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What to expect after liposuction – a look at recovery and results


what to expect after liposuction

Many people struggle with excess body fat every day. When a healthy diet and exercise fail to get rid of fat bulges, liposuction is often a good option to achieve their desired body contour. Liposuction can target many areas, such as the abdominal region, thighs and hips.

Unfortunately, some men and women may have unrealistic expectations for their liposuction procedure, and when their desired results are not immediately achieved, they often feel as though the surgery was not successful. Knowing what to expect after the procedure and following your plastic surgeon's after-care instructions can help you achieve the desired results.

What happens after the liposuction?

After the procedure, you can expect to feel mild discomfort, and see bruising, redness and swelling. Prescribed medications can help ease the discomfort. You may be instructed to wear a compression garment to help reduce swelling and promote healing. Swelling usually starts to go down by the end of the first week but wearing the compression garments should continue until week four or as otherwise directed. Some degree of swelling may last for as long as six weeks, but within a few days, you should be comfortable enough to return to work.

Will I have scars?

During the liposuction procedure, small incisions are made in order to remove the excess fat cells. These incisions are small and made in inconspicuous areas whenever possible, so they are less noticeable. You should receive after-care incision instructions to care for them after the procedure. These instructions should help to ensure that the incisions heal with minimal scarring.

How can I help promote healing and good results?

While liposuction removes a certain number of fat cells in the treatment area for good, the remaining cells can continue to store fat and grow in size. Following a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and participating in a regular exercise routine (once your surgeon clears you to do so) can help promote healing, maintain a healthy body weight and help you achieve your desired body contour after the swelling goes down.

Will I see results right away?

Chances are, you probably won't see the results you want right after your procedure. If anything, for a short while you may feel as if you have gained weight or are looking larger in the area treated. While liposuction can remove up to 10 pounds of fat cells during a procedure, fluid retention and swelling can cause you to look bloated. As the swelling goes down, you can begin to see results.

You may also notice that some of your skin is loose in the area treated with liposuction. Loose skin can firm up over time. However, depending on a variety of factors, such as age or how much fat was removed, surgical intervention may be necessary to tighten up the skin. Every person is different and your plastic surgeon can talk with you about skin tightening as part of your body contouring procedure if warranted.

Depending on how much fat is removed, you can expect to see final results between 1-3 months after the procedure.

How do I maintain my new look?

It's important to keep in mind that liposuction results are not necessarily permanent. While the fat cells are removed from your body for good, some fat cells still remain and can grow. It's up to you to take good care of yourself so that you can enjoy your slimmer look for a long time. Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water and follow a regular exercise routine. You can begin simple walking soon after the procedure and within a few weeks be ready to begin a low-intensity workout routine and build up from there.

Liposuction can remove stubborn excess body fat and help you achieve your desired body contour, but it is essential to have realistic expectations and know that maintaining your new look long-term requires a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.


The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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