After Liposculpture, Day 1 Looked Great, Day 7 I Could See All the Fat Coming Back

I had liposculpture on outer+inner thighs, hips, and arms one week ago. On Day 1 the thighs looked good, 7 days later, I can see the fat coming back to the areas which it was removed from (making me look pear-shaped, where as on Day 1 I had no bulges out of my thighs) Could this be water-retention? I've had enough time to let the swelling subside. Is it normal to see better results on days 1 and 2 than days 7 and 8? Am I looking at having a 2nd procedure?

Doctor Answers 13

Laser Liposuction Best Results

Yes, patients often look better just after the procedure then the following week.  One really starts to appreciate improvement at one month but wait 6 months to see final results.

Kansas City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Be patient, as residual swelling may last for up to 6 months.

It is very common for patients to see great results immediately after liposuction then become worried a week later as they seem to see the results disappear. Rest assured that this is normal, and it is not the fat coming back. What you are seeing is swelling, which tends to peak around 3-7 days and then gradually begin to resolve. Be patient, as residual swelling may last for up to 6 months, after which you’ll see your final results. 

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Fat "Returning" after Liposuction

What you're noticing isn't fat "returning" to an area (in fact there is no way adipose could regenerate that quickly, as liposuction physically removes adipocytes rather than just shrinking them like traditional weight loss would. What you're noticing is your body reacting to the trauma and manipulation in the area by swelling. By wearing your compression garment as direct, you'll help resolve this process more quickly. 

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Timing of liposuction swelling

What you are describing is exactly what I would expect.  I actually have my patients return at 7-10 days so I can reassure them that this is normal.  From week one to two the swelling is peaking and you should expect significant but gradual improvement over the next 6 weeks.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Final liposculpture results after 8 weeks

I tell my patients that they need to wait for a minimum of 8 weeks after liposuction to begin to see their final results.  The more aggressive the liposculpture, the more time needed to allow swelling and fibrosis to resolve.

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Different results 1 and 7 days after liposculpture

  the results you report are not unusual and certainly does not mean that the fat that was removed is returning.  Almost certainly, this represents postop edema which comes and goes after surgery.  Please try to be patient!

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Swelling after Liposuction.

Thank you for the question.

What you have experienced is not unusual;  patients will report increased swelling one week after surgery. It will take several months for the swelling to dissipate and up to one year for the skin to  redrape  so that you can see the final result.

Continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon with any unusual signs or symptoms and to address questions and concerns.

I hope this helps.

Swelling after liposculpture

it is very common to be more swollen a few days after liposuction than the first day. The swelling takes time for the body to absorb and most of it should be gone in about 6 weeks, but the final result might take 6 months or more.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

If you have concerns, please check back with your surgeon.

If you have concerns about your results, check back with your surgeon.   If your procedure was done by a skilled and experienced doctor, he/she will be in the best position to give you answers to your questions.  It take some time to see the final results.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Liposculpture vs. Liposuction

Patients who undergo liposculpture have liposuction.  Whats the difference between liposuction and liposculpture?   Fat is removed by different techniques:  LASER, suction, ultrasound, etc.  The inventors of the various forms of the removal claim their form of fat removal is less "stressful" to the tissue, less "traumatic" and ensures less downtime and more rapid healing.

Consider this:   the less surgery you perform, the less healing that has to occur, and the faster the return to daily activities.  Therefore the more surgery or more invasive surgery that is performed will give a more noticable result.   Whatever form of surgery that is performed creates local tissue injury.   The local tissue injury results in immediate post-operative swelling.  The swelling which is part of the healing process takes time to resolve.   It is not uncommon for patients immediately post-op to have less swelling than they do one week after surgery.   For the most part, patients who undergo liposuction need to wear post-operative girdles and garments to help control the post-operative edema and swelling to facilitate more rapid and controlled healing.  


Jonathan Berman, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 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.