FAQ's about body lift recovery
For healthy patients in the hands of an experienced, highly trained plastic surgeon, body lift surgery after weight loss is a safe procedure that dramatically improves contours and comfort. Still, it’s a major affair. You need to prepare for considerable downtime during recovery. Here’s the lowdown.
How will I feel after surgery?
All the key facts you need
Your surgery will take place in the comfort of our private, on-site surgery center. When you wake from anesthesia, you’ll be groggy and disoriented, and things will feel stiff and weird, but we administer a pain medication at the end of surgery to help keep pain to a minimum.
You’ll be wrapped in bandages or compression garments for support. You may also have drains placed at your incision sites to help collect fluid. These help reduce pressure and swelling and you’ll feel a lot better with them than without them.
Is body lift recovery painful?
You won’t be terribly comfy at first. The first 3-4 days are the worst. Pain meds can help. By the end of the first week, you’ll notice each day gets better and better. Numbness and mild tolerable soreness may stick around for a few months. We want you to get plenty of rest during the first few days, but we also want you to get up and walk around at intervals as soon as possible.
After a body lift, when will I be allowed to…
- Take a shower? You may need to take sponge baths for the first several days. Once you’re cleared to shower, get help getting in and out of the tub.
- Go back to work? Depends on the procedures you’re having, but expect 3 to 4 weeks away from a desk job and at least 6 weeks away from physical work.
- Drive? Expect 1 to 2 weeks. You need to be off pain meds and able to perform all driving tasks comfortably and without hesitation.
- Ditch the drains? Our surgeons usually remove drains within 7 to 10 days at a follow-up appointment.
- Take care of my kids? No lifting heavy objects or straining for at least 6 weeks after a body lift. Get help with childcare. Our mommy makeover recovery Q&A has good info on this topic.
- Start exercising again? You should be able to ease back into an exercise routine starting about 6 weeks after surgery. Wear your compression duds until your doctor agrees it’s okay to go without.
When are body lift results final?
Post-op swelling is most significant the first month or so. It’ll drop quite a bit after this time, and you’ll look great! However, residual swelling can hang on for up to a year, so be patient.
Scars can continue to fade for up to 2 years, but most patients are comfortable with their scar appearance well before that. Your compression garments are your best friend—wearing them helps your scars heal neat and flat.
How long will body contouring results last?
We intend body contouring after weight loss to be a one and done deal. As long as your weight remains stable, your results will last. The fine print:
- A body lift won’t prevent aging and the normal changes in skin tone and elasticity that come with it.
- Getting pregnant after a body lift is safe for you and baby, but it will affect your breast and body contours.
- If you’re getting breast implants, you’ll need to pay attention to routine maintenance—most implants need to be replaced at some point.
Have more questions? Why not ask a board certified plastic surgeon in person?