Following the liposuction procedure, a special compression garment will be placed around the targeted treatment area to help reduce any potential swelling while also providing support for skin and tissues in the newly contoured region. This garment is not to be removed for five postoperative days, after which time patients will return to the office to have their sutures taken out and their garment replaced. The new compression garment should be worn for an additional five weeks to facilitate proper healing, but it can be removed to bathe and/or shower.
Typically performed as an outpatient operation, most individuals are able to return home the day of their liposuction procedure, though they will need to be accompanied by a close friend or family member for at least the first night. The next day, patients are often encouraged to get up and walk around on a periodical basis, but they should avoid doing so excessively so as to not put too much stress on the treatment area and incisions. With a good balance of rest and light movement throughout the initial stages of healing, most people are able to return to non-strenuous jobs and/or school after approximately one week; however, heavy lifting and more strenuous activities should be avoided for longer.
Side effects such as swelling and firmness in the targeted region may persist for approximately three to six months, but final outcomes are generally apparent by about the three month mark. Since fat cells removed during the procedure do not regenerate, results achieved via liposuction can be permanent as long as a healthy lifestyle (including a nutritious diet and regular exercise) is maintained. The remaining fat cells are, of course, capable of accumulating fat and undoing the results of liposuction if a patient regains weight.
Ultimately, it is important to note that every person heals differently, so the recovery and downtime after liposuction will vary by individual. Following a thorough evaluation, a board certified plastic surgeon can provide a more personalized outline of what you may be able to expect based on your unique needs and goals.