How long does it take to recover from a fat transfer procedure?
Your surgeon will let you know how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. Your surgeon will also give you and your caregiver detailed instructions about your postoperative care after your surgery, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Typical symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complications
It is important that you follow all the patient care instructions your surgeon provides. It is also important to know that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
See options for short-term recovery locations in aftercare and recovery.
What can I expect during my fat transfer recovery?
Your recovery time will vary depending on how much fat is removed and the number of liposuction incision sites. For example, your recovery time will likely be shorter for a facial fat transfer and longer for fat grafting to augment your breasts or buttocks.
- When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain.
- You will likely need to wear compression garments to keep your skin compressed. Your surgeon will tell you how long to wear these, usually for weeks. Some surgeons provide these garments, but others will tell you where to purchase them before your surgery.
- Your incisions may be leaky or drain fluids for several days. In some cases, your surgeon will insert a drainage tube to drain fluid away from the wound. Before leaving for home, you (or someone looking after you) should feel capable of emptying and resetting the drains.
- During the first week, your swelling and bruising will be significant, and you will not be ready to see others socially or professionally.
- In the second week, the bruising resolves, but you will still have swelling. You will likely see the greatest improvement between the seventh and tenth days, but you may still not be ready to go out in public. If you can only take off one week of work, try to plan your surgery to include two full weekends for recovery. If you can, try to take at least two weeks off.
- By the third week, you will begin to look more like yourself. If you had facial face injections, you can carefully apply makeup to camouflage any residual signs of swelling or bruising.
- Once the swelling recedes, you will be able to appreciate the results, but subtle swelling may persist for weeks.