Liposuction, known colloquially as lipo, is a procedure that was invented by a French doctor in the 1920s to remove excess fat from healthy individuals. At Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center in Sacramento, CA, we offer this procedure because we believe everyone deserves the self-confidence to rock any outfit they want. Today, we’re discussing everything you need to know about the recovery process.
How Long Does it Take To Recover From Liposuction?
Liposuction recovery can take up to a year. However, it is important to understand what happens during the recovery process. Depending on your occupation, you will only need to take a week or two off from work and you may even be able to work from home. There are slight restrictions on your usual activities for up to six weeks but, for the most part, you will be able to carry on with your usual life very quickly after your procedure. We only say it can take up to a year to recover from this procedure because if you have inelastic skin it can take that long for your skin to hug your new contours.
What Does the Lipo Recovery Process Look Like?
24 Hours Post-Op
During the first 24 hours post-op, you will probably only want to sleep. During liposuction, we ensure you don’t feel any pain, discomfort or anxiety by administering general anesthesia. General anesthesia is a medication that both numbs your body and puts you to sleep. Even after the medication wears off, it is perfectly normal to feel groggy and want nothing more than a good, restorative rest. However, it is very important that you drink plenty of water. Adequate hydration is a critical part of your recovery process. To make water more palatable, diffuse fresh limes, lemons or oranges into your water.
48 Hours Post-Op
During the second day following your procedure, you will still feel pretty tired. However, if you make resting a priority, you won’t feel nearly as tired as you felt during the first day following your procedure. Keep in mind, everyone experiences recovery differently and one person can experience recovery differently following different procedures of similar scope. You may need to take frequent naps during this time to augment the sleep you get at night. This is perfectly normal and you should not resist this.
72 Hours Post-Op
You will need to wear prescription-strength compression garments as instructed during the first 72 hours following your procedure. Depending on the extent of the procedure, you may need to wear your prescription-strength compression garments for several weeks post-op. However, as your skin heals, you will be able to wear the compression garments less frequently.
You will also probably take prescription analgesics during the first 72 hours post-op to keep you comfortable as you rest and recover. During this time, listen to your body carefully. If your bowel movements change in response to the drugs, eat more fiber. There is no need to take any laxatives or stool softeners. A small change in your diet, like a bowl of high-fiber fruit between meals or eating whole-grain pasta, should be more than enough to keep you regular.
One Week Post-Op
A week after your procedure, you may return to work if you have a sedentary job. Just make sure you take regular breaks to walk. Walking is great for your circulatory system; a strong circulatory system is essential for a rapid, comfortable recovery. A strong circulatory system will send essential micronutrients through your blood to the areas targeted for fat removal. If you don’t walk regularly, your blood will circulate less often and it will take longer for your skin to get all of the nutrients it needs.
Two Weeks Post-Op
Two weeks after your procedure, you may return to work if you have a physically demanding job. However, it is important to communicate with your supervisor that you can’t lift anything over 10 pounds for the next four weeks. If your supervisor can’t accommodate that, feel free to call us a month after your procedure and advise us on how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling like you did before your procedure, you can return to lifting objects heavier than 10 pounds. Just listen to your body and rest whenever you need to.
Six Weeks Post-Op
Six weeks after your procedure you are free to resume any physically demanding activities you enjoy or need to do for work. Again, if you feel good four weeks after your procedure, it is okay to resume your usual daily activities but you must listen to your body and rest whenever you need to. This cannot be insisted upon strongly enough. If you overtax your body, you will only prolong your recovery period. If you usually push yourself to injury when working out, just wait until six weeks after your procedure. Don’t take the chance that you won’t heed the warnings being communicated by the way your body feels.
One Year Post-Op
Many people find they are satisfied with their skin hugging their contours within a few months of their procedure. Most people are satisfied with their results six months after their procedure. Nevertheless, the older you are and the unhealthier your skin is, the slower it will respond to the massive, rapid fat loss. If, after a year has passed since your procedure, you are still not satisfied with the appearance of your skin, we recommend professional skin tightening. Sometimes, skin is just too inelastic to bounce back after such a rapid, massive fat loss.
Tips for a Rapid Recovery
Luckily, there are several things you can do to make your recovery process go smoother and faster. To summarize briefly, prioritize sleep, nutrition, and hydration. Here’s a closer look at things you can do for a better recovery process.
One of the best things you can do to make your recovery more comfortable is to eat plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber. Depending on how many calories you consume daily, you should look for six to eight grams of soluble fiber in your diet daily and 19 to 22 grams of insoluble fiber in your diet daily. Take careful note of how your stomach feels during the first several days of your recovery. You may want to eat more fiber if you are taking certain prescription analgesics for your comfort during the beginning of your recovery.
Eating protein will also have a significant positive impact on your recovery experience. Up to a certain point, your skin will heal faster the more protein you eat. However, we urge you to avoid unhealthy sources of protein, like processed protein shakes and bars and fried red meat. Eating processed or fatty foods can hurt your stomach and you wouldn’t get enough crucial nutrition from the calories you would be consuming. Processed and fatty foods can be incorporated in moderation into your diet after your recovery process. During your recovery process, stick to eating healthy foods.
Drinking water is yet another way to speed up your recovery process. Ideally, you should drink between three-quarters of a gallon and a gallon of water daily. However, if you feel this is too difficult for you to stick to, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Women who have this procedure should drink at least 48 ounces of water daily and men should drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. In addition to this, we strongly urge you to sip on coffee or tea throughout the day. Although coffee and tea often contain caffeine, they do not contain enough caffeine to have a diuretic effect so they will hydrate you.
Another great way to stay hydrated after your procedure is to eat broth-based soups. Broth-based soups aren’t just very hydrating because of the high water content. They are also great for keeping you hydrated because they usually contain quite a bit of sodium so you retain a lot of the hydrating liquids you are consuming. However, there isn’t so much sodium that your blood pressure will increase excessively.
If you want a rapid, comfortable recovery, it is important to get at least nine hours of sleep per night. However, you may also need to nap regularly, particularly during the first 24 hours following your procedure if you are groggy due to the general anesthesia. We strongly urge you to nap whenever you feel yourself dozing off. Feeling very tired is fairly common during the first week of recovery because an enormous amount of energy is diverted to your skin to heal it.
Keep in mind, it is not enough to lie in bed for nine hours every night. It is extremely important that you spend plenty of time in the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of the sleep cycle. You should go through the entire sleep cycle approximately six times if you can sleep nine hours without waking up. If you wake up during the night, when you fall back asleep, you will start the sleep cycle over and you will be unable to spend enough time in the REM cycle of sleep.
Set Yourself Up for Success
To get quality sleep, hang blackout curtains from your windows if you don’t already have blackout curtains. Light is the easiest hindrance to a good night’s sleep to correct. Keeping your room dark will help you stay asleep because light signals to your circadian rhythm that it is time for you to be awake. You don’t have to turn the lights off when it gets dark outside but you should stop using blue light at least an hour before you want to fall asleep.
You should also set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by eliminating as much distracting noise as you can from your bedroom. If your partner usually stays up late listening to music through speakers attached to his computer, tell him he needs to wear a headset when you go to bed. If you have children, communicate to them that they need to let you sleep through the night unless there is an emergency.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Liposuction is a life-changing procedure. Regardless of whether you’re 30 pounds from your goal weight and need a little motivation to keep eating right or you’re happy with your weight but not certain parts of your body, this procedure can benefit you. The recovery process can take up to a year depending on your age and the health of your skin but you only need to take a maximum of two weeks off from work. Contact us at Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center in Sacramento, CA to schedule your initial consultation today and learn more.