What Are the Chances of Lumpiness and Disfiguration After Liposuction?

Hi, I'm a 29-year-old female. I'm approximately 5'0" at 110 lbs. I work out 4-5 days a week with a healthy diet but with problem areas most short people have: flanks/lovehandles, inner thighs, and a little bit of a poochy belly.

I've never had a major operation before so I'm nervous about liposuction. I also see a lot of blogs here about people being unhappy because of scarring and lumpiness. Is that common and does size have anything to do with that?

Doctor Answers 16


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Actually you sound like a perfect candidate for liposuction. You are young and thin. The areas you describe are typical storage sites for fat and are particularly difficult to lose despite diet and exercise.
The best sites for liposuction are areas where there are deep compartments of fat and the superficial fatty layers can be left intact. The quilting effect of the superficial fat minimizes the chance of contour irregularities (lumps and bumps). Contour irregularities are related to the areas suctioned and the techniques used to perform the suction. The inner thigh has the greatest incidence of contour irregularities as there is no deep compartment fat in this area. This can be minimized with smaller cannulas and attention to detail at the time of surgery.
I would encourage you to meet with a board certified surgeon and look at post operative photos. Ask to speak with patients who have had the procedure done by the surgeon you chose.
I hope this was helpful

Corona Del Mar Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 130 reviews

Contour Deformities After Liposuction

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Hi. It sounds like you may be a great candidate for liposuction. If you’ve had children and your skin or muscles are a little loose, you may be a better candidate for more than just liposuction, and would need to be evaluated for an abdominoplasty as well. If not, and you’re healthy and fit, and at a stable weight, your young skin should "snap back" well after lipo. You're also right to be concerned about some of the more common problems that can arise after liposuction. The problems you've mentioned can happen when too much or not enough fat is removed or the fat is removed unevenly. Heat generating forms of liposuction can kill blood vessels and other tissues, and cause internal and external scarring and dermal adhesions. Some patients simply heal poorly due to skin quality or other factors. It's essential that you find a highly qualified liposuction surgeon, and that he or she chooses the best liposuction technique for you.

I use a body contouring process called SAFELipo that takes extra steps to ensure a smooth, even, dramatic result. Step 1 utilizes a specialized cannula or probe to gently separate the fat from surrounding tissues and partially dissolve & liquefy it. This allows the fat to be more easily removed during the next step, aspiration. I use gentle suction and a smaller, less aggressive cannula to remove the emulsified fat. There is little to no bleeding and minimal trauma to the skin, blood vessels, or support structures in the area. Lastly, the fat equalization step sculpts the remaining fat to create a smooth, even, thin layer below the skin, without the visible indentations or lumpiness that you're worried about. Although it involves a little more work and finesse on the surgeon's part, the SAFELipo process allows for the removal of a maximum amount of fat without the contour irregularities that can occur with liposuction.

Whatever method you choose, I wish you the best of luck!

Simeon Wall, Jr, MD, FACS
Shreveport Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Temporary versus long term liposuction irregularity

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Thank you for the question.  Mild temporary contour irregularity after liposuction can be common but long term irregularities are avoidable and largely surgeon dependent.  I would seek consultation with several board certified plastic surgeons and look at their before and after photos.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Ideal Candidate for Liposuction

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Congratulations, by your description you are at a healthy weight, you exercise and eat a healthy diet. You should be an excellent candidate for liposuction to improve the contour of the areas that bother you. Your surgeon will need to evaluate you to determine the quality of your skin tone. If you have good skin tone in the areas of fatty accumulation you could expect a good result. Scarring is usually not an issue with liposuction because the incisions are so small, but contour irregularity or lumpiness can be an issue at times.

Leo Keegan, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Good technique prevents lumpiness after liposuction.

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Liposuction is very, very safe if you find a skilled experienced surgeon.  Scarring and lumps are extremely rare and can be prevented with small cannulas and gentle technique.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction and risks of irregularities, lumps and bumps

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This is most likely driven by the fact that patients request agressive treatment of localized fatty deposits. The more that is removed, the greater is the potential risk of developing this problem.

As some (silly sayings go):

"You can never be too rich"

"You can never be too thin"

Well my corrollary and I say this tongue in cheek is:

"You've never had too much liposuction until you've had too much":

I say that because many patients state" remove as much as you can, doc"

Remaining in the deeper layer of fat and removing conservative volumes with small cannulas and meticulous technique traditionally has a low risk of complications.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Liposuction and complications

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 Liposuction is a great way to improve areas that have been resistant to dieting.  There are many different ways to perform it.  I always say it is not the want but the magician who waves it that creates the magic.  Go to someone experienced.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

The complications of liposuction you describe are very low if done by an experienced liposuction sur

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 Over the past 30 years that I have been performing liposuction I have had very few contour irregularities you describe. If the surgeon does take too much fat superficially then these should not happen. Therefore, select an experienced surgeon and it is very rare for you to have any of these problems.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Risks of lumpiness after lipo

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In general, the risk of lumpiness and uneven contours is low when the surgeon is experienced. There is no magic technology that substitutes for poor technique. But one of the most important reasons that experienced lipo surgeons get good results is clinical judgment about what the patient can realistically expect and good communication about that. From your description, you are a good candidate and the chances of an excellent result are high. Most of the poor results that you hear about are when large volumes of fat are removed and the skin doesn't shrink evenly because it is too loose; often these patients are sold on some technology such as laser that is supposed to help.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

The chances of lumpiness after liposuction should be low

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For a young individual at an ideal body weight, and good skin elasticity (no significant weight gain and loss) the risk of dents and irregularities should be low. Liposuction is a perfect choice to reduce or correct the limitations of inherited body shapes such as love handles, fullness over the side of the hip or saddle bags, and full inner thigh. Ideal candidates will indeed experience the best that liposuction has to offer, especially if the surgeon is skillful and well qualified. Dents and irregularities are probably the risk in any liposuction procedure. As not all patients are 'idea' for liposuction, though may also obtain good results, as with any technique in cosmetic surgery we must consider the risk to benefit. This must be weighed against realistic expectations. Patients always hope for the very best and when the result misses the mark will express disappointment on the Internet. Each is unique and all considering liposuction should carefully examine their own situation and goals, and seek the best qualified surgeon in their area.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 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.