Here’s What To Expect During Abdomen Liposuction Recovery

If you’re considering liposuction surgery, you’ll want to know what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.  In this article, we’ll look specifically at the abdomen, and give you all the details you need to know about how it works.

What To Expect During Abdomen Liposuction Recovery

If you have unwanted fat on your body that simply won’t shrink no matter how much you diet and exercise, then you might consider liposuction to remove the cells. The surgical procedure is commonly performed on areas like the hips, thighs, buttocks, and abdomen to smooth out unwanted bulges, lumps, and rolls.

If you want to learn more about what to expect from a liposuction procedure on your midsection, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll discuss how the surgery is performed, results you can expect, and typical recovery timeline.

We’ll also share tips on how to heal quickly and maintain the results for years to come.


Once all of the dimples are removed, you’ll be cleaned up and put on a compression garment before heading home.

How Is Liposuction Performed?

liposuction procedure

Also called body contouring, the liposuction procedure can be performed a few different ways depending on which type you’re getting.

If you’re having a significant amount of fat removed, you may need to play to stay in the hospital overnight. Some smaller procedures may be done on an outpatient basis, though you’ll need to plan to have someone drive you home while you recover.

All body contouring surgeries are done under anesthesia. If you’re having a large area worked on, your doctor will recommend that you be put under general anesthesia, and you will sleep during the process. Smaller removals may be done with a local anesthesia, which means they will numb the area but you won’t be asleep when they remove the fat cells.

Regardless of which type of numbing agent is used, your surgeon will wait until it’s taken effect and you have no feeling in the area. Then, they will make small incisions in your abdomen and insert a cannula with a suction device attached to the end. The cannula is a small, stainless steel surgical tube through which the removed fat cells will pass.

Your surgeon will work the instrument between your skin and muscle to capture those fat cells, and they will essentially be sucked out via a suction pump.

In the end, your skin will have smoother lines and contours where the cells have been removed.

The time it takes to complete the procedure will vary based on the size of the area and the amount of fat that’s being eliminated.

measuring the waistline

Liposuction Techniques

The liposuction procedure is essentially the same regardless of which type you have, but there are a few differences between the techniques that are notable.  Here’s what you need to know about tumescent and ultrasound-assisted body contouring.

Tumescent Liposuction

If your surgeon uses this technique, they will start by injecting a saline solution that also has painkillers and epinephrine into the fatty areas in your abdomen they are about to address.  This makes it easier to remove the cells, and will also constrict your blood vessels to reduce blood loss and make your recovery less painful.

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

An alternative to tumescent, with this technique your surgeon will first use a machine that pumps ultrasonic energy into the affected area which liquefies those fat cells.  This makes it easier to remove them from your body during the procedure.

What Is A Typical Recovery Timeline After Liposuction?

Recovery can vary significantly from patient to patient depending on the size of the surgical site and volume of fat cells removed. Your doctor will be helpful in discussing your specific timeline, but there are some general things you should expect.

If you have an outpatient procedure, you will recover more quickly than if you have to stay the night in the hospital. You will have some bruising, soreness, and swelling in the abdomen, and it will last at least a few weeks following the surgery.

Most people can return to work within a few days but will need to wait two weeks or more before returning to other normal activities like exercise.

Here is an in-depth look at what to expect.

Two To Three Days After Surgery

The first few days after the procedure are the most uncomfortable part of the process. Most patients report moderate pain (ranked five to seven on a scale of one to ten), and pain medication is usually prescribed to help manage those symptoms.

Your doctor will also likely have you wear compression garments to help your recovery, though they may limit how easily you can move around. That’s a good thing, as you should plan to limit your physical activity to the absolute minimum during these first few days.

One To Two Weeks After Surgery

Typically, within a week or two of the procedure, your pain will start to diminish, though you may still have some discomfort that lingers through the third week.

Most people are able to go back to work as long as your job doesn’t require lifting heavy objects or vigorous activity. You’ll still need to wear compression garments and will likely have a follow up with your doctor during this time to check to make sure that your incisions look good and that your fluid drainage is happening appropriately.

Two To Five Weeks After Surgery

Most patients report that their pain has fully subsided within a month of the procedure, and the swelling will decrease by then as well. This is when you’ll start seeing your results, though bruising and swelling could last another few weeks before they fully emerge.

Your incisions should be fully healed, and by week three your doctor will likely release you for gentle exercise.

Six Weeks After Surgery

By the six week mark, your swelling and bruising should be completely gone, and your results should be fully visible. You won’t need to wear compression garments any longer, and will likely be cleared for all types of physical activities.

How Long Will The Swelling Last?

Pain and swelling is typically the most significant concern amongst patients considering liposuction.

Swelling post-surgery is totally normal, but it hinders your ability to see the results of the procedure. For most people, 90 percent of the swelling is resolved within four weeks after the surgery provided their doctor uses open-drainage, and they wear the recommended compression garments during recovery.

The open-drainage technique means that your incisions won’t be closed with stitches, and it has the quickest recovery time. However, if your surgeon uses stitches, this will trap some of the residual fluid beneath the skin, and it will take longer for the swelling to fully subside.

In these cases, you can expect it to be 90 percent resolved in between eight to 12 weeks.

The length of time the swelling persists is also determined by the type of liposuction you have. Ultrasonic-assisted is notorious for having long recovery times, and patients report significant swelling that can last for months after the procedure.

Tips To Recover Faster From Abdominal Liposuction

Your doctor will give you a list of post-op instructions, and it’s critical that you follow them to ensure you have the fastest recovery possible.  Be sure to keep all your follow-up appointments to keep you on track.


In addition to your doctor’s orders, here are some other ways to minimize your recovery time after the surgery.

Don’t Take Blood Thinning Medications

Stay away from aspirin or ibuprofen to treat your pain as they can thin your blood.  This could lead to swelling or bleeding which might prolong your recovery time.


Other substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine should also be avoided

Take Time To Rest

Although it might be tempting to jump right back into your daily routine, avoid the temptation for as long as possible. Rest is the number one ingredient that contributes to your body’s ability to heal, and you’ll want to give yourself a few weeks of freedom to relax as much as possible.

Try to get at least eight hours of sleep per night in the weeks and months following the surgery, and clear your schedule to give you time to lounge around if needed.

Drink Lots Of Fluids

Proper hydration is another key ingredient that helps your body heal, and you’ll want to be sure to drink lots of water following your procedure.  Aim for at least one ounce per pound of your bodyweight of fluid per day, and make sure at least half of that is plain water.

Eat A Nutritious Diet

The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in healthy foods give your body the energy and nutrition it needs to heal. Your doctor will likely give you dietary recommendations to follow after your procedure, but you’ll want to ensure that you eat balanced meals and stay away from added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and salts.

Instead, choose nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats for your meals.

Gentle Activity

Although you won’t want to do any high-impact or strenuous exercise in the initial weeks following your surgery, light activity like short walks can help to get your blood circulating and may help you recover faster.


Make sure to speak with your doctor and follow their guidance, and take care not to overdo it as that could set you back in the process.

Compression Garments

​Although wearing compression garments isn’t the most comfortable thing to do, they can greatly aid in reducing pain and helping to drain fluids and swelling following surgery. They’re also helpful in protecting your incisions during daily activities and can decrease your recovery time by days or weeks if used appropriately.

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