After Liposuction, is It Normal to Feel Awful/swollen/stiff After I've Been Lying Down or Sleeping for Awhile?

I had liposuction of abdomen, flanks and arms 7 days ago. Whenever I lie down for a period or sleep I wake up feeling swollen and awful. When I get upright its like I can feel the blood/some unpleasant sensation rush down my torso. I keep waking up in the middle of the night and taking little walks to help keep the blood moving, but is there anything else I can do?

Doctor Answers 5

The Process of Liposuction Recovery

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Liposuction is a very traumatic experience to the subcutaneous tissues that results in a lot of swelling, soreness and stiffness of the treated areas. At one week after surgery what you are experiencing is completely normal. This is a recovery process that will gradually improve and will take 6 to 8 weeks until you are feeling more normal in these areas. Staying relatively active, massage, and hydrotherapy can all help with the tissues removing swelling and restoring normal lymphatic circulation. For most liposuction patients, the recovery is usually a little more difficult and longer than they had initially anticipated.


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Swelling after Liposuction is common and the phenomena you are describing is due to edema in most cases. Fortunately this resolves.
Bruising and swelling are normal in the suctioned areas and usually increase slightly after the removal of any tape or foam. The bruising will decrease over 3-4 weeks, but may last as long as 6 weeks. The majority of the swelling will be gone within the first 3-4 weeks. However it may take 6-9 months to disappear completely. The compression garment helps reduce the swelling, and the longer it is worn, the more quickly the process will proceed. If you have any concerns, notify your plastic surgeon to get it examined. Velashape 3 can speed up this process - speak to your surgeon to see when this is safe to start.

Swelling after liposuction

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Pain and assymetry is not uncommon. Make sure you walk frequently, consume adequate fluids and expect to feel more swolen before you get less swollen.   Generally time is the answer, but you may feel better just having some time to sit down with your PS.

What You're Feeling Is Common Shortly After Liposuction

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The feelings you've described are quite common for someone who is still recovering from liposuction. On average, swelling lasts for  about 2-3 weeks and during this time you will experience some degree of stiffness, particularly when you aren't moving around much (i.e. sleeping, resting). It's great that you're slowly walking around to keep your circulation going. This is very important and I recommend this to all of my patients who've had liposuction (as well as other cosmetic surgery procedures).


You mentioned an "unpleasant sensation rush down your torso" - this is probably similar to when your foot falls asleep and becomes numb. Then, when you move it around, the increased circulation causes a tingly and sometimes uncomfortable feeling.  As long as you keep walking around at a leisurely pace to maintain good circulation and wear your compression garment as advised, you should be okay. You can also try massage, but find out what kind of massage can be performed from your surgeon to make sure it's suitable for you.

However, please notify your surgeon if you are overly concerned. It's always best to get their advice since they know your situation better!

Liposuction recovery

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The recovery from liposuction will vary from patient to patient, but the sensations that you are feeling are fairly common. If you have concerns, speak with your surgeon.

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