What Will Happen to the Melted Fat in my Thighs After Smartlipo?

I had smartlipo done on my outer and inner thighs over a week ago. My legs are even bigger than they were before. As I was getting the procedure done, the doctor told me he doesn't suck the fat out. I'm panicking - what is going to happen to the melted fat in my thighs? I had smartlipo done on my flanks previously in nyc and i love the results because they were instant. What should i do? I am so upset I spent $4000 on this.

Doctor Answers 8

"Areas treated with SmartLipo may appear larger the first several weeks."

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It is certainly not uncommon for areas treated with SmartLipo to appear larger within the first 2 weeks.  I encourage you to wear adequate but comfortable compression, drink plenty of water,  and to monitor your sodium intake during this time.  I also recommend you take Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Bromelain and Arnica.  These measures will help you to reduce the swelling, so you can realize results more quickly. 

Be reassured that any destroyed fatty material not liposuctioned will self absorb, but the healing process may take a little longer.  Consult with your doctor by one-month post op and discuss your concerns if you're not seeing some improvement.

Windell Davis Boutte, MD, Medical Director, Premiere Dermatology and Surgery, Lilburn, GA

Atlanta Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 228 reviews

Results take time

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Try to be patient, results will take more than a week to be visible. It is not uncommon for many patients to be concerned that they appear or feel bigger for the first few weeks after a liposuction or smartlipo procedure.  There is always some degree of swelling that must go away after any surgical procedure. Te smartlipo laser works by melting fat cells. These disrupted cells are either sucked out using liposuction cannulas or their contents are slowly resorbed by the body. 


Give it another few weeks and you should start to see the areas taking shape.

Edgar Franklin Fincher, MD, PhD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Gets eliminated naturally

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The melted fat gets naturally eliminated by your body's lymphatic system as it would do for waste matter, but this can take a little while. Usually, the melted fat is suctioned out of the body. I would suggest you wait for about 3 months for most of the swelling to subside before you judge your results, since that's probably why your thighs are so big. In the meantime, keep in touch with your surgeon.

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I personally prefer to do laser and suction as do most of the specialists I know.

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If you are concerned, get an appointment and talk to the doctor who performed the SmartLipo.  If the fat is melted and not suctioned, it will take longer to see the final result.  If your doctor is highly skilled and experienced in doing SmartLipo, he/she will be able to explain to you what  her/she expects to happen following your SmartLipo procedure. 

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Smart liposuction should involve liposuction

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SmartLiposuction involves the application of laser energy inside the fatty tissue to  help make the fat softer, even liquify it so that it comes out in the liposuction more readily, and the laser also can help tighten some dermal tissue. Immediately after the laser energy is delivered, liposuction usually is done to aspirate the looser fatty content.  If you didn't have actual liposuction after the laser energy, you may still get a reduction in volume, but I can't attest to the safety of the liberated triglycerides that weren't aspirated after the laser.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

What Happens to Melted Fat After Smartlipo?

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It is usually aspirated and removed through a thin liposuction cannula (looks like a straw) attached to a syringe or any aspiration machine.  Any residual amount is resorbed by the body.  Fortunately, no increase in cholestorol or triglycerides occurs.

Deborah Sarnoff, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Early days, but.....

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The first week or two there is considerable water left from the procedure. Then the sweling still has to go away. You will know when it is gone because you won't feel that slight soreness any more. After that the tightening will take place from the collagen stimulation from the laser.

Overall this is a process that may take 4 to 6 months. The surprising part though is that there was no fat suctioned. Although smartlipo had been done this way initially;  for the past few years it has usually been combined with suctioning.

 Not knowing your specific situation it would be hard to say; but generally speaking - we begin with lasering to melt the fat cells-- followed by suctioning away the fat -- often again followed by additional lasering to provide extra tightening.

Christopher J. Peers, MD
South Bend Facial Plastic Surgeon

Traditional lipo is usually used after Smartlipo

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Smartlipo uses laser energy to liquify fat and other tissues. After Smartlipo, the areas are usually treated with regular liposuction to remove any fat or other liquified tissues and the laser energy is used to tighten the skin.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 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.