The Complete Liposuction Recovery Guide

What to Expect After Liposuction: Recovery Tips

Liposuction recovery: one of the most important aspects of this procedure. While preparing to get liposuction, you should really consider how your body will recover from it. Why is it so important for you to learn more and be prepared for recovery? Well, given that liposuction is one of the most effective ways for men and women to get rid of stubborn (and unwanted) fat and finish sculpting the bodies they’ve worked so hard for, there is an abundance of information highlighting the jaw-dropping results you’ll get. It’s true: if diet and exercise couldn’t do it, liposuction surely can. However, knowing what to expect after liposuction is just as important as knowing that your stubborn love handles will finally disappear! Read along to be better prepared and let us help you learn what goes on in your body after having a liposuction!

The team at VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center gathered important information from both patients and doctors to help you get ready and know what to expect after this all-time favorite body contouring plastic surgery. Welcome to our complete Liposuction Recovery Guide!

Liposuction and Recovery: The Basics

As you plan your liposuction, you should go over your aesthetic goals with your doctor. This can help you and your surgeon determine the areas that will undergo treatment as well as the liposuction technique that’s best for you. Depending on whether you have an ultrasound-assisted liposuction, laser liposuction, or power-assisted liposuction, it’s important that you go over the different recovery process for each type method..

Our VIDA surgeons also take special time to discuss the liposuction recovery time and process with you. We believe it’s super important for our patients to know what they are going to feel and see once it’s time to head home, ready to enjoy their newly sculpted body.


How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

Alongside our team of VIDA surgeons, we created a liposuction recovery timeline, to help manage your expectations regarding pain, discomfort and routine changes after the procedure. When asked to sum it all up, plastic surgeon Dr. Juan Carlos Fuentes, who has been performing cosmetic surgeries for more than 20 years, said: “Most of our patients go back to their regular routines within 3 to 5 days, with the exception of working out, which we allow 2 to 3 weeks after liposuction.” He also reminded us that it’s a different process for every patient. So, with this in mind, let’s look at a more detailed timeline:


Liposuction Recovery Time

1 to 3 days after liposuction. Depending on the type of liposuction you get, you will either have the option of going home once the anesthesia wears off or will be asked to spend your first post-op night at our comfy recovery boutique. According to our patients, these first days are when you’ll be most uncomfortable. To help with this, your doctor will recommend you  rest and avoid strenuous activities. Swelling after liposuction is completely normal, and you’ll notice it more during these first days.

1 to 2 weeks after liposuction. During this period, patients notice the most improvement! If everything goes as anticipated, you’ll be cleared to go back to work and resume other daily activities, avoiding exercise and heavy lifting. During the second week post-surgery, swelling, pain, and discomfort continue to decrease gradually and constantly. While the incisions from liposuction are incredibly small, you should not forget about them. Follow your surgeon’s instructions and monitor them for any redness or signs of infection.

3 to 5 weeks after liposuction. Our doctors expect that any pain, tightness or general soreness will be completely gone by week 5. Happily, our patients agree! During this period of time, you can also go back to working out, as long as you keep it low impact. It’s important to note that while the area treated might not bother you at this point, you might still see some swelling and bruising. Some patients feel so great that they’re tempted to skip their follow-up appointment. After all, the pain is gone, the swelling is barely noticeable anymore.

1.5 to 12 months after liposuction. In some cases, depending on how your body reacts to liposuction, it might take up to 12 months for the last bit of swelling to disappear from the treated area completely. This is normal and shouldn’t cause you substantial pain or discomfort. If you feel like the swelling does not subside, always ask your VIDA surgeon.


Liposuction recovery tips: 6 things you need to know

  1. Medication. In order to help you be more comfortable during recovery, your doctor will prescribe you pain medication. To be gentle to your stomach, always take pain medication with food. As long as you don’t skip a dose and follow the surgeon’s instructions, your recovery will be basically pain-free.
  2. Showering. Be prepared: you’ll have to go without a shower for a couple of days! Around 3 days after surgery, most patients are allowed to take a shower. If you’re feeling too sore, enlist some help from a friend or family member. Also, don’t forget about your incisions. In order to protect them from getting wet and consequently infected, apply your surgeon’s approved antibiotic ointment.
  3. Compression garments. Wear the compression garments as prescribed by the doctor. These will help you feel more comfortable and also serve as extra protection to your incisions and swollen areas.
  4. Diet. Depending on how you feel, you can go back to your regular diet the day after liposuction. However, it’s best to stick to a soft or liquid diet during the first days. Your body will thank you – particularly if you had liposuction in your tummy.
  5. Smoking and drinking. Smoking is completely off the table during the first 3 weeks after liposuction. When you smoke, you’re risking your body and increasing the chance to develop complications. Avoid smoking and smokers for 3 weeks…at least! During this time, alcohol is also a hard no. Especially because you don’t want to mix it with pain medication!
  6. Pain. Liposuction Recovery pain is something that a lot of patients feel anxious about. We asked our very own Dr. Fuentes, who shared the following information: “Liposuction recovery feels like the day after you’ve worked out. You feel sore. If you get liposuction done in several areas, yes, you’ll be more uncomfortable. But this is certainly not a painful process.” There you have it! Rest assured that as long as you follow the doctor’s instructions, the pain and tightness after liposuction will subside before you know it.


Bonus: How to Speed Up Liposuction Recovery.

Remember, that just because your incisions are tiny or you don’t feel sore, your body isn’t ready to go back to a hectic life. Usually, liposuction recovery is very straightforward, but there are definitely certain healthy habits you can follow to help. These are some of the things you can do to support your body during this healing process.

Follow your surgeon’s recovery instructions to a T. For everything from taking your medication to taking care of your incisions, listen to your surgeon. Apart from years of experience with liposuction and other cosmetic procedures, he has your health and safety in mind, always.

Choose a lifelong healthy lifestyle. After a surgery, it’s more important than ever to nourish your body, but one tip from Dr. Fuentes is to be conscious about staying healthy beyond the 3-week mark. “It’s important that you keep a healthy lifestyle, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. I always remind my patients not to think that after liposuction, if they go back to unhealthy habits, nothing will happen. You have to remain healthy to make the most out of the procedure.” Drinking plenty of water, avoiding foods that are too salty or sugary and over processed will speed up your recovery. Doing this will also help make the most of the investment you made in yourself by getting liposuction.

Catch some ZZZ’s. Make sure you have time to sleep and rest following your liposuction. While you rest, you’ll be giving your body a chance to use extra energy to heal. Also, this will allow the swelling and bruising to subside before you start doing light exercises to strengthen your body.


What not to do after liposuction.

These are some simple things to avoid while you’re recovering!

Don’t skip follow-up appointments. even if your pain or symptoms have subsided. In order to keep feeling great, wait for the all clear from your doctor.

Don’t follow non-medical advice. Considering how popular liposuction is, it’s highly likely that you know someone who’s had the procedure. We cannot stress this enough – don’t listen to recovery advice from anyone other than your plastic surgeon. Don’t skip follow-up appointments, don’t use scar vanishing ointments and do not rush your return to strenuous activities.

It’s time to say goodbye to those pesky pockets of fat! To schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, learn more about liposuction and the recovery process, contact us now or call us at (619)738-2144.

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.