How long does it take to recover from a plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss?
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 & Recovery.
What can I expect immediately after my plastic surgeon for weight loss procedures?
Below are some basic precautions and instructions to help your recovery go as smoothly as possible. However, you should get instructions specific to you from your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
For more thorough details, see tummy tuck, breast lift, breast reduction, breast augmentation, gynecomastia, liposuction, and lower body lift.
- When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or lasts long, contact your surgeon.
- You will also have some swelling after the surgery. In some cases, this swelling will remain for weeks or even months.
- You can generally expect to wear bandages and compression garments, and you may have some surgical drains.
- Arrange for someone to help you get around the house and help with your medication for at least the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Make sure you continue to have help at home—this cannot be stressed enough. You may be tempted to help around the house, but you won't feel like yourself for one or two weeks, and you 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 two weeks.
- Ask your surgeon how to sleep, including the proper use of pillows to minimize the tension on your incisions, reduce pain and facilitate a thinner scar.
- Call your surgeon immediately if you notice an increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage or bleeding in the surgical area or if you develop fever, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. Other red flags include shortness of breath, chest pains, and unusual heartbeat.
- Your surgeon will likely supply you with a surgical bra to wear early in your recovery after a breast reduction or breast lift to help support your breasts. Most swelling should subside within a few weeks, although swelling may persist for up to four months after breast reduction.
- You will need to wear an abdominal binder after a tummy tuck. You may shower once the dressing, sponges and gauze pads are removed. This usually occurs within 72 hours. After showering, pat your incisions dry and replace your abdominal binder.
What can I expect during the first few weeks of my post-bariatric surgery recovery?
Your recovery will depend on the specific procedures you undergo. When you combine procedures, the benefit is a single recovery time, but your recovery may be more intense. The first week will be the worst, and you may still feel like you are recovering for two to three weeks.
- You may experience discomfort, swelling and numbness. You may be up and walking within hours of surgery, but you will need to recuperate for several weeks or longer, depending on how much surgery you undergo.
- The recovery period is significant and can be intense the first few days. You can speak with your surgeon about using a pain pump and medications to control pain and discomfort so that you can move about and sleep as needed.
- You will likely go for a follow-up evaluation with your surgeon within five days. During this visit, your surgeon can remove the drainage tubes.
- By the end of the first week, you should be walking around the house frequently, but you will still be unable to drive. You may be comfortable enough to drive a car in two or three weeks or when all of your sutures and drains are removed.
- Avoid heavy lifting, contact sports and jogging for up to six weeks.
What can I expect later in my post-bariatric surgery recovery?
- You will probably need to wait six weeks after surgery before attempting any strenuous activities.
- Swelling and numbness may take months to resolve.
- The results are apparent within three months.
- Fading and flattening of scars take three months to two years.