What Are Potential Liposuction Side Effects?

liposuction cause nerve damage possibly? what about cellulite? a list of possible side effects is very helpful

Doctor Answers 13

The liposuction side-effects list would include...

Basically, the risks of liposuction are many and would include bleeding, infection, numbness, seroma, scars, contour irregularities, skin laxity, skin discoloration and the need for revision.

Unfortunately, after 20 years of performing liposuction and other aesthetic surgeries, I would say that only about 10% of patients seeking liposuction are what I would call "excellent" candidates. Liposuction is probably the most commonly performed cosmetic surgical procedure and also the most commonly revised because patients frequently want more from it than it can deliver.

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Swelling, bruising, and skin irregularities are the most common side effects

Everyone gets some degree of bruising with liposuction. If the bruising is severe it may last for 3-6 weeks. If the bruising is superficial and severe I have seen staining of the skin, a darker color which may or may not resolve.

Liposuction does not tighten the skin per say. If one has cellulite before surgery it may appear worse after surgery. If too little fat is removed or too much from one area it may appear full or depressed. This is a sculpturing technique.

Most people experience some swelling and fluid retention following surgery. This may last for several weeks.

With any operation a patient may have complications associated with the anesthesia, pain medication, garment, postoperative care, etc. Surgery carries risks like infection, bleeding, scarring, pulmonary emboli, etc.

Arthur Foley, MD
Olympia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Potential Side Effects of Liposuction

Side effects include contour irregularities and depressions. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur. Mild asymmetry and unevenness are also common. Nerve damage is extremely rare but it is possible. Liposuction will not cause cellulite but also will not lessen the appearance either.

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Liposuction risks and benefits

Liposuction is a relatively safe operation that has major benefits. Like most procedures, there is a risk of scarring, bleeding, swelling, infection, and contour irregularities.  See the link below for details.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Liposuction is the safest cosmetic surgery procedure

1)  Well done liposuction is very, very safe.  Occasionally, touch up is needed.

2)  Nerve damage extremely rare and only with bad surgery.

3)  Cellulite can get better with liposuction.  Certainly no worse.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Potential side effects of liposuction

Liposuction is a safe, popular, and effective way to contour the body. Like any surgery, liposuction has potential side effects. It is possible to experience swelling, discomfort, asymmetry, and nerve changes. During the liposuction procedure, it is possible that nerves in the area of treatments may be stretched or injured. If the nerve is only stretched, the nerve will heal itself this may take several months. If the nerve is cut, which is quite rare, you may have an area numbness for many months or years. In these patients, it is possible that surrounding nerves may grow into the area of numbness over time.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Most common Liposuction side effect is irregular contour

The most common side effect after liposuction is an irregular contour to the skin. There can be uneven areas with some minor depressions or bumps if the suctioning is performed too close to the surface of the skin or if the patient's skin has poor elasticity or stretch marks. The chances of having a small area of irregular contour is about 10%, but this varies depending upon skin tone and surgeon technique. Sometimes this can be corrected by performing a fat transfer to "fill in" a small depressed area. However, if an area has significant irregularity, it may not be correctable.

Other less common side effects include, temporary numbness, asymmetry, poor scarring or prolonged bruising.

Please consult with a board certified plastic surgeon prior to planning any liposuction procedure.

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Swelling is the longest lasting Liposuction side effect

In most cases, swelling is the longest lasting side effect of liposuction. While 80% of the swelling goes away in the first few weeks, it can take up to 6 months to see the final results. Also, bruising can be can issue. For major liposuction, you should expect to see a moderate amount of bruising - this should resolve in just a few weeks.

If you are having minor liposuction, such as Smartlipo, your bruising risk is reduced, but you should still expect to have swelling. Additional risks include lumps, which usually resolve unless there is a technical error; infection, which is very rare; and canulla site wound healing problems, which is also very rare. Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Liposuction carries the risks of surgery

As common as liposuction is, it is still surgery and has its risks as well. It risks may include nerve damage, although it is rare.

Common side effects include bruising, swelling and numbness which resolves over time. Areas that contain cellulite are not easily treated during liposuction and may appear worse in certain cases. So be cautious, liposuction is not a treatment by any means for cellulite.

Then there are the risks that are associate with anesthesia also, which again, this day and age is very safe.

Hope that helps.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

The Key is the proper choice of the provider

Liposuction is a procedure designed to address localised fat deposits. Any time it is used agressively or when not indicated an adverse effect can result.

The key in liposuction is what you leave behind and not what you take out.

In general this is a list of adverse effects:

1-Swelling ,bruising : normal within limit,it should clear up with time. Compression is very helpful.

2-skin dents,lumps: Massage and compression could help early in mild cases. In extreme cases revision lipo is needed.

3-Skin healing problems,scars etc...rare ,talk with you board certified plastic surgeon about incision location.

4-Undercorrection,overcorrection: Undercorrection is easy to address,overcorrection will require futher surgery.

5-General adverse effects: Infection,blood clots etc..very rare .Appropriate measures needs to be followed to minimize this rare potential.

The list can go on and on ,the key is the proper choice of your board certified plastic surgeon and the facility.

Hope that helps!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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.