How Long Does it Take to Go From Lipo to Swimsuit-Ready?
June 18, 2021
With summer upon us, so is the season of shedding the layers and wearing fewer clothes, and possibly revealing parts of our bodies that we may not always be completely comfortable sharing with the world. Which is why we often get a lot of inquiries about body-sculpting procedures like liposuction at this time of year, and in particular how best to time the surgery in order to be bathing suit and beach-ready at the optimal time.
If you’re someone who’s been thinking about getting liposuction or any kind of cosmetic surgery, you’re no doubt imagining your end result: what you’ll look like, how you’ll feel, what you’ll be able to wear, and probably how others will react to the new you. This is a completely normal and natural way to think about your journey—to transport yourself into the future. We know and love that envisioning your desired outcome is what brought you to this decision in the first place.
We are sometimes a bit like a broken record about certain aspects of surgery around here, and as much as we would love our patients to have the I Dream of Jeannie powers to blink and be in the fully recovered “after” version of their before and afters, recovery and healing following liposuction (and any type of surgery for that matter) takes time and patience.
No one will tell you this more than our very own beloved post-op Nurse Lori, who’s an expert on surgical recovery times. Here’s what she has to say about liposuction recovery, timing, and getting bathing suit-ready post-surgery.
How Long Will My Liposuction Recovery Be?
Patients need to be aware of the fact that they’ll have quite a bit of swelling and bruising following liposuction, which takes about 6-8 weeks to subside.
At The Plastic Surgery Clinic it’s mandatory that our patients take one week off of work and their regular activities following liposuction. It’s really important that they take it easy during this week, meaning having a support system in place so that they’re not the ones looking after the kids or doing household chores. You really need to rest following liposuction.
At one month post-op, you can start to engage in light exercise, walking (NOT running) and then at six weeks you can engage in more strenuous forms of exercise, and you’ll find that you are feeling more or less back to normal.
Is there anything I can do to speed up the lipo healing process?
Healing is healing and it takes the time that it does. Everyone is different and some people heal faster than others. That said, there are certainly things that you can do in order to help speed up the healing process.
The key to a smooth recovery and for best results after liposuction is following your surgeon’s post-operative guidelines carefully. So taking that one week off from work and regular activities, really taking it easy for that week, and wearing your compression garment for six weeks after your surgery are all super important. Don’t be afraid of your compression garment, as it’s one of the things that will really help speed up healing, and will also feel good.
Post op massage will also really help decrease swelling and break up scar tissue caused by the procedure. Scar tissue feels lumpy and hard and it can stick around if you don’t tackle the massage as directed. Full disclosure: massaging can hurt quite a bit. It is NOT cool, we totally get it, but we really encourage our patients to massage through the pain, as massaging is temporary but your result is forever.
When can I wear a bathing suit following liposuction?
If you’re timing your surgery for the summer or around a beach vacation, you can plan to be bathing suit ready about two months following your surgery. At two months post-op it’s safe to swim and tan, and usually a lot of the swelling is gone and you won’t need to wear your compression garment anymore.
Keep in mind that your final final FINAL result is typically established one year post op. By this we mean that every last drop of swelling has resolved and all the final finesse and fine details of your liposuction surgery will show. However, most of it goes in the first two months following your procedure, which is why you can feel totally confident and free to show off on the beach at that point.
Is it safe to be in the sun following liposuction?
This a super important point. You really need to take care not to expose any part of the surgical site to the sun until two months following your surgery. After two months, it is safe to tan. However, you really need to be careful with your scars.
You don’t want any sun exposure on your scars for one year post-op, meaning lots of sunscreen, and probably best to find a suit that will keep these parts covered up. Our surgeons are experts at strategically hiding scars, but you’ll still need to take care to shield them from the sun to ensure they heal properly and are eventually almost imperceptible. Sun exposure while scars are still healing can cause them to become permanently darker or discoloured, making them much more obvious than intended.
Whether you’re planning your liposuction procedure or any other surgery, we’re here to answer all of your questions and to take care of you.
And if Lori is this helpful about post-op recovery online, can you imagine how amazing she is in person? She’s a favourite among patients for a reason! She’s always there to answer questions, provide medical information and cheerlead you through your healing experience. You can learn more about the post-op recovery process here.