PA Plastic Surgery Center
Home » Patient Resources » Liposuction Post-Operative Instructions

Liposuction Post-Operative Instructions



You will see your physician approximately five to seven daysfollowing your surgery.

You will experience some discomfort after liposuction, however, it should be relieved by pain medication. It is common to experience a moderate amount of bloody drainage from incision sites the first few days. The drainage may soil your garment, so take steps to protect your car seats for the ride home and your bed linens as well. The pads/compression garment will compress your skin, help minimize bruising, and control drainage.

You should expect some bruising/discoloration and swelling in the surgery area. You might find that due to swelling, the sites appear larger than before. Don’t panic. Shrinkage and skin tightening begin in about three weeks, continuing slowly over six months.

You should be ready to return to work when you no longer need to take narcotic pain medication – generally in a couple days. You may return to regular exercise in three weeks.

You may become constipated due to the pain medications and should begin a stool softener (i.e. Colace) after surgery. If you have gone several days without a bowel movement and are feeling uncomfortable, you may want to consider using a glycerin suppository or Fleet’s enema (available at all drug stores).


Take frequent short walks to help your circulation and to decrease the risk of blood clot formation in the legs. You need to be up walking every hour when awake for at least 3-5 minutes. Walking also helps your breathing.  Get up slowly as you may feel lightheaded.  Take frequent deep breaths.  Drink abundant clear fluids.

After surgery, you may sleep and rest in any comfortable position.

Do not drive or operate machinery while you are taking your narcotic pain medication.  If you are still taking narcotics by the time of your first postop appointment, then have someone drive you to your appointment.


After having liposuction, absorbent pads placed within a compression garment will be put on you at the end of your surgery. This garment MUST be worn over the treated areas to control swelling and bleeding, and to help your skin shrink to fit your new contour.
You should wear your pads/compression garment until your first postop office visit unless you have been given specific instructions to do otherwise. You can remove the garment and shower the night after surgery. Replace your garment after showering. You are free to remove the compression garment temporarily for laundering. We want you to wear some form of compression for six weeks. The garment provided for you is a stage one compression garment.  Alternative body shapers/compression garments that you purchase (spanx, underarmour, etc.) will be your stage two garment.  You may switch to a stage two type garment whenever you have been cleared by your doctor to do so (normally the stage one garment is worn for 7-10 days).


  • SHAPEWEAR or BODY SHAPER garments – available at stores like Target, JC Penny, Dillards, Macys
  • LIPOINABOX.COM – online resource
  • UNDERARMOUR type garments – available at Academy Sports, Walmart, and sporting good stores
  • FLEXEES by MAIDENFORM – available at Walmart


No heavy lifting (>25 lbs), vigorous activity, or straining for three weeks.
No tub bathing until cleared by your physician
No use of heating pads.
Do not apply ice directly to skin, as you may still have numbness to areas.


If you develop severe shortness of breath or chest pain – call 911, then notify your physician
If you run a fever, or have chills – call our office.
If you have markedly increased pain, bruising, swelling or bloody drainage– call our office.
If you develop leg swelling or pain – call our office.
If you have persistent nausea or vomiting – call our office.
If you are uncertain about a medication or treatment – call our office.
If you are experiencing any adverse symptoms or changes that you do not understand – call our office.