Body contouring procedures are one of my areas of expertise. I like that they are technically challenging as well as artistically stimulating. These procedures also pack a lot of bang for the buck. A well-executed breast augmentation or liposuction to the abdomen, for example, can actually alter the appearance of your entire torso. And while the physical benefits are substantial, one of the most satisfying aspects of my job is when my body contouring patients share how they feel more confident, energetic, and happy in their skin after surgery. The only major drawback to surgery, for most patients, is the recovery. All surgical procedures, and many non-surgical ones as well, require some downtime for your body to heal. This is why planning for your body contouring recovery is critical, especially if you are having the procedure done before a milestone event such as a big birthday, anniversary, wedding, or graduation. Here is what you can expect:
Breast Augmentation Recovery
Now that summer events are back on the calendar, many of my Boston area patients are focused on how they want to look in a:
- Bathing suit
- Strapless dress
- Cleavage baring top
Adding volume to your breasts with a breast implant is a simple, effective way to improve your body contour. The initial recovery for a straightforward breast augmentation is about 2-3 weeks until you are back to all normal activities except aggressive upper body exercises. You won’t be able to drive for the first week, and you may need pain medicine for 3-5 days. So, while you will notice the improvement in how you look in your bathing suit top after week 1, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months for all of your post-operative swelling to subside. Typically, patients attain 75% of their healing by the 3-month mark. However, if you are having your procedure before a big event, I think it’s best to give yourself at least 6 months between surgery and your event just to be safe. Also, it’s important to take this recovery time into account if you are going to be fitted for a wedding dress or any other special piece of clothing.
Liposuction is one of the most popular body contouring procedures for both my male and female patients thanks to its versatility. I can remove excess “pinchable” fat from almost anywhere on the body including the:
- Beneath the chin
- Upper arms
Pinchable fat is the type of fat that you can grab with your fingers, and pull away from the body. This is not to be confused with visceral fat of the abdomen which is deep fat that wraps your organs. The latter can only be addressed through changes in your diet and exercise routine. Recovery from liposuction is going to depend on a number of factors including:
- Number of target areas
- Amount of fat to be removed
- Type of anesthesia used
During your initial body contouring consultation, I can give you a more precise recovery calendar, but, in general, you will need to wear some type of compression garment 24 hours a day for 2-3 weeks following your procedure.
This garment may be removed for showering. As with the breast augmentation, however, it can take up to 6 months for all of the swelling to subside. Assuming that your weight stays stable or goes down, you can expect to see 75% of your final result by 3 months, and 100% by 6 months. This is why I encourage patients to schedule liposuction 6 months to a year prior to their event as I like to build in time for any subsequent “tweak’s”. My goal with any body contouring procedure is for you to look and feel like the best version of yourself.
Tummy Tuck Recovery
A tummy tuck is going to require the most downtime of any stand-alone surgical procedure. The improvement to the look of your abdomen, however, is worth it for most patients. Bottom line, you are going to be limited in your movement for at least 2-4 weeks following surgery. I always advise patients to bring in help during this time especially if you take care of children, pets or elderly parents. After this initial recovery, you can slowly start to return to your normal routine with the exception of abdominal exercises. I advice my abdominoplasty patients to wait about 4-6 weeks before trying any type of core exercise. Again, if you are scheduling this surgery before a special occasion in which you want to show off your new, flatter abdomen, you’ll want to give yourself at least 6 months, possibly more, to fully recover. Having said that, you will notice a huge improvement by 3 months.
Mommy Makeover Recovery
Mommy Makeover is a moniker to describe any combination of procedures. While it typically includes some type of breast surgery and a tummy tuck, many patients also require liposuction and fat grafting to the breast and/or buttocks. The goal is to restore your ideal torso from the front, back and sides. The recovery from a Mommy Makeover is, therefore, completely dependent on which procedures we decide to pursue. Since it always includes more than one, however, the recovery typically takes a bit longer. Also, depending on the number of different surgeries, they may need to be performed in stages which will obviously lengthen your overall recovery time. This is a procedure where it’s best to give yourself 9 months to a year before a big event if possible. As I pride myself on being extremely honest with my patients about what to expect following surgery, I can give you a more realistic timeframe after I assess your anatomy and needs during your initial consultation.
To find out more about body contouring, or any other surgical or non-surgical procedure with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.