Most cosmetic surgery procedures cause swelling in the treatment area, which is a normal reaction of the body to the trauma that is surgery. Here is what there is to know for your recovery to go as smoothly as possible.

What is an oedema (postoperative swelling) ?

Oedema refers to swelling of the tissues (fluid). It is an expected consequence of surgery and liposuction is no exception.

Why does liposuction cause swelling ?

Liposuction involves introducing very thin cannulas under the skin to suction excess fat cells out of the body. This is a trauma for tissues, causing lymph to infiltrate in large amounts in the treatment area, resulting in swelling.

How can I make postoperative swelling disappear ?

After liposuction surgery, surgeons recommend wearing a compressive garment (panty, girdle) for 4 weeks in order to compress tissues and decrease postoperative swelling. To speed up swelling resorption, physiotherapy sessions can be prescribed for lymphatic drainage. These drainage and massage sessions can begin from the first days following surgery, they can help speed up the recovery and improve comfort.

Recovering from liposuction

The length of the recovery depends on the amount of fat removed during the procedure as well as the number of areas treated. Postoperative pain is usually moderate depending on the areas treated and the patient’s tolerance. Fatigue is not rare during the first days following liposuction.

In the treatment areas, bruising is also to be expected, but this resolves fairly quickly, typically in a couple of weeks. Patients can resume exercising after approximately 3 weeks with the approval of their plastic surgeon. During this period, sun exposure has to be avoided.

Liposuction results

The result starts to become visible after a month or so, but it continues to improve during a period of 6 months, which is when the definitive result can be seen. Swelling prevents patients from seeing this result during the first months. Also, skin needs time to retract progressively over the new contours.

Liposuction results are durable since fat deposits are permanently removed, but patients still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent their result from changing.