After liposuction, recovery can last either days or months, depending on the size of the treated area. Keeping your figure after liposuction is not a foregone conclusion though.
Many people believe that they will no longer have to exercise and maintain a proper diet after liposuction. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While liposuction effectively trims fat from specific, targeted areas, fat can return to areas that have been treated by this procedure. In fact, studies have shown that patients who do not follow a healthy diet or exercise after liposuction are about three times more likely to gain weight again.
Recovery During the First Few Weeks after Liposuction Surgery
Doctors advise their patients to wear compression garments for at least the first several days after liposuction to speed recovery time. After a few weeks, most patients feel comfortable enough to remove their compression garment, their bodies returning to a normal usually after two weeks.
Some patients report pain the day after their liposuction surgery. Usually, this discomfort is minor and may be relieved with pain medication or by simply walking around. In less than a week after liposuction, most patients are able to move and walk normally, even returning to work with minimal discomfort.
In the first several days after tumescent liposuction, the anesthetic solution from surgery drains from the incisions. This drainage is to be expected. It actually facilitates healing from liposuction and reduces recovery time. Patients should take showers instead of baths for about a week after liposuction. During this time, swelling, bruising, and numbness will begin to go away.
Swelling During the First Several Months
Although swelling will continue to go down over the months after liposuction, eventually revealing the final result, recovery time will be extended if the area of treatment is larger or more intensive than normal. The skin surrounding the treated area may seem loose, but it will tighten with time. Depending on the skin's elasticity, which is a determined by age and genetics, skin should tighten in six months' time.
Liposuction patients should continue to monitor their incision sites in case of infection, and probably have check-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor healing. Excessive swelling can sometimes be a sign of other risks or side-effects, so it's important to communicate with your surgeon after liposuction to ensure everything is going smoothly.
Can I Gain the Weight Back after Liposuction?
Yes. While liposuction is an excellent way to reduce excess body fat in specific areas, the removal of certain fat cells is by no means a guarantee against weight gain. Adults have a fixed number of fat cells in their bodies, so the fat cells that are removed during liposuction will not regenerate. However, if patients do not observe a healthy diet and exercise routine after liposuction, the remaining fat cells can still grow and contribute to weight gain.
Patients may also find that, if they do not make alterations to their exercise and diet routines after liposuction, they are more apt to gain weight in areas of their bodies that were not previously problematic, where the fat cells were left unaltered by their procedure.
The most successful and satisfied patients are those who use their liposuction procedure as motivation to develop healthier eating and exercise habits.
How Soon Can I Exercise after Liposuction?
This depends. Before exercising again after liposuction, patients should consult their surgeons for specific and individual guidelines for liposuction recovery.
Most plastic surgeons encourage patients to begin a gentle walking routine within three to four days of their liposuction. Mild exercise after liposuction is a critical defense against the formation of blood clots in the legs and other post-surgical complications.
Patients can usually begin to increase their levels of activity within two weeks of their liposuction, but vigorous exercise after liposuction should be avoided for at least the first month to give the body time to heal.
Should I Follow a Diet after Liposuction?
Patients should try to maintain a healthy diet after liposuction. Since liposuction does not permanently cure weight gain, patients who wish to maintain their liposuction results should diet and exercise properly.
There is no set diet that a person should follow after liposuction though, no more than anyone who is trying to keep a balanced diet who hasn't received liposuction. Many patients use liposuction as a way to jump-start a healthier lifestyle, using their physical and financial investment in the procedure as motivation to take better care of their bodies.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view liposuction before and after photos.
Photo credit: Aesthetic Day Surgery
Talk to a Liposuction Surgeon Near You to Learn More
If you are considering liposuction to help shape and contour your body, you should understand that it is not a cure for excess body fat. Patients who undergo liposuction still need to maintain a healthy exercise and diet routine after liposuction. For further information on how to maintain your figure after liposuction, use our online directory to contact a cosmetic surgeon in your area.