Activities to Avoid After Your Liposuction Procedure

Written by Virginia Surgical Arts on .
Activities to Avoid After Your Liposuction Procedure
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Around 300,000 people undergo liposuction procedures every year in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Liposuction surgery is considered safe; though like any procedure, it carries its own set of risks and requirements for the recovery process. Once you go through the process of getting rid of excess fat in specific areas of the body, it is vital to follow the aftercare instructions for the liposuction recovery process.

The professionals at Virginia Surgical Arts are here to provide several types of body contouring, fat transfer, and other cosmetic procedures should you seek more than lipo. Contact us today for more information about liposuction surgery and other procedures to help you look and feel your best.

What Occurs Right After a Liposuction Procedure?

What happens immediately post-liposuction depends on the type of anesthesia you receive. At Virginia Surgical Arts, thankfully the procedure will always be outpatient with no need to be observed overnight at a hospital, and IV anesthesia is rarely needed with today’s latest techniques. There will be stitches in the area where you got liposuction; these will be removed during your recovery period at a follow-up appointment. Bruising, soreness, and numbness will likely be present immediately after your liposuction procedure. Soreness can last for several weeks during the recovery period.

How Long Do You Need to Rest After Liposuction?

The total recovery time after liposuction can vary from person to person. Generally, however, in the first 24–72 hours of recovery after liposuction, it is important to get lots of rest and to wear compression garments provided by your cosmetic

surgeons. A compression garment is vital to the body contouring process and will help keep your stitches intact and prevent additional injuries and infections in the incisions.

Any physical activities you engage in during this period should be extremely limited. The key is to give your incisions a few days to knit properly.

What is the Full Timeline for Recovery?

While every procedure and patient is different, the general timeline for follow-ups and recovery includes the following. Consult with your doctor, however, for your specific recovery period.  

  • 48–72 hours post-surgery: Pain and discomfort will be present; your doctor may prescribe pain medication, and you should wear your compression garment at all times as directed.
  • Up to two weeks post-surgery: You may still feel some pain and discomfort, but you may be able to return to work. During this time, avoid strenuous activities. Keep wearing the compression garment and monitor your incisions.  Thankfully drainage is completed in the first 2 days after the procedure.
  • Up to two weeks post-surgery: Your pain should have subsided and you should begin to notice results. Incisions should be healed. Some bruising and swelling may still be present. Most patients can resume moderate exercise, though intensive exercise should still be avoided until you get the OK from your doctor.
  • four weeks and beyond post-surgery: By now, all bruising and swelling should resolve, and you can see nearly full results. You no longer need to wear compression garments and can engage in all normal activities again.

For more information on what post-procedure recovery looks like, call Virginia Surgical Arts at 757-430-7690 or use our online contact form to schedule a consult today.

What Should You Avoid After Liposuction?

After liposuction, you should avoid specific foods and certain activities until the healing process is complete. Some of the most important recovery tips involve what not to do, as much as they involve what to do. While recovering, avoid the following foods and activities:

  • Fast food
  • Sugary or processed food
  • Fried food
  • Staying stationary
  • Taking blood thinners
  • Bathing
  • Strenuous activity
  • Dehydration

Fast Food

Avoid fast food, which is heavy in calories and fat and involves a lot of artificial ingredients, cholesterol, and other chemicals that are just generally unhealthy. Fast food can hinder your immune system and also bolster the growth of fat cells, which is counterproductive to liposuction results.

Sugary or Processed Food

The truth about sugar is that it is poison to the body. This is the case regardless of whether you have had liposuction, cosmetic surgery, or any other procedure. Sugar turns into fat in the body and is counterproductive to your recovery. Processed foods are filled with chemicals, cholesterol, and fats that also make it harder to recover.

Fried Food

The same warnings apply to fried food. Fried food is full of fat and cholesterol. It hinders your immune system, gets in the way of the healing process, and pumps more fat into your body when the whole point of getting liposuction was to eliminate fat.

Staying Stationary

Remaining completely sedentary is not recommended. You will need to gradually build up your level of activity to keep the blood flowing, avoid blood clots, and keep your strength up. Especially during the first few days, try to walk from room to room in your house. Light activity can help your circulatory and lymphatic systems, while staying too sedentary after surgery carries the risk of a pulmonary embolism, or PE. This can be deadly. Try to take short walks and engage in light activity to very gradually build your strength back up.

Taking Blood Thinners

Your cosmetic surgeon may recommend pain medication after surgery, but you should avoid blood thinners, especially after liposuction procedures. Just as you want to avoid blood clots, you also want to avoid taking blood-thinning medications within a week of surgery. This includes Ibuprofen. Such medications can carry the risk of excessive dangerous bleeding.

Soaking in the Bathtub

Showering will depend on whether your dressing is waterproof or not. Regardless, taking a bath is a bad idea. Do not soak in still water for at least four weeks after surgery. This can increase your risk of infection. You also should not shower during the period when you are supposed to be wearing your compression garment.

Strenuous Activity

While light activity is important, you should avoid strenuous activity. Do not lift heavy objects; listen to your doctor’s advice on the level of lifting you can do at any given time. Jogging and running should also be avoided. Even long, brisk walks can carry the risk of breaking your stitches and opening your incisions, increasing the risk of additional injury or infection.


Hydration is extremely important. Your body needs plenty of water to ensure that the healing process proceeds. Water can help flush the anesthesia from the surgery out of your system. It can also help replenish the fluids you lose from your wounds and bolster your lymphatic system. The common wisdom is to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You may need more; your doctor can give you advice on how many glasses to drink.

Water can also help reduce the risk of post-operative swelling since you should not apply heating or cooling pads to the incision. Water carries tons of benefits in the healing process as you approach the final results of your surgery.

What Can I Do After Liposuction to Help the Results?

One of the most important things to do after liposuction to reach your desired final results is to eat a healthy diet. This includes staying hydrated, as mentioned above, but you also want to eat whole foods that are nutritionally dense. You want foods that are protein-rich to help promote cell growth and speed up the regenerating of skin and muscle tissues.

A few examples of the kinds of foods you should eat include whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans, dark and leafy greens, fish, and chicken. Your doctor may also want you to take nutritional supplements like magnesium and vitamin D. Vitamin D in particular is key for creating peptides that help your immune system fight off infections and is a vitamin from which many people suffer a critical deficiency. Magnesium, by comparison, is important to help reduce inflammation.

Some specific foods that can help you get the nutrients you need include skin-on potatoes, beans, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cashews, salmon, spinach, egg yolks, Swiss cheese, avocado, and dark chocolate. Again, avoid processed and sugary foods as well as refined grains. White bread, rice, crackers, hot dogs, deli meats, and baked goods are not good choices.

Why is Scheduling a Follow-up Important?

Follow-up appointments are critical after your surgery. These appointments allow doctors to check your progress. They can take a look at your incisions and stitches, check your body shape, and ensure that you are not in danger of an infection or any internal risks like blood clots or circulatory issues. Follow-up appointments are not just for informational purposes; they have been known to save lives when unforeseen complications arise.

Remember that liposuction, though a safe and low-risk procedure, is still a form of surgery, and it requires careful follow-up and aftercare to ensure that everything goes according to plan. Any decisions your doctor issues after you have surgery should be followed.

Our Staff Can Help You Heal Properly From Lipo

Dr. Sergio Vendetti and his qualified, experienced team of professionals at Virginia Surgical Arts are ready to help you look and feel your best in all ways. Our surgical arts team offers extensive training and skills with medical licensure and a patient-first philosophy. Our mission is to ensure that every patient gets dedicated, personalized care that improves their self-confidence, self-image, and wellness. Our facility is modern, comfortable, and welcoming, and offers accessibility options for those in need.

If you are ready to enjoy the benefits of a better body and improved self-esteem, our liposuction surgery services could be the answer. Call us at 757-430-7690 or use our online contact form to schedule a consult today.

Written By Virginia Surgical Arts

Our oral and cosmetic surgery facility in Virginia Beach serves all of Hampton Roads and offers oral/facial reconstruction, bone grafting, and facial and body rejuvenation. We are fully licensed and accredited. When you are ready to begin truly appreciating and evoking the real you, Virginia Surgical Arts is here–ready to work with you.