Is It Possible to Have 20lbs of Swelling After Liposuction?

I had surgery on Tuesday I went in at 165. Dr took 7.5 liters. I am very swollen and I weigh 175 today. I have not felt much like eating.. Can't be that. Can I really have 20lbs of water weight????

Doctor Answers 8

Liposuction - I'm 20 Pounds Heavier Than I Was Pre-Op - Is That Possible?

HI Brina1234,

Yes, it is possible.  It's actually a combination of fluid that is still in you, and swelling that has accumulated.  The scale does not lie (perhaps unfortunately!).

And it takes a long time to see the final results from a lipo:  4-6 weeks for 80-85% of the result, 3 months for 95%, up to six months (or longer) for the final result.  The first stage is for swelling to rush into the areas that have been treated, so it's not surprising that you weigh more now than you did before the surgery.

Over the next few days and weeks you will clear this fluid (ie, urinate a lot) as the initial fluid is absorbed and then excreted.  The next stage is for your skin and subcutaneous tissue to contract down into it's new contour.  That's what will take most of the time.

So - yes, you undoubtedly have a lot of swelling that's contributing to your increased weight.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

That's 10lbs

Going from 165 to 175lbs is a ten pound weight gain (not 20lbs).  Regardless, I never weight the patients right after surgery but rather at 6 to 8 weeks post surgery to allow most of the swelling to go away.  It is normal to be swollen and more important is how you feel and look?  if you feel fine and can see the result of liposuction then I would just wait for at least 8 weeks.

Andre Aboolian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Swelling after liposuction: normal

With most types of liposuction you actually inject as much fluid or more, as you remove, therefore it is normal not to notice an initial weight loss after liposuction, despite having large volume liposuction. If you think about the amount of liposuction you had done which is over 17 pounds, your plastic surgeon probably injected that much of wetting fluid. This is a lot of fluid and this is why liposuction can be dangerous, especially if not managed correctly in the first hours and days after the surgery because this fluid can accummulate and cause swelling everywhere including your lungs. It is normal as well for your body to hold on to fluid after any surgery as a stress response to the procedure. This can be accentuated in some patients and in some procedures, especially if you have been on diuretics before surgery. Things that can help are moving and walking, staying in compression and not eating a lot of salt containing foods. Sometimes mild diuretics can help, but in general it should get better and your weight will drop when you get more active.

I hope this helps.

Andrew P. Trussler, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Is It Possible to Have 20lbs of Swelling After Liposuction?

Possible but unlikely. Call your chosen surgeon ASAP it is not the norm. You could be in severe fluid retention or edema, even CHF or pulmonary edema. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Swelling after lipo is normal

Be assured, swelling and weight gain are routine after liposuction. The more fat removed, the more weight gain. The reason is that the blood vessels become very leaky soon after the procedure and fluid inside your blood vessels begins to escape into the tissues, causing swelling and weight gain. Make sure you are wearing your compression garments and keeping you lower extremities elevated when you sit. You will be fine. Just see your doctor for reassurance.

Dr. Lille

Sean T. Lille, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

While swelling is common after liposuction, gaining 20 lbs is not.  Concerns about fluid retention due to poor heart function would be of concern.  Check with your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Swelling after liposuction is common and the larger the volume removed, the more you will swell.  My advice is to put the scale in your closet and not get it out for 6 months.  Lipo is not a weight loss procedure - it is a contouring procedure.  Hopefully you have a follow up appointment scheduled with your doctor and they can examine you and make sure you are healing appropriately.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Fluid retention after liposuction

7.5 liters is a very large volume to remove. This might have been fat and fluid removed, not just fat, but regardless, removing more than 4 liters of supranatant fat (the layer on top of the substance removed) is not common in many practices. There can be issues with fluid shifts and stress on the heart and lungs, so it is worth you discussing your current condition with your surgeon and to be examined.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.