How long does it take to recover from a lower body lift?
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
Follow all the patient care instructions your surgeon provides. This includes information about wearing compression garments and the level of activity that is safe for you. Your surgeon will alert you to the signs of problems to watch for, such as signs of infection. 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 immediately after my lower body lift surgery?
- When the anesthesia wears off, you may experience some pain. If the pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your surgeon.
- Your surgeon will cover your incision site with a dressing to keep the area clean and protected. You will also need to wear a wide elastic compression garment to reduce swelling and provide support to the skin as it tightens. You will wear this garment for several weeks.
- Depending on the extent of your lower body lift, you may have tubes in your incision to drain away fluid. Your surgeon will ask you to empty the drains a few times a day and keep track of how much fluid comes out. Your surgeon will typically remove your drains three to fourteen days after your surgery, depending on how much fluid is coming out.
- Common side effects associated with a lower body lift include redness, bruising, and swelling. These side effects usually subside in one to three weeks as your body adjusts to the new contours, and the incisions heal.
- You will likely spend a day or two in the hospital or another setting where you receive skilled nursing care. During this time, you will learn how to take care of your drains and feel comfortable walking and moving. Once you are comfortable with oral pain medications, you will be discharged.
- You should be up and walking the day after surgery, but take it slow. It is important to walk to discourage swelling and to prevent blood clots in the legs. However, avoid strenuous exercise for four to six weeks, because it can trigger unnecessary fluid retention in the treated areas.
- Ask your surgeon how to sleep, including the use of pillows, to minimize the tension on your incisions, reduce pain and facilitate a thinner scar.
- The first few days after surgery, you should rest. Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications. To prevent coughing and bleeding, do not smoke after your procedure. Do not drink alcohol for five days after surgery or while you are taking pain medication.
What can I expect during my lower body lift recovery?
- Make sure you have lots of help at home—this cannot be stressed enough. You'll be tempted to try to help around the house quickly, but you won't feel like yourself for at least two weeks, and you still shouldn't do anything strenuous, including lifting, for four to six weeks. If you have small children, you must put someone else totally in charge of their care for at least two weeks.
- You will likely have weekly follow-up visits to aid your recovery.
- Your surgeon will guide you on what activity level is appropriate based on your incision healing progress. Once the drains are removed, it will be easier to move around.
- Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication for you to take after you return home. Your pain should subside one to two weeks after your surgery.
- You will need to wear the compression garment for a few weeks after the surgery, and your surgeon may recommend that you follow a special diet.
- Your surgeon will likely remove your sutures about two weeks after surgery.
- Full healing of the circumferential incisions may take four weeks or even longer.
- Wound separations may occur, delaying wound healing (but rarely requiring further surgery).
- You will need to take at least two to three weeks off from work and restrict normal activities for four to six weeks.
- You will have to wait approximately six to eight weeks before you can resume exercise.
- Although the scars will be permanent, they will fade in about twelve months and you should be able to hide them with clothing.