If you are considering liposuction, you are likely concerned about the recovery process. This procedure, sometimes called liposculpture or lipo, offers the potential to improve both appearance and self-confidence.
We find that our patients have very little discomfort following the procedure, because we administer local anesthetic to all the areas where liposuction is performed. With this pain medicine on board, the body generates few if any pain signals. As with most plastic surgery, the discomfort level is highest in the first days after the liposuction procedure. Pain medications are sometimes used to help people overcome the pain, and it is important that you accept the reality that healing is a gradual process. Improvement comes in small advances each day until the desirable results of liposuction replace the discomfort of the procedure.
Often, in the beginning of your recovery, you will be fitted with a snug elastic garment. Snug but stretchy garments over the treated body area are very helpful for controlling swelling and shaping your skin to the new contours of your body. Another method for controlling swelling is light activity, and you will be advised to get up and walk around as soon as reasonable after your liposuction. Walking will also reduce the chance of blood clots forming in your legs. We tell all our patients that there is no bedrest following the procedure: Get up and walk!
After just a few days, most of out liposuction patients tell us that they begin to feel better, and if your experience follows these typical results, you will be back to work in a few days. Although you can expect to return to a moderate level of activity in two weeks, this does not mean that your healing is complete.
Here are a few points to remember in the typical liposuction recovery experience:
- Shape change will be noticeable quite soon after liposuction, but the final result of your desired body shape may take a few months to appear while residual swelling goes away.
- Your stitches will dissolve naturally in 10 days to two weeks.
- You should avoid strenuous activity for at least a month, depending on how extensive your liposuction was and the rate of your recovery as assessed by surgeon.
- Bruising and major swelling may be present for one to two weeks before fading.
- Minor swelling can persist for up to six months or more.
Of course, unusual symptoms like a sudden increase in pain should be reported immediately to your plastic surgeon. Even if you experience nothing abnormal during your recovery process, you will meet with your plastic surgeon on routine follow up visits so your progress can be monitored. As the swelling goes away you will be able to assess the results of your liposuction to determine if you have achieved the shape you were seeking. Going back for an additional Manhattan liposuction procedure to fine tune your contours may be an option.
Overall, it is important that you approach liposuction with realistic expectations about your recovery. It is not a difficult procedure from which to recover, but you will need to be patient as your sleeker body emerges.