Liposuction Recovery: Timeline For What To Expect

Liposuction Recovery

Liposuction offers an effective way to contour the figure by removing stubborn pockets of fat. However, many patients want to know how their body will heal after liposuction, and how to best prepare for surgery.

In this article we will explore liposuction recovery, giving you helpful tips and tricks to help you heal effectively and comfortably after surgery. 

Dr. Omar Tillo is an award-winning body contouring surgeon and CREO’s medical director. With Dr. Tillo, we offer comprehensive aftercare to ensure proper healing after surgery as well as exceptional results. Contact us today to book a consultation with Dr. Tillo, and find out how a bespoke liposuction procedure can help you unveil a more defined figure.

Liposuction Recovery: Timeline For What To Expect Medically reviewed by Dr. Omar Tillo MD, MS, EBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast)

Understanding Liposuction Procedure

Liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, is a surgical procedure to permanently remove unwanted body fat and stubborn fat cells from targeted areas of the body. As a result, patients can enjoy a more toned and sculpted physique. 

Target Areas for Liposuction

Liposuction is a popular cosmetic surgery treatment that can be used across many different areas of the body for both men and women.

For female patients, liposuction is often used in areas including the hips and waist, thighs, abdomen, back, arms and chin. For male patients, liposuction can also be used to enhance the masculine form by targeting stubborn fat around the abdomen and chest. 

How Different Types of Liposuction Affect Recovery Process

Different types of liposuction procedures can have varying effects on the recovery process. At CREO, we found that Power-Assisted Liposuction (PAL) as the mechanical assistance of the vibrating cannula can reduce trauma to the treatment area which makes your recovery easier. 

Liposuction Recovery Stages

When Anaesthetic Wears Off

Liposuction can be completed under deep sedation or general anaesthetic, which should gradually wear off within the first 24 hours after treatment. During this time, you will need to be watched by an adult or chaperone. 

As the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience some discomfort around the treatment area(s), which can be managed with either over the counter or prescription pain relief, where required. 

You may also notice other side effects such as swelling, bruising and numbness around the treatment area which should gradually subside. 

3 Days Post-Surgery

Within a few days after surgery, most liposuction patients find that side effects are beginning to subside enough that they feel able to return to light, daily activities, including office work. 

First 2 Weeks Post-Surgery

It’s important to avoid strenuous activity for the first 2-3 weeks after liposuction surgery, and other activity that may put additional stress or pressure on the incision sites. This can reduce the risk of wound breakdown, scarring and delayed healing. 

Weeks 3 to 5

After three weeks, you should be healed enough to resume more strenuous activity. It’s important to do this slowly and gradually to prevent complications. At this stage, any side effects should have also significantly dissipated.   

Week 6 and Beyond

After six weeks, you should be cleared by Dr. Tillo to remove your compression garment. It can, however, take up to 12 weeks for a full recovery, where the incision sites have completely healed. 

How Soon Will I Notice Results

Immediately after the cosmetic procedure, you should be able to notice that the treated area appears flatter and more toned. However, you will need to wait until all swelling has dissipated before you can fully appreciate the final results of your liposuction procedure, which can take up to 6-12 weeks. However, in some cases, results can take up to 24 weeks to become fully apparent. 

Recovery Tips for Optimal Healing

Compression for Comfort and Healing

You will be provided with a compression garment for the treatment area which will need to be worn for the first six weeks after surgery. This can help to manage post-surgical swelling and any associated discomfort. 

Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

Ensuring that your body has all the required nutrients and is sufficiently hydrated is essential for your overall health, and for providing the conditions for a smooth recovery. In addition, by consuming a healthy and balanced diet, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight which is essential in achieving the best possible results. 

Light Exercise and Mobility

Engaging in light exercises such as walking is important for your circulation and can help to reduce swelling and risk of blood clot around the treatment area as lymphatic drainage is stimulated. In addition, light exercise, alongside a healthy diet, can help you avoid weight fluctuations which may impact your body shape. 

However, it’s important to start exercising slowly and gradually build up to more intense activity as your body heals. 

Pain Relief and Inflammation Management

After surgery, you may experience some pain and discomfort as your body recovers. This can be managed using over the counter or prescription pain relief, which will be provided by your doctor where needed. 

You will also be provided with a compression garment to manage swelling after surgery which can help to reduce any associated discomfort. 

Lymphatic Massages

Lymphatic massages are an effective way to manage swelling around the treatment area by promoting lymphatic drainage. This helps to move any fluid build up away from the surgical site, speeding up your recovery.

Prepare Your Home

It’s essential to plan for your recovery by preparing your home accordingly. Ensure that you have a comfortable space to rest after surgery, and that any pet or child care is covered while you heal. 

What to Avoid During Recovery


After surgery, you will be unable to drive until you are sufficiently healed. You will need to wait until you can comfortably wear a seatbelt and have the mobility required to operate the car properly. As such, your doctor will clear you when he believes you are safe to drive. 

Eating Junk Food

Sticking to a healthy diet and avoiding junk food is necessary after surgery to give your body all the nutrients it needs for a speedy recovery. 

Intense Exercise

It’s important that you avoid intense exercise in the initial stages of recovery as you may place excess strain on your incision sites. This can cause wound breakdown and delay the healing process. Instead, wait until your doctor clears you for more vigorous activity, which should be 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Taking Baths and Showering

Avoid soaking the treatment area while you recover as this may cause damage to the sutures. Instead, you can maintain the hygiene of the treatment area by carefully using a sponge with water to keep the area clean. 

Smoking and Drinking

Smoking and drinking after surgery can increase your risk of complications. Therefore, avoid consuming alcohol and smoking for at least four weeks after surgery to ensure a smoother recovery. 

Potential Risks and Symptoms

Infection Prevention

Keeping the incision sites clean after plastic surgery is essential in preventing infection. Maintaining proper hygiene by gently washing the area and changing any dressings as advised by your doctor can help to reduce the risk of infection. 

Recognizing and Addressing Complications

Make sure to report any changes in your healing to your doctor, particularly if you note severe pain, swelling and bruising after surgery. In addition, be aware of, and report, any signs of infection such as sensitivity, warmth and redness around the incision sites. 

When To Speak With Your Doctor

Speak to your doctor immediately if you notice the signs of infection or other side effects that have significantly worsened. By addressing complications early, you can reduce the risk of wound breakdown and can ensure that your results are not affected by delayed healing.

Schedule a Consultation at CREO Clinic Today

Liposuction Recovery FAQs

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

You will be able to return to most light, daily activities within a few days of your liposuction procedure, but will need to avoid more strenuous activities for 2-3 weeks. A full recovery is usually expected 12 weeks after surgery.

What activities should I avoid during liposuction recovery?

As you heal, you should avoid placing additional pressure on your incision sites. You should also avoid any vigorous, strenuous activity that may strain the treatment area until your doctor has found you to be adequately healed. 

Can I wear compression garments after liposuction, and why?

You will need to wear a compression garment for the first six weeks after surgery to minimise swelling and any associated discomfort. 

When can I start exercising after liposuction?

Most patients are able to return to exercise 2-3 weeks after their liposuction procedure. 

What are the signs of complications I should watch for after liposuction?

Be aware of any excessive swelling, bruising and pain, as well as signs of infection like warmth and redness around the incision sites. In addition, changes in skin colour and numbness or tingling should be reported to your doctor for further assessment.