Is Liposuction pain unbearable? Does it cause nerve damage?

I here some people say it's ok then others feel like they've been hit by a Mac truck

Doctor Answers 9

Liposuction pain - how bad is it?

liposuction pain varies a lot - Generally pain is gone in five days and is not severe but aching can last weeksLarge volume liposuction on heavy people does have a longer recovery

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Post Liposuction Pain

In my practice most of my patients have very little pain one week after following my liposuction post-op protocol. Liposuction, if performed by an expert, should not cause any nerve damage. If you are seeking fat removal, contouring, and skin tightening I suggest consulting with a VASER hi definition specialist. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews


Most of my patients feel a bit sore after the procedure. If the worst pain is on a scale of 0-10 is a 10, many feel it is about a 3 or so.  Soreness but tolerable, often like a tough workout.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Liposuction recovery

Thanks for your inquiry.  Generally, liposuction recovery is well tolerated and nerve damage rare, but there are always exceptions.  I suggest you query the awesome RealSelf patient community of their experiences with pain.  I am sure they will share with you what you need to know and good luck. 

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

Nerve damage after liposuction

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and it has its own risks. While it is always possible to cause damage to nearby structures including the nerves, this can be reduced with good surgical technique and experiences. A board certified plastic surgeon can help navigate your journey through liposuction. Best, TMM

Terence Michael Myckatyn, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Is Liposuction pain unbearable? Does it cause nerve damage?

Thank you for your question.  In most cases patients receiving liposuction do not have unbearable pain but rather a dull soreness, such as that after a hard workout.  Pain will be proportional to the number of areas and extent of liposuction performed, however.  Liposuction is designed to gently push nerves out of the way during the procedure so any permanent nerve damage is very rare.  See a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation, they can discuss the details of the procedure with you so that you can feel more relaxed about it.  Best wishes.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Pain with liposuction? Nerve damage?

Liposuction remains very popular in part because it does not cause significant pain.  Most patients experience soreness similar to a deep bruise.  The discomfort is the worst in the first few days after the procedure and then quickly improves.      Liposuction rarely causes any permanent nerve damage.   The nerves in the area of liposuction are "banged up" after the procedure, producing numbness, and may not work properly for several weeks to months. The  areas of numbness will improve as the nerves recover.

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Liposuction Related Pain and Nerve Trauma

Liposuction is an excellent way to improve body contouring; there is some degree of discomfort associated with the procedure, but it is quite tolerable, especially with a couple of days of pain medications. In general, most patients express that it was LESS painful than they had anticipated. Pain perception, however, is very individualized; so, what may be tolerable for most can be more significant for some. 
Most patients experience some degree of numbness and tingling after liposuction - this is related to nerve trauma/irritation. Nerves will not be cut with your liposuction procedure, and sensation will improve as you continue to heal. 

Ashley B. Robey, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Liposuction discomfort

Thank you for your question.
The vast majority of the time, the discomfort after liposuction is very tolerable.  If the pain were unbearable much of the time, it would not be one of the most popular procedures performed!  The level of discomfort is typically increased if you have more areas that are suctioned, and how "aggressive" the liposuction procedure is (the more that's removed, the more discomfort you may have).  Also, every person is different with respect to how their body perceives discomfort.  The good news it that your doctor will prescribe medications to keep you comfortable throughout your recovery.  Regarding nerve damage, the nerves aren't cut with liposuction so any permanent damage is HIGHLY unusual.  You may have some tingling or numbness for a while if the nerves get swollen or a bit bruised, but this is temporary.
Best,Dr. Michael EpsteinMAE Plastic SurgeryNorthbrook, IL

Michael A. Epstein, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 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.