6 Liposuction Recovery Tips From Plastic Surgeons

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As to be expected, the weeks following liposuction are filled with some discomfort and adjusting to your new body. New York, NY plastic surgeon David P. Rapaport, MD, said the key is to “stay ahead of the pain from the beginning.” Doing this will ultimately be “conducive to an overall better recovery” following a liposuction procedure. Plastic surgeons share their best tips for a speedy and smooth recovery below.

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Return to exercise as soon as possible, but gradually.

Different doctors will advise slightly varied timing on this matter. However, what most experts agree on is that you should return to exercise as soon as possible, but take it slow. “During the first one to two weeks, your activity can increase gradually. Light exercise can begin at three weeks and no vigorous exercise until six to eight weeks post-surgery,” said Houston, TX plastic surgeon Henry A. Mentz, MD and physician assistant Nadia Hafeez.

Dr. Rapaport said patients should stretch frequently even before returning to the gym, and he encourages his patients “to be back at the gym within a week, preferably within three to five days with low impact, and build from there.” When returning to high-impact activities, such as running, Dr. Rapaport said patients should wear compression.

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Wear your compression garments.

Newport Beach, CA plastic surgeon Sanjay Grover, MD, advised that a period of wearing compression garments is beneficial. Hafeez and Dr. Mentz said they also recommend patients “wear a compression garment for at least six to eight weeks post-op.” 

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Use foam padding.

“Some surgeons will utilize foam padding in addition to compression garments to reduce post-operative swelling or fluid accumulation,” noted Dr. Grover. He added that the foam compression also helps reduce bruising that may occur.

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Consider getting a lymphatic massage.

Many of the experts recommended considering getting a lymphatic massage. “[We’re] huge advocates of post-surgical lymphatic massage,” said Hafeez and Dr. Mentz. Consult with your doctor on the proper post-operative timing before booking yours.

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Get radiofrequency therapy.

Hafeez and Dr. Mentz suggested that patients combine a lymphatic massage with radiofrequency therapy like ThermiSmooth. The treatment “helps reduce swelling, soften scar tissue, tighten skin, relieve discomfort and speed up the overall healing process.

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Keep walking.

“Early ambulatory is beneficial to prevent accumulation of fluid in the legs or ankles,” said Dr. Grover. He added that it will also help to minimize the potential for deep venous thrombosis.

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