Most patients want to know immediately how long they will need to recover from a plastic surgery procedure. Questions often arise like, “how long will I be in pain?” or “when can I go back to work?” The most important thing for any person to remember is to be realistic about the recovery time. There will be discomfort and there will be periods when you need to rest and relax without doing anything strenuous. It’s hard to specifically pinpoint exactly how long it will take you to recover after a surgery simply because each person heals differently. You may experience discomfort a little longer than another patient or you may be back on your feet more quickly. You should always go into any plastic surgery procedure with a realistic outlook on recovery times. Below is a guide to full recovery. This means going beyond healing, discomfort and having to slow down your life. At the end of this period, you should be able to return to your life as normal. These procedures below do take the longest to recover.

Liposuction (up to three months)

While many patients think of this as a relatively non-invasive procedure, liposuction does take one of the longest recovery times of any cosmetic surgery. The exact time will depend on the extent of the liposuction and the area of the body where you need work. Some of the reasons why recovery will take longer include:

  • Lumps and bumps under the skin will need to smooth out.
  • Pain will come from scar tissue stretching as it heals.
  • Skin will feel tight or taught and will take time to become supple again.

Tummy Tuck (2-3 months)

A tummy tuck does take a great deal of recovery time that you will need to spend keeping to very light activities. Generally, you will need at least two months to get back to regular activities in your life and you can experience numbness in the area for up to a year.

Facelift (two months)

The bruising and swelling from a facelift will take at least a couple of months before it goes down. You may feel that you need to stay at home during the first month since you will experience discomfort. Expect some numbness around the ears for at least two months as well.

Breast Reduction (two months)

This procedure does take longer to completely heal than an augmentation because a larger incision and more sutures are required.

Breast Augmentation (six weeks)

You can’t expect your breasts to look like the final results for at least a month and a half. At that time, any swelling or bruising should go down and you should have the shape and form you were wishing for. You may expect numbness under the breasts for several months after the surgery as well.

Rhinoplasty (six weeks)

Your nose job will come along with swelling, bruising and stiffness. It will take more than a month for everything to go back to normal. Because of swelling inside your nose, your breathing could be affected for a longer period of time. Keep in mind that there is a difference between full and functional recovery. The numbers above refer to full recovery. That means you will be to the point when everything is back to normal completely. Your functional recovery could be shorter and this refers to the time when you can go back to basic daily activities. Always follow your plastic surgeon’s direction as far as returning to strenuous activity, like sports. If you have any concerns about your expected recovery time, always ask your surgeon before you make an appointment to have the procedure done.  

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