient will experience soreness or bruising for the first few days after the plastic surgery.

The first week after surgery

For the first week after the surgery, the patient will need to wear the compression garment, drink fluids and avoid a shower or bath. The patient needs to shift position every two hours to stop the formation of blood clots. Moving helps to keep fluids flowing in the body and alleviate the swelling.

On the fifth day, the patient will need to go back to the office for a checkup visit. The doctor will remove the compression garment to examine the patient. For the next 10 days, the patient will need to keep wearing the garment 24 hours per day and only remove it for showering. It will be possible to exercise mildly by stretching and walking.

The bottom line

The patient can typically return to work two weeks after the plastic surgery. By the third and fourth week, the patient can wear the compression garment for 12 hours daily. They can resume normal activities and exercise. It may take several months before the swelling finally heals, and the results of the liposuction completely manifest.

Request an appointment here: or call The Physicians Group SC at (240) 330-1815 for an appointment in our Silver Spring office.

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