Recovery After Liposuction

First day instructions

  • Send Dr. Yates photos and any questions
  • Get up and walk
  • A fair amount of incisional bleeding and drainage is normal.
  • Bruising and swelling are normal and will last for weeks
  • GARMENT – You will wear the provided garment for three weeks
  • You can take the garment off to shower. 
  • FOAM – Sometimes Dr. Yates will apply a foam dressing under the garment.   This should be worn for approximately one week
  • Get off the pain medications as soon as possible
  • Take antibiotics as prescribed
  • Take stool softeners if you are taking any narcotics
  • Take the single dose of Gabapentin if prescribed
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stay active, minimal bed rest is better for a safe and quick recovery
  • Your next visit is at three weeks.   In-person or online.

Three-week instructions

  • Send Dr. Yates photos and any questions
  • You are able to resume physical work and moderate exercise
  • Full exercise at 6 weeks
  • The liposuction areas are still a little swollen but nearing the final size
  • MASSAGE – Massage is controversial.  Some plastic surgeons believe it is helpful and some believe it is harmful.   Dr. Yates believes massage can be helpful to minimize pain and sensitivity for some patients but isn’t necessary for nice results.   In the event that there are minimal pain and swelling, Dr. Yates prefers no massage.  
  • Situations where Dr. Yates RECOMMENDS MASSAGE 
    • Situations with more than typical pain
    • Situations with more than typically swelling
    • Areas of irregularity in the first 3 months 
    • The patient prefers active participation in their healing and simply prefers to do massage
    • Massage after liposuction has two components:  1) Lymphatic massage and 2) Massage of treated areas
    • Lymphatic massage stimulates the lymphatic system to clear the body of healing byproducts and swelling.   Lymphatic massage is best done under the direction of a certified lymphatic massage therapist but can be done by the patient with some training.   Here is an instructional link to a webpage created by a certified lymphatic massage therapist.  
    • Massage of the treated areas simply involves lightly massaging the treated areas with flat fingers or palm in a circular motion to help desensitize the skin and encourage swelling resolution.   This should not be done aggressively as it can cause more harm than good.
  • Z wave therapy – For areas where the body is creating an excess of swelling we can consider extracorporeal shock wave therapy (Z wave).   
  • You may change to second stage garments at approximately 3 weeks.   Examples of good second stage garments are Spanx, Flexees, Marena, or M&D.   All can be found online. 
  • The goal of the second stage garment is swelling control and comfort.   These can be worn as long as you would like but most patients find little advantage after 6 weeks.
  • Please share your experience on a review site or social media 🙂
  • Schedule an online or in-person follow-up visit at 3 months.

Three-month instructions

  • You have no limitations.   Check-in with Dr. Yates with photos and any questions


  • You have no limitations.   Check-in with Dr. Yates with photos and any questions
  • Return to the office for postoperative photos
  • Leave a kind review 🙂
  • Share a bikini or similar photo for us to share on our “real patient” photo gallery:)

General Recovery Tips

Minimizing Bruising and Swelling

Bruising and swelling occurs with almost every surgical procedure. Usually, the swelling lasts for only a few days to weeks. There are steps that can be taken before and after surgery to help minimize bruising and swelling… Read More.


Scars are the necessary trade-off of many plastic surgeries.  The goal is a near-invisible, thin, skin-colored scar.  Scars are ideally minimized by early attention but there are options for treatment of problem scars as well… Read More.

Stretch Mark Treatment

Stretch marks are the visible result of tears of the second layer of skin, the dermis. Stretch marks usually result from rapid stretching of skin, such as weight gain, or pregnancy.  Treatment options for stretch marks such as removal, microneedling, and laser are available…. Read More.

Preparation for surgery

prepare your house for surgery

1-2 weeks before surgery you should have your childcare, work arrangements, and caretaker lined up.  Depending on the procedure you may have a few recovery items on hand.  Start with an organized, clean house and full pantry.  If you are making meals, simple prep. meals and disposable dinnerware.  

prepare your body for surgery

The weeks before surgery are a good time to maximize a healthy diet and stay on top of exercise.  Yoga and heart-healthy exercises are particularly valuable. For almost every procedure stopping smoking 6 weeks before surgery is valuable.  For some it is critical.  Avoid excessive alcohol and marijuana prior to surgery as well. 

Check your medications and supplements

Some medications such as aspirin, fish-oils and some supplements can contribute to bleeding and bruising after surgery.  If you would like to take SinnEcch for bruising you would want to do so before surgery.  The benefit is mild in Dr. Yates’s opinion but some patients swear by it.

Stay away from illness

Avoid getting sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid contact will people who are ill.

Time off Work and exercise

Check the procedure list below for the time you should plan to take off of work or exercise.  With most procedures, office work and light exercise are OK between one to three weeks.  For most procedures, there are no restrictions after six weeks.      

Recovery Supplies

Dr Yates will give you most everything you need after surgery including garments, bra, scar cream, and dressings as indicated.  A few recommended additional supplies are

  • Bed that reclines, recliner, or extra bed pillows
  • Icy Hot back patch
  • Loose baggy clothes
  • Paper tape 1″
  • Ice packs
  • Stool Softener
  • Ginger Ale
  • Antacid such as Tums
  • Melatonin (not to be used with pain medications)
  • Benadryl
  • Cortisone cream
  • Neosporin
  • Probiotics or yogurt
  • Second stage Spanx or Flexees for appropriate procedures
  • Flexible straws for drinking
  • Water bottles/ Gatorade
  • Entertainment such as DVD or Netflix
  • Cell phone charger near bed and sofa

Liposuction Recovery Tips

How long will I be in bed after liposuction?
You should expect no significant bedrest after liposuction.   Get up and walk.
Tell me about pain management after liposuction?
The pain is moderate and usually controlled with Tylenol and Ibuprofen.  If narcotics are necessary they are only for 1-2 days.
What do I do with the incisions after liposuction?
The small liposuction incisions will be covered with gauze while draining.  Once they have stopped draining you may apply Neosporin or simply leave them alone.
When can I shower or swim after liposuction?
You can shower as soon as drainage has slowed significantly.
How long will I need help with childcare after liposuction?
Approximately 3-5 days for toddlers and young children
How long before I can return to the gym after liposuction?
You can return to light lifting with the arms and a good walk at one week.   You may return to moderate upper and lower body lifting by three weeks.  Full exercise resumes at six weeks.
How long before I can return to work after liposuction?
Office and desk work can be resumed right away.  For most physical jobs you can return at 3 weeks.
When can I return to sexual activities after liposuction?
It is safe to resume sexual activity by two to three weeks after liposuction.  
What can go wrong if I don’t follow these recommendations?
Overaggressive activity can cause problems with healing.   In the first week, we are worried about excessive swelling and bruising
When will I expect to see my final results?
Swelling peaks at 1-2 weeks and gradually resolves over the year.   Most swelling is gone by 3 months
How long should I expect drainage?
1-3 days
How long do I wear my garment?
The garment is worn for three weeks followed by a second stage garment for comfort

Get in Touch
Ask us a question, request a consultation, or submit a virtual consultation to Dr. Yates

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Dr. York Yates
2121 N 1700 W
Layton, UT 84041
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Phone: (801) 525-8741

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2121 N 1700 W, Layton, UT 84041 801.525.8741

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