I had a mommy makeover March 1st, 2010. This included tummy tuck, breast lift, breast augmentation, hernia repair, and liposuction of the hips. I recently noticed that I have discoloration (bruising) in the area where I had liposuction. The bruising is almost symmetrical on both hips. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the bruising? My doctor has diagnosed me with hemosiderin staining. Will it be permanent? Can someone explain this condition to me?
What is Hemosiderin Staining and How Long Does It Last?
Doctor Answers 28
Hemosiderin VS Hyperpigmentation
In conditions where there is constant bleeding into tissues (such as venous ulcers etc), the red cells in the blood break down and their contents are taken up "pac man" style by the macrophages, the cells responsible to eating up germs and debris in the body. Inside the macrophages the hemoglobin, the iron containing molecule which holds on to oxygen is broken up and its iron is combined into a storage form of iron and proteins with a dark yellow-brown pigment called hemosiderin. In effect, it is a natural form of auto-tattooing.
That being said, I do not think you demonstrate hemosiderin which is seen in chronic condition but just a case of inflammatory hyperpigmentation. You should be able to correct it with a course of bleaching cream (such as Hydroquinone). You may want to speak to a good dermatologist.
Have a question? Ask a doctor
What is Hemosiderin Staining and How Long Does It Last?
Hyperpigmentation can result from liposuction causing heat or brusing on the undersurface of the skin. This is a relatively uncommon but known side effect of liposuction. It will likely fade with time, but can be improved in the short term with bleaching creams containing Hydroquinone.
-- Dr. Mussman
Hemosiderin Staining after Mommy Makeover
You might also like...
Hemosiderin staining of skin following surgery
Hemosiderin is a pigment that is a byproduct of hemoglobin that has spread into the tissues following injury with bleeding and bruising of the tissues. It contains iron pgiment and may take along time (years) for the body to metaoblize the iron and pigment that has spread into the tissues.
Hemosiderin staining usually resolves in time
Hemosiderin staining is the result of the iron left in tissues after blood loss into the tissues and the body's attempt to recycle the valuable parts of the blood lost in the tissues. In this case, the hemosiderin is the iron that is left behind after other elements of the blood have been resorted. This is common after bruising and hemotomas and sclerotherapy.
Most people do not have hemosiderin stains regardless of the amount of blood in the tissues. Others have hemosiderin stains because of the failure of their body to completely retrieve this lost iron. In time though, most individuals are able to slowly and completely resorb the iron and thus the stains become less apparent. I am not aware of any medications or treatments to encourage this absorption although heat in the area should increase the blood flow and increase the elements that resorb the iron.
Hemosiderin staining versus hyperpigmentation
By contrast, hyper pigmentation refers to the process where the melanocytes and the skin proliferating creating dark patches. again in a general sense the most common type of hyper pigmentation one could argue is a suntan. Here the UV energy from the sun causes the melanocytes in the skin to proliferate. Melanocytes are protective cells that absorb UV energy to protect the underlying skin from injury caused by this form of radiating energy. In the case of hyper pigmentation areas of inflammation which are results of trauma and/or surgery are more susceptible to the UV energy. And as a result when one is exposed to sunlight these areas tend to get darker than other areas of the body, and we called these areas hyper pigmentation.
For areas of hyper pigmentation treatment including the use of hydroquinone can very easily be done as a cream that is applied on a nightly basis. Typically within 2-3 month he will see significant improvement. The concentration of hydroquinone can vary depending on skin type, degree of hyper pigmentation, and amount of area treated. Alternatively IPL and other medical lasers can be very effective. Hemosiderin staining on the other hand is a lot more difficult to treat. Although it may resolve some with time, most patients that end up with this are looking for a more expeditious way to improving. Typically there is no cream they can readily remove the iron out of the skin. Treatment for this is better suited by laser therapy. Specifically, the Q switch laser can be very effective. But this may take multiple treatments to get complete clearance.
Skin discoloration after liposuction
Have your plastic surgeon take a look.
I hope this was helpful!
Hemosiderin staining will resolve on its own
The bruising you experienced is actually a manifestation of red blood cells in the soft tissues.When those red blood cells are broken down, they release hemoglobin which is the pigment that carries oxygen in a red blood cell.That is then broken down to hemosiderin which is an iron-containing pigment that can cause some bruising or some staining of the skin postoperatively.
It will resolve at its own accord in about six to eight weeks.
Thank you again for your question.
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.