What is the recovery after liposuction?

As with any operation, your recovery will be unique to you. Everyone has a different pain tolerance and recovers at a different rate. That being said, the recovery from liposuction is generally very tolerable.

Image courtesy of office.com

Image courtesy of office.com

  • Pain is usually less than with an abdominoplasty, C-section, or other types of surgery that go through the muscle layer. You’ll likely have moderate pain the first one to two days after surgery, and then you’ll experience more soreness than anything. Most of my patients take narcotic pain medication for the first couple of days, and then transition over to ibuprofen or Tylenol within a few days after surgery.
  • You will have a large amount of drainage from your incisions over the first 24-48 hours. This will taper off and stop by day two after surgery. This fluid is the numbing fluid which is used to break up the fat during liposuction. It is tinged with blood, so it is usually pink or red.
  • Liposuction also causes quite a bit of swelling and bruising. The bruising fades within a couple of weeks, but you will have to wear a compression garment for up to three months after surgery to help the swelling resolve.

If you are considering having liposuction, be prepared to take from several days up to a week off work, depending on how physically active your job is. Walking and light exercise are fine after the first week, but I do recommend my patients avoid any heavy cardio (e.g. running) or weightlifting for a full month after surgery.


Any questions regarding liposuction? I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Questions? I'll do my best to answer any questions left in the comments!