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Liposuction Swelling - How Long Until It Goes Down?

I had my saddlebags removed six weeks ago and one of them looks lumpy and looks like if I have something in there that moves. I also had liposuction above my butt, I'm still numb and I now I have a lump. Will this go away? How long does it take for swelling to go away?

Doctor Answers 98

It takes at least 6 months to see the final result after liposuction

Numbness, bumpiness and swelling are common and normal after liposuction. Time, regular exercise, and gentle massage generally resolves these issues.

Most patients will see 80% of their result at 1 month after surgery but the final result will not be seen until after all swelling resolves and the tissues have had a chance to shrink. This is usually 4 to 6 months postop.

Liposuction swelling

Liposuction takes about 6 months to heal. Subtle improvement continues for another year.

  • numbness? Yes, about 6 months
  • lumpiness? Yes, about 6 months
  • Why? the body heals with protein. It makes too much at first. It slowly removes what you don't need. That takes time. 
  • You feel something that moves in the saddlebag area? That's unusual. It may be fluid or loose skin. Your surgeon should be able to tell you by examining you. 
    Good luck and be patient.

Liposuction takes 6 months to achieve final results

I would be patient if its only been 6 weeks.  Make sure you are still using some compression garments at night, sometimes with foam compression over the area, and continue to do frequent, vigorous massages. At 3 months you will be approximately 70% of your final results, at 4 months about 80% and final results at 6 months. Be patient! 

Swelling after Liposuction

After liposuction, major swelling may last for a month or two. The minor swelling can linger for several months after that. The skin contraction and shrinkage takes approximately 6-9 months to occur, meaning you may not see your final result/outcome for 6 months to one year after your surgery. The compression garment is to be worn for the first 4-6 weeks to assist in the skin contraction such that an even contour is achieved.

If you notice some hard or firm areas a few weeks after surgery, this is normal. You can gently massage the area with circular motions using a lotion to help expedite the softening process of the firm, calcified fat.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon for any other liposuction related concerns.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 239 reviews

Liposuction swelling for up to 6 months

Liposuction is a very traumatic procedure for the tissues. The lymphatic tissues, or the tiny vessels that remove fluid from the tissues, are significantly damaged during liposuction. It is this reason that the swelling lasts so long. These tiny vessels need to reestablish themselves to remove this fluid.

This can take up to 6 months. However, significantly noticeable contour irregularities that need to be addressed will be visible sooner.

Areas that undergo liposuction often take up to 6 months...

Areas that undergo liposuction often take up to 6 months for the edema (swelling) to dissipate. The rate of dissipation of the swelling is often dependent on many factors such as technique used.

The use of ultrasonic liposuction is thought by some to have a more rapid resolution of swelling. The use of tumescent techniques may affect the amount of swelling in the tissues. These techniques involve injecting large amounts of dilute lidocaine into the fat prior to suction. In addition, hormonal status, age, salt intake, genetics play a part in rate of resolution of the edema. I generally give the patients 6 months for the swelling to go down.

The numbness is absolutely normal, and usually resolves as the swelling goes down. If you have a lump that you can feel, I would suggest initiating a massage program to the area. This often helps with the swelling and may improve the contour. If the lump is still present after 6 months, re-operation may be necessary.

Wilfred Brown, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Liposuction results

I advise my patients to not look in the mirror for 4 months following liposuction. Final results typically take about 6 months. Contact your board certified plastic surgeon should you have specific concerns.  Best of luck!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Liposuction Swelling

At 6 weeks, you are very early in the liposuction recovery process.   It typically takes 6 months to see the final result.    

As long as you have swelling, I would recommend a tight compression garment.   In addition, any area with hardness needs frequent daily deep tissue massage.     This hardness can progress to scar tissue, which can result in a contour deformity.

Bottomline, I recommend close followup with your plastic surgeon, aggressive massage, and tight compression.

Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Liposuction Swelling and Edema

The   initial  swelling  seen  with   Liposuction  is  due  to  the  traumatic  injury to  the   subcutaneous  tissues  and  lymphatic  channels  and  the  release  of  inflammatory  mediators.  This  swelling  may  persist  for  several  months    and   be  associated  with    tender  and  indurated   areas.

 Methods which  improve  and  speed  recovery   are :

1.    Immediate  application   of  foam   enhanced  compression  garments   to  limit  bruising  

2     Wearing    a  compression  garment    until  all   edema   and  firmness   resolve    

 3.   Deep   message    to  enhance  the  lymphatic  flow   and  soften  any  lumpy  areas 

4 .  A  return  to    normal  activity   which  increases  blood  flow  .  

Some   degree  of  numbness  may  persist   even  after  the  swelling  resolves.   The  full  return  of  sensation  may  take  the  longest   time .      

Marvin  Shienbaum  MD  

Tampa Bay  Plastic  Surgeon 



Marvin F. Shienbaum, MD
Brandon Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Swelling after liposuction varies depending on the location, compression garment use, and massaging

swelling after liposuction usually takes 6-12 weeks to subside, but this can vary much depending on the location of liposuction, if patient wears compression garment, and if they massage. usually the lower extremity liposuction has the longest time for the resolution of swelling. massaging the areas of liposuction greatly facilities healing and helps to smoothen the areas.

S. Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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.