How Can I Differentiate Swelling from Fat After Lipo?

Hello :) I had tumescent (pal) lipo 3 weeks ago. I do have a blog with multiple pics. I'm wondering if there is a way to tell what's fat and what's swelling? Thank you in advance.

Doctor Answers 4

How Can I Differentiate Swelling from Fat After Lipo?

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Swelling can figure prominently into liposuction after a few weeks.  The results are typically observed immediately following surgery, and then there is a period of swelling that can persist for 3 to 6 months and sometimes longer.  The key factor in this is to assure that there is only swelling and not a fluid collection that must be drained.  Only a physical exam will be able to sort these issues out.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA


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After 3 weeks it will be hard to determine what is fat from swelling since you are swollen from surgery still. You should give your body 5-8 months for your swelling to completely subside and using a compression garment can help with that as well.



Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Fat vs swelling

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At three weeks it may be difficult to differentiate residual fat vs swelling. Give it a few months and then reassess.

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

Still Swollen Most Likely

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You are most likely still swollen since swelling can last about 6-8 weeks. The final result can usually be assessed at 3-4 months. 

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