How Long Is Liposuction Recovery?

The recovery from liposuction is a long one but for most, well worth it. Let's dig into the full recovery timeline.

Liposuction isn’t instant gratification. It’s a long game.

In fact, it can take up to a year post-op to see final results. Those results are permanent and well worth the wait, but if you’re hoping to have your final results for a specific event, you’ll need to plan ahead.

Mommy makeover before and after photo/Breast augmentation and 360 liposuction before and after photo by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Pyle at Amelia Raleigh
Breast augmentation and 360 liposuction before and after photo by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Pyle at Amelia Raleigh

Let’s walk through the full liposuction recovery timeline. 

For larger areas like the abdomen and back, most people take 5-7 days of downtime, 6 weeks of restrictions and recovery guidelines, and see final results around 12 months post-op. 

However, for a smaller area, like chin liposuction recovery, people typically can return to work after 2 days and tend to see final results much earlier than other parts of the body.

To learn more about removing excess fat cells and body contour with liposuction surgery, watch the full series in the free Bustmob Academy app

Double chin liposuction, also known as submental liposuction, before and after photo by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rafi Fredman of Amelia St. Louis
Double chin liposuction, also known as submental liposuction, before and after photo by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Rafi Fredman of Amelia St. Louis

For most liposuction procedures in which large pockets of fat are removed, you can expect that for at least six weeks, you’ll have guidelines and restrictions such as: 

  • Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting 
  • No swimming/ submerging in water
  • Wear a compression garment
  • Stay hydrated
  • Incorporate gently movements as recommended by your surgeon

Let’s talk about what to expect in a typical recovery.

Sometimes the recovery time from liposuction surprises people.

Because tumescent liposuction, the preferred method at Amelia Aesthetics, has such tiny incisions and permanent results, it’s hard to believe that an incision that small could make for such a long recovery period. 

However, it’s less about the incision and more about the swelling, which is your body’s reaction to the “trauma” of removing fat.

Though we wish we could tell you otherwise, swelling is normal and very much a part of the normal healing process. 

Better to know ahead of time than be caught off guard, right?

For at least the first 3 months post-op you can expect:

  • Lots of Swelling and Puffiness
  • Bruising and Tenderness
  • Lumps, Bumps, and Itchiness

Though uncomfortable and can certainly make it hard to believe fat was actually removed, all of these things are totally normal in liposuction surgery recovery.

Recovery has an emotional side.

These very normal, but jarring responses, can take an emotional toll during recovery. Think about it.

We took a part of your body that you didn’t love to begin with, and sort of made it look worse. 

Getting emotional support is so important throughout the entire plastic surgery journey, including recovery. 

The Bustmob Community is home to thousands of women around the world who are considering surgery or have had surgery and is full of women pre- and post-op offering support, kindness, and reassurance. 

Don’t forget to ask about recovery during your consultation.

Recovery is different for everyone and, as we’ve mentioned, depends on your specific liposuction procedure, surgeon, and lifestyle. 

Your consultation is the perfect time to ask your Patient Care Coordinator or plastic surgeon what your recovery time will be.

Be sure to ask things like:

  • When can I drive?
  • When can I go swimming? 
  • How long do I need to wear the compression garment? 
  • When can I shower?

Speaking of compression garments….

If you have a garment, make sure you wear it!

Compression garments after liposuction provide a little support and help reduce a lot of fluid and swelling. 

During the first week or so of your abdominal liposuction recovery, you’ll likely be asked to wear a large, industrial-style compression garment. 

Once cleared by your surgeon, most women choose to swap that bulky garment for something more comfortable, like Spanx. 

Pro tip: Consider having your liposuction surgery during the fall or winter. The cooler weather makes wearing the garment more comfortable. Plus cozy sweaters make it easy to keep the garment hidden.

Researching liposuction? We have just the thing to make it easy.

Our free Bustmob Academy is home to a full liposuction series with videos just like the one above. Get an overview of the procedure, costs, common myths, and other FAQs. 

Jenny Eden, founder of the Bustmob Community, and Gretta Nance, lead educator with over 20 years of experience at Amelia Aesthetics, guide you through everything you need to know before your consultation. 

Keeping you informed and empowered is why we’re here. Our resources make it easy to see real after photos from real women with the Bustmob GoalFinder and Amelia’s online pricing tool gives you a quote without a consultation instantly online. 

Ready to take your research to the next level? Join our community.

Get advice, support, and recovery tips from other women who get it and from the plastic surgeons of Amelia Aesthetics who volunteer their time to answer questions in the Bustmob Community. Membership is free and easy. Click here to join. 

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Jenny Eden
Founder, Bustmob Community
Gretta Nance
Lead Educator, Amelia Aesthetics
Ready to learn everything about plastic surgery?
Download Bustmob Academy