Ask a doctor

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 (61)

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.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

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.
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

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! 

Web reference:

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 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.

Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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.

Fairfield Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 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!

Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Swelling after Liposuction


There is some degree of swelling after liposuction. 75-80% of the swelling is resolved and absorbed within the first 4-6 weeks.

There will be an additional 20% of swelling that will take time to be resolved. Favorable contraction of tissues and skin take up to a year after surgery.

However, you can accelerate your healing and improve your results by wearing tight fitting garments during the first 3 months after surgery.

Hope this was helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Swelling after Liposuction should resolve soon


It has been only six weeks since your procedure and the feeling of discomfort and swelling is quite normal at this stage of recovery. Pain should subside in a few more weeks. You need to remember, every patient has its own pace of healing and in some cases, the swelling can take up to six months to completely disappear. Most patients can resume daily activities within a week, but you should avoid strenuous exercise for a month. You might also consider some Velasmooth treatment once you feel comfortably for better liposuction results. If you have sensation of "movement" you may have seroma. That potentially has to be drained.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Swelling after liposuction sometimes takes a long time...


Swelling after liposuction sometimes takes a long time to resolve. Your contour will continue to change and improve over the course of a few months, and you might now achieve your final result until a year after surgery.

Irregularities after liposuction usually flatten out, but occasionally these persistent irregularities are related to excessive removal of superficial fat, leaving a 'dent'. These can be troublesome, and some part of the body of susceptible to these contour irregularities (lateral thigh, inferior gluteal fold). Wait a few months before asking your surgeon for any 'touch-up' procedures.

I agree with the other commentators about post-op massage for liposuction. It works. In our clinic, we have used a gentle course of Endermologie, which appears to minimize soft tissue edema somewhat, and it feels good.

Most Kindly.

Web reference:

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 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.