What happens to residual fat left over after Smart Lipo? (photos)

I recently had abdominal SmartLipo done (2 weeks) and I am very happy with my results. Now I know that the lumpiness and swelling goes away and can take several months to do so but what happens to fat that wasn't completely taken out. I have fat around my belly button (at least I think its fat as it doesn't seem to fluctuate like my other areas that are sometimes swollen). Is this something that would need to be revised in the future or should it smooth out on it own?

Doctor Answers 8

Swelling May Be Perfectly Normal

Swelling after Smartlipo takes several weeks to fully resolve, so at this point it's tough to say whether the area you are concerned about leftover fat or just mild swelling in the tissues that's causing the bulge. Special massage techniques and heat to the area, under the guidance of your surgeon, can help you even out the area. Otherwise, you'll need to wait a few more months before making any conclusions about your results. If it does not resolve to your satisfaction after all swelling is gone you should discuss options with your surgeon. Occasionally, every liposuction surgeon has case where they will advise their patients of the need to perform revisions or “touch ups” to correct contour irregularities. Hopefully things will smooth out on their own. They almost always do. Good luck!

Spokane General Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Thank you for your question. You really have to wait a full 3 months, I think, to see much in terms of results after any type of liposuction. To answer your question, the remaining fat cells that were destroyed but not removed with the suction process will eventually get absorbed. That's why you can expect continued improvements. Keep up w/ your surgeon's recommendations, and you will do very well. Best wishes.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Residual fat

It's very early in the healing process to determine swelling can residual fat.

Close follow up with your plastic surgeon is recommended during this time.

Post op.

You are still early in the healing process, and like other colleagues have said, you need to give it a full 6 months to heal.
Some fat is always left behind, otherwise the skin will develop fixation points.  Sometimes the fat right around the umbilicus or belly button is a little tougher to remove.  Also, there tends to be some additional connective tissue and blood vessels right in that area.  
Give it time, try some hot wraps and massage as this will also help smooth the area and even out the texture, and good luck.

Scott Powell, MD
Denton General Surgeon

You will continue to improve

there is no way you can assess how much fat has been left behind at 2 weeks. It is true that the fat that is left behind will still be there. However, i think the greatest improvement for most patients comes between 2-6 months and not in the first 2 months (of course everyone is different). You need to be patient. Also any areas of unevenness will often smooth out over months. 

try not to worry or think about what fat has not been removed since you are only at the very beginning of those changes.

david berman md

David E. Berman, MD
Sterling Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Residual Fat

Any fat that was not removed by aspiration using a cannula will not go away.  Fat that was treated with SmartLipo but not aspirated may diminish over a period of 6 to 8 weeks.  You did not mention whether to have only SmartLipo or SmartLipo with aspiration.  You are wise to give everything time to heal.

What happens to residual fat left over after Smart Lipo?

In my practice I offer post op sessions of Thermi Smooth 250 RF sessions to even out residual fat deposits!

Residual fat stays put after lipo

Fat that wasn't removed during your lipo isn't going anywhere. You can't wish it away. If it's a noticeable lump, it will only go away with additional lipo. Losing weight might make it less noticeable.

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.