Following liposuction, most patients are able to return home immediately as this procedure is usually performed with local anesthesia. You will need someone to drive you home. Expect to spend the first several days resting, before gradually returning to your normal routines. Some patients take up to a week away from work and other obligations, while others are up and moving in just a day or two.
In general, one can expect the longest recovery periods to come with more extensive liposuction, such as large volume liposuction, while patients who have undergone micro or mini liposuction, or removal of a very small area of excess fat, typically recover faster.
Potential Side Effects of Liposuction Surgery
After liposuction surgery, expect the treated area to be sore and tender. In most cases, any discomfort can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers; if your surgery was particularly extensive, your doctor may prescribe pain medication.
Most patients find that the treated area feels as though it has been bruised. In some case, a visible bruise may also develop, while in others, the skin remains red for a few days after surgery but does not bruise.
You may notice that the treated area appears swollen; some patients find that the swelling keeps them from seeing the results of the procedure. This swelling may be uniform, or it may seem that there are lumps or bumps following liposuction. Expect these lumps to become smoother during the recovery period as your body adjusts to its new contours.
The incisions required to perform the liposuction may or may not have been closed with sutures. Depending on the type of liposuction you have undergone, injected liquid may drain from the incision sites for a few days following the surgery. Over the coming weeks and months, the incisions will heal, leaving behind pink scars that gradually fade to match the tone of the surrounding skin.
Many patients undergoing cosmetic surgery are worried about the effect that scars may have on their post-surgery results. Thankfully, liposuction results in very small scars, which can often be hidden in natural body creases. The incisions needed for liposuction vary depending on your surgical goals; talk to your surgeon about where the incisions may be located for your particular procedure.
The scars left after liposuction are a result of incisions made by the cannula as it enters the patient’s body to suction the fat from it. The number and placement of incisions is based on the area of your body being treated and how much excess fat is to be removed. It may require just one incision, or multiple incisions to enable the surgeon to access all of the excess fat in the targeted area.
Nature of liposuction scars
Depending on the size of the cannula used, the incisions required for liposuction vary from just a millimeter or two to an inch long. Often, they can be placed in less noticeable areas, such as along natural skin creases, so that any resulting scars do not interfere with the visual results of your liposuction. After liposuction, these incisions may or may not need to be closed with sutures, depending on their length. If you have undergone tumescent or water assisted liposuction, they will likely be left open to allow this liquid to drain from the incision sites for a few days. After that time, the incisions will begin to heal.
At first, the scars left behind by the incisions will be red or pink in color. They will fade to match the surrounding skin tone over the next several years. Follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to reduce the severity of scars and other liposuction side effects. Ask your doctor about medications or other methods that can help your scars heal faster.
How to minimize scars from liposuction
One way to reduce this side effect is by wearing a compression garment, which holds the treated tissues in place, helping the skin to adjust to its new contours. This elastic garment reduces strain on the incisions and can help them heal faster. While these techniques may help your incisions heal faster and the resulting scars be less noticeable, every patient’s body heals differently, and it can be difficult to predict the possible severity of scarring ahead of time.
Swelling and Water Retention After Liposuction Surgery
Many patients find swelling to be the longest-lasting side effect of their liposuction surgery. In most patients, swelling lasts up to two weeks following liposuction. However, some degree of swelling may persist for as long as six months after surgery.
Certain factors, such as a history of smoking, may increase the amount of swelling you experience following liposuction. In general, patients undergoing more extensive liposuction surgery experience more swelling than those whose liposuction was minimal. Depending on the volume of fat removed and the degree of swelling, you may not see any immediate reduction in size after liposuction surgery.
How to Reduce Swelling after Liposuction
Because the swelling tends to obscure the full results of surgery, many patients look for ways to reduce this side effect so that they can see the results of liposuction faster. Fortunately, there are several strategies for reducing swelling during the recovery period. To reduce post-surgery swelling, stay hydrated and eat a low sodium diet in order to reduce water retention. Get plenty of rest, and avoid returning to your normal activity level too fast. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are on, as they may affect fluid balance.
Some patients have found that gently massaging the treated area reduces swelling by encouraging circulation. Another method to reduce swelling is to wear a compression garment. Most surgeons advise their patients to wear this elastic garment over the treated area for the first several weeks. It provides support for the treated tissues and helps to decrease swelling and other side effects.
Follow your doctor’s instructions for post-surgery care. Doing so will ensure that your liposuction recovery is as fast as possible, and that side effects such as swelling are kept to a minimum. Within six months, all residual swelling should be gone, and the full results of your liposuction procedure will become visible.
Hard Lumps after Liposuction
Following liposuction surgery, you can expect the treated area to feel sore and tender for a week or two. Many patients describe the sensation as being similar to that of a large bruise. In some cases, the skin develops a visible bruise, while in others the skin is red, but not bruised. It can take the skin some time to adjust to the results of suctioning out the layer of fat lying directly underneath it.
While some patients fear that this is a sign that the results will be uneven, in fact the vast majority of these liposuction lumps smooth out within a matter of weeks, as the body adjusts to its new contours. Be patient when recovering from liposuction; it is important to realize that the anticipated results may not be apparent right away. The full results of your procedure will become visible about six months after the surgery, at which point all temporary side effects should have faded.
How to Reduce Bruising after Liposuction
If you want the bruising and redness to fade faster, there are a few techniques. Wear a compression over the treated area to help the tissues heal as quickly as possible. Be sure to follow your doctor’s post-surgery instructions and get plenty of rest. Doing so ensures that the liposuction recovery period is as short as possible and the side effects, such as bruising, are as minimal as possible. Within a few days of liposuction surgery, the area should be healed enough that you can cover any bruising or redness with makeup, should you feel the need to.
Ways to Minimize Liposuction Side Effects
Most patients find that their side effects dissipate over one to two weeks following liposuction. There are a few steps you can take to minimize these side effects. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest following surgery. Avoid returning to your normal activity level too soon, which can prolong swelling. Wear a compression garment, if advised to do so by your doctor. This elastic garment supports the treated tissues and helps the skin adjust to its new contours, while decreasing swelling.
Follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to reduce the risk of complications and to help your body heal faster. It is important to be patient for your body’s new contours to be revealed after surgery, as side effects could obscure the results for several weeks or months. In most cases, the full results of liposuction surgery can be seen two to three months after it is performed.
View healing from liposuction as the start of a journey, not the end of one. Patients undergoing this procedure should follow a healthy diet and exercise plan to prolong the results of their liposuction surgery. The success of your treatment depends greatly on how you care for your body’s new contours, beginning immediately after the surgery.