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After Liposuction, is It Normal to Feel Awful/swollen/stiff After I've Been Lying Down or Sleeping for Awhile?

I had liposuction of abdomen, flanks and arms 7 days ago. Whenever I lie down for a period or sleep I wake up feeling swollen and awful. When I get upright its like I can feel the blood/some unpleasant sensation rush down my torso. I keep waking up in the middle of the night and taking little walks to help keep the blood moving, but is there anything else I can do?

Doctor Answers 4

Swelling after liposuction

Pain and assymetry is not uncommon. Make sure you walk frequently, consume adequate fluids and expect to feel more swolen before you get less swollen.   Generally time is the answer, but you may feel better just having some time to sit down with your PS.

What You're Feeling Is Common Shortly After Liposuction

The feelings you've described are quite common for someone who is still recovering from liposuction. On average, swelling lasts for  about 2-3 weeks and during this time you will experience some degree of stiffness, particularly when you aren't moving around much (i.e. sleeping, resting). It's great that you're slowly walking around to keep your circulation going. This is very important and I recommend this to all of my patients who've had liposuction (as well as other cosmetic surgery procedures).


You mentioned an "unpleasant sensation rush down your torso" - this is probably similar to when your foot falls asleep and becomes numb. Then, when you move it around, the increased circulation causes a tingly and sometimes uncomfortable feeling.  As long as you keep walking around at a leisurely pace to maintain good circulation and wear your compression garment as advised, you should be okay. You can also try massage, but find out what kind of massage can be performed from your surgeon to make sure it's suitable for you.

However, please notify your surgeon if you are overly concerned. It's always best to get their advice since they know your situation better!

Liposuction recovery

The recovery from liposuction will vary from patient to patient, but the sensations that you are feeling are fairly common. If you have concerns, speak with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

The Process of Liposuction Recovery

Liposuction is a very traumatic experience to the subcutaneous tissues that results in a lot of swelling, soreness and stiffness of the treated areas. At one week after surgery what you are experiencing is completely normal. This is a recovery process that will gradually improve and will take 6 to 8 weeks until you are feeling more normal in these areas. Staying relatively active, massage, and hydrotherapy can all help with the tissues removing swelling and restoring normal lymphatic circulation. For most liposuction patients, the recovery is usually a little more difficult and longer than they had initially anticipated.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.