Is It Possible for Dead Melted Fat Not to Be Reabsorbed After SmartLipo?

5 months after smartlipo, I have a hard tubular lump each side of belly button, & small area close to breast bone. The lower one is very tender to touch and when my clothing rubs against it, it burns. I was told not to worry; that the "dead" undrained fat would be reabsorbed and removed by my body over time. I never thought it would take this long and still have a bulge and purple scars. I've done weekly ultrasound which helped in the very beginning, and wore garment 8 weeks instead 2.

Doctor Answers 1

"Melted" fat after laser-assisted liposuction is removed

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The fat that is "melted" by the laser or destroyed by the suctioning action of liposuction is taken care of by your body's normal fat elimination processes. And that has occured by 5 months after your liposuction. It's more likely that the firm and tender "lumps" that you are feeling are either:

  1. small pockets of residual fat, or 
  2. inflammatory pockets, called induration medically

Discuss the possibilities with your surgeon. At 5 months there is still some healing to occur and s/he can best guide you as to whether enough time has passed to determine if the lumps are most likely possibility 1. or 2. If there is a residual pocket of fat a small touch-up procedure may be helpful, and if there is still inflammation despite ultrasound, injecting anti-inflammatory corticosteroids may be helpful.

A third possibility is that you might have an umbilical hernia by the belly button. That could account for tenderness there. Ask your surgeon if that is possible.

San Antonio Dermatologic Surgeon
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