Liposuction is a great way to remove fat resistant to diet and exercise. But it can take time for the resulting loose skin to tighten afterwards. And if not done the right way, it may not tighten at all, according to plastic surgeon Dr. John Rosdeutscher of NuBody Concepts Nashville who has extensive experience in belly fat removal.
When should you expect your skin to tighten after liposuction? As a minimally-invasive procedure, liposuction has a fast recovery. Most patients return to their daily activities and even light exercise within 1-2 days of their procedure. But it takes longer for your skin to tighten after liposuction and your best results to show.
- First Week: Even though liposuction can remove a large amount of fat cells from your body, you may not see and feel the fat reduction immediately after your procedure. Post-operative swelling and fluid retention may make you look more bloated in the days immediately following a lipo treatment, typically peaking at 3 days post-op. The swelling usually begins to subside by the end of the first week, but in some cases it can last 6 weeks and longer.
- After 2 Weeks: By now most of the swelling has typically subsided but you may still see irregularities. You may also begin to notice loose skin in the areas treated with liposuction. This is normal and your skin will continue to tighten over the next 2-3 months.
- After 6 Weeks: Even though your skin will continue to tighten for up to 6 months after liposuction, by now you should see a body contour approaching 80-90% of your final results. If you are still seeing a lot of loose skin, you probably don’t have enough skin elasticity for liposuction alone to achieve the desired results.
How do I get rid of wrinkly and sagging skin after liposuction?
It can be frustrating when your skin looks worse after liposuction than it did before. But this is a very common result in patients who have undergone extreme weight loss or have high skin laxity due to pregnancy or aging.
While some plastic surgeons recommend surgical skin removal (such as a tummy tuck) to alleviate loose skin after liposuction, there is a better alternative. Dr. Rosdeutscher has seen excellent results in his patients by combining liposuction with Renuvion skin tightening, which uses radio frequency energy powered by helium plasma to contract the skin. This does not require a separate procedure, meaning liposuction patients get a 60% boost in skin contraction without having to undergo any additional treatments.
Similar results can be achieved with BodyTite, another type of radio frequency assisted lipolysis used by Dr. Mark Peters of NuBody Concepts Memphis with great success. Not only does it help tighten the skin when combined with liposuction, it can also reduce cellulite in patients with skin laxity issues.
Do compression garments help with loose skin after liposuction?
Wearing a compression garment after your liposuction procedure is your single most important piece of post-op liposuction care. This is not only true for liposuction but other procedures as well, such as skin tightening and tummy tucks.
- Encourage aesthetically-pleasing contours by keeping pressure on the area where the skin is reattaching to the muscle after the fat has been removed
- Should be worn for 8-12 weeks immediately following a liposuction procedure
- Help reduce swelling and mold the skin to your new contours
- Improve results when diligently worn, even if you’re already happy with your immediate post-op results
- Should only be taken off for showers and washing
Different surgeons may give varying instructions for how long you should wear a compression garment after liposuction. At NuBody Concepts Cosmetic Surgery in Nashville (link) and Memphis (link) we encourage patients to wear them for a minimum of 6 weeks – but longer never hurts!
Why do I have a FUPA after lipo?
FUPA stands for “Fatty Upper Pubic Area.” If you are concerned about the appearance of a FUPA after your liposuction procedure, make sure it is not simply the kind of post-operative swelling discussed above. Remember that post-op swelling may take up to six weeks, or in rare cases even longer, to subside. Also make sure you follow your plastic surgeon’s post-op instructions to keep swelling to a minimum and promote healing.
Even if this area itself wasn’t treated, swelling of the pubic mons after liposuction is common. The swelling fluid slowly makes its way down from your abdomen, meaning it can linger even as your abdomen is already looking slim and improved.
If your FUPA persists longer than 3 months, it could be due to the lack of targeted treatment of the upper pubic area by your surgeon. At this point you can simply go back for a follow-up liposuction treatment, ideally combined with skin tightening, to remove the fatty cells that cause swelling in the upper pubic area.
For more info, read our detailed guide on liposuction recovery.
If you have any other questions about skin tightening after liposuction, please contact us. We’re always happy to help! If you are ready to move forward with your belly fat removal, simply schedule a consultation with our plastic surgeon by clicking below.