A Guide to Smartlipo Recovery & Aftercare

Table of Contents

Published on Nov 1, 2023 By: WIFH Staff

What to Know While Recovering From Smartlipo

When you decide to have a Smartlipo procedure to remove unwanted fat from targeted areas of your body, it’s important to understand what will be needed for your postoperative Smartlipo recovery period and how to prepare for it. Even if you’ve had experience with similar procedures, Smartlipo does have unique recovery and aftercare needs that patients should be aware of.

At WIFH, we encourage our patients to not only consult with our doctors on what to expect while recovering from Smartlipo, but we also suggest that prospective Smartlipo patients review recovery experiences from other patients who have had the procedure. This will help ensure that you are prepared for your post-op recovery period.

Below we provide more detailed information on Smartlipo recovery and aftercare.

How Long Does the Smartlipo Recovery Period Last?

Depending on how many areas are treated, the location on the body, and how much fat is removed, Smartlipo recovery time can vary from patient-to-patient. Most patients who have the procedure are asked to rest for two days and can return to work within 2 to 4 days.

Exercise and other strenuous activities are restricted for one week up to 10 days depending on the specifics of each person’s procedure. It’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions for recovery to make sure you get the best results and quickest recovery possible.

Things to Expect Directly Following Your Smartlipo Procedure

Inflammation, Pain & Swelling

Due to it being significantly less invasive than a traditional liposuction procedure, recovering from Smartlipo is a much easier process than traditional liposuction. However, may still patients experience some bruising, pain, discomfort, soreness, and/or numbness post-op.


Depending on the areas treated, patients should expect a significant amount of drainage that normally dissipates over 2-3 days following the procedure. Bandages, dressings, and absorbent pads will be provided by WIFH for the patient to use to manage the drainage during this time.

Potential Complications During Smartlipo Recovery

Infections from Smartlipo rarely occur. The use of tumescent anesthesia reduces the risk of infection as lidocaine has properties that kill bacteria and the bicarbonate added to the fluid makes it more effective. The rapid drainage of the fluid also helps to minimize the risk of infection as well.

The infection rate for tumescent liposuction is estimated to be around one in 2000. We have not seen anyone with a bacterial infection at WIFH since Dr. Cox took over the program in 2020. Other complications like hematoma (localized collection of blood) or seroma (collection of fluid ) are very rare with the tumescent technique and the use of compression garments after the procedure.

If you develop fever, yellowish drainage or worsening painful redness around your incisions contact the office immediately. Always be sure to continue your antibiotics for the entire time prescribed after your procedure. Be sure to follow all guidelines about wearing compression garments and do not swim, take a bath (shower only) or submerge your incisions in water until they are well healed.

Maintaining Smartlipo Results
Maintaining Smartlipo Results
Tips to Keep the Fat Off
Read More

Tips to Prepare for Smartlipo Recovery Ahead of Time

WIFH suggests patients be proactive in their approach to their Smartlipo recovery period.

Prep a Comfortable Space to Rest

Ideally, patients should prepare a space in their home to designate as your recovery area where they can rest and relax during the first 2 days after your procedure. A couch or a bed may be necessary depending on the location you are having worked on, and consider what you’d like to have within reach during this recovery time.

Pillows and blankets are key. You want to be comfortable in this space you’re creating for yourself.

Set Aside Comfortable Clothing

Keep some PJs or some loose-fitting clothing on hand as well to ensure you are comfortable while you’re resting and recovering. This should be clothing that you are OK with getting stained by draining fluid after the procedure.

Put Together a Basket of Supplies

A basket may be a good idea to fill with your supplies. See what kind of medical supplies you’ll need such as gauze, bandages, and pain medication. There may be specific instructions for you to follow for your incision that you may want to stock up for in this basket. You can also add to your basket some of your favorite snacks, water bottles, drinks, and more!

Prevent Yourself From Boredom

Next, you can gather some entertainment for yourself while you recover. Magazines, books, a list of TV shows, movies, crossword puzzles, knitting or crocheting, and so on. Depending on what area of the body you are getting worked on, some activities may irritate your incision, so keep your options open.

Post-Op Smartlipo Aftercare Instructions

As with any surgical procedure, Smartlipo patients will need to follow important aftercare instructions to help ensure optimal results. Below we provide an overview of the aftercare requirements.


To prevent a post-op bacterial infection, WIFH Smartlipo patients receive a prescription for an Antibiotic. Patients will begin taking the Antibiotic regimen the day before the procedure, and continue daily for 1 week following the procedure. Always complete the course of the antibiotic medications.

Pain Medications

Immediately postoperatively, the lidocaine in the tumescent fluid enhances pain control for up to 12 hours after the procedure. While most patients are able to tolerate the post-operative pain with over-the-counter Ibuprofen / Motrin, our doctors will also prescribe Tylenol with Codeine in case you need further pain management during the recovery and aftercare period. Remember that opioid pain medication can cause nausea, dizziness and constipation so take this medication only as directed and discontinue them as soon as possible.

Bandage & Dressing Changes

WIFH provides our patients with the necessary bandages, dressings, tape, and absorbent pads they will need for the initial 2-3 days of recovery. These will need to be changed out as-needed based on the amount of drainage the patient experiences post-operation. We suggest utilizing the shower or tub to make the first few changes to minimize clean up after dressing changes. If you have incisions on your back you may need someone to help with caring for those in the first 24-48 hours.

Wear a Compression Garment

After the procedure, patients will receive a compression garment and foam boards (for abdomen procedures only) to help with the swelling of the treated areas. This will not only help with inflammation, comfort, and decrease complications like hematoma, seroma and post operative infection. Patients are required to wear this compression garment 24/7 for 4 to 6 weeks, however, this may vary depending on the areas treated and how much fat was removed. Not wearing compression as instructed can negatively impact your final results.

Post-Surgical Lymphatic Massage

While it isn’t a requirement, one of the Smartlipo aftercare tips we recommend for patients is Post-Surgical Lymphatic Massages. Once the fat is removed, the body’s natural response is to fill the newly open areas with fluid. Once incisions heal (typically 3-7 days after the procedure), any fluid that is still trapped inside the body cannot be removed, can harden and turn into scar tissue.

Post-Surgical Lymphatic massages help push out excess fluids that build up under the skin before the patient’s incisions close up. We have noticed that patients who get these massages experience a significant improvement in the overall results from their Smartlipo treatment.

Avoid Strenuous Activity

Due to the post-op inflammation and tenderness, we recommend avoiding any strenuous activity such as exercising for 2-3 weeks following your Smartlipo procedure. While most patients go back to all normal non strenuous activities after about a week of recovery, patients should consult with their doctor if they have any questions about exercise and when resuming exercise start slow and increase your level of intensity gradually.

Schedule a Consultation for Smartlipo

Now that you’re familiar with the basics of Smartlipo recovery and aftercare, take the next step by scheduling your complimentary Smartlipo consultation with one of the doctors at WIFH!

Paul E. Cox, MD, MS

Dr. Paul Cox MD, MS is the Owner and Medical Director of WIFH, serving the Atlanta-area community as a physician for over 20 years. A 1999 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Dr. Cox completed his residency in Family Medicine in 2002 and is board certified in both Family Medicine and Anti-Aging Medicine. He has been licensed in Georgia since 2001. As one of the first physicians trained in Smartlipo in 2007, Dr. Cox has performed thousands of Smartlipo laser liposuction procedures without complication. He has been performing cosmetic injectables since 2003 and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of aesthetics.