How Long Does Swelling Post-VASER Lipo Last?

It has been 5 weeks since I had Smart Lipo/VASER Lipo done on my saddlebags, inner thighs, and buttocks. I still need to wear my compression garment for 1 more week. I am still seeing a lot of swelling, especially at the end of the day. I can't easily wear any of my jeans yet. I am a very active person and have my doctor's approval for running and working out. How long can I expect the swelling to continue, and is there anything I can do to make it better? Am I making it worse by exercising? I am ready to get out of the compression garment, but should I wear it longer than 6 weeks if I am still swelling?

Doctor Answers 14

Swelling after Liposuction

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If you’re genuinely worried or the swelling seems abnormal, contact your surgeon immediately. They will be able to determine if there is a cause for concern. However try not to be alarmed as some swelling is to be expected. It’s prudent to keep in mind that after any kind of liposuction, swelling can remain for up to 4 months after your procedure.

Being active can also increase swelling & slow down the healing process. It may be a good idea to limit some of your activities in order to facilitate healing more quickly. Also, your surgeon may recommend that you continue to wear the compression garment in order to keep the swelling down as much as possible. Again, if you’re worried, talk with your surgeon.

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

I would take it easy and compress until no swelling is noted

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Hi there-

Swelling, particularly swelling that seems to worsen with activity or at the end of the day, means that the activity or the days events have caused fluid to accumulate in your tissues.

Exercising while this is still occurring risks further slowing the healing process, and so my preference for my own patients is to restrict their activity until this has abated and continue to compress as well.

The fact that you are still swollen shouldn't alarm you though - often swelling can persist in some form for a few months before it completely abates.

Swelling with Vaser Lipo

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First of all, if you think your swelling is excessive, you should definitely contact the board certified plastic surgeon who performed your Vaser Lipo.

That being said,  I integrate massage therapy into the recovery phase for all my Vaser lipo patients, which definitely helps with swelling and stiffness.

We typically apply a compression garment at the time of surgery, and afterwards, parents have various amounts of swelling in both surgical and non surgical areas, depending on age (Post menopausal women with Vaser of flanks and abdomen may have ankle and hand swelling due to salt retention, for example). Starting approximately 7-9 days postop, my patients undergo massage therapy at my practice, starting weekly or two times a week for the first six weeks. Some patients elect to have massage a few days after surgery; we usually do light lymphatic massage. You might think it would be a rough and uncomfortable experience, but I can attest that hundreds of my Vaser lipo patients laud the wonderful massage technique of my licensed massage therapist, and they leave the office with less swelling!

I would expect at 5 wks you'd have about 20% of your swelling. We know from wound healing that people vary as to swelling and consequences after surgery.

If you haven't had any massage, I encourage you to find a LMT, as you will enjoy the benefits of smoother results, less swelling in the operative and nonoperative tissues, as well as feel generally better. Massage therapy contributes to the principal of tissue equilibrium, my analogy for that is 2 simultaneous incisions on the back of your hand; if you massage the first 7 days afterwards for a minute 4 times a day and not massage the right one, the non-massaged area will be more sensitive, more swollen and less flexible. The operative site that received the massage would be more flexible, less swollen and have a better scar.

Don't hesitate to contact my office or have your massage therapist contact us for the timing and techniques we use to help you achieve a more supple, less sensitive and less swollen outcome with massage.

Most patients wear the garment for 6 weeks and dislike it so much that some of my patients have burned them when done, or throw them overboard at a Garment Party on their boat (Cleveland is on Lake Erie). Some patients transition into Spanx or other body shaping garments, but nothing too aggressive. Given the fact that you are still swollen and have had no massage, I imagine you will need longer garment use. However, you should also discuss your concerns about swelling with your surgeon to make certain there are no underlying issues that should be assessed.

To your health and beauty,

Dr. Paul Vanek

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Cleveland Mentor OH

Post-Operative Vaser Swelling Statistics

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We have recently compiled statistics on post-operative bruising and swelling from Vaser liposuction, and although our findings indicate that two weeks is the average time for swelling to begin to subside, a significant number of patients continue to have swelling past 45 days.  So, as in your case, swelling after 5 weeks would not be particularly unusual.
In our clinic, we use manual lymphatic drainage massage to help the body process fluid build-up, and have found that this reduces the time for operative swelling to subside.
Please have a look at the web reference below to see the results of our study.

Most liposuction patients stay swollen for weeks

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First, Smart Lipo is different from VASER. If they were combined, then that is a different story. In general, most liposuction patients can stay swollen for several weeks. The more active the patient, the more likely the swelling will persist. VASER and Smart Lipo patients probably stay swollen longer because of the heating component of each device.

Swelling after Liposuction depends on the patient

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The swelling after liposution depends on the technique and also the patient. You state that you had Smart Lipo/VASER Lipo and that is not right. VASER Lipo is ultrasound liposuction, and it is more invasive and will cause more swelling. Smart Lipo is laser lipo and has much less swelling and faster recovery. Please discussss your concern with your doctor, and also you may benefit from Endermologie.

Swelling & Recovery Post Vaser Lipo

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Many studies indicate that there is less injury to the body with Vaser than with traditional #liposuction. Recovery from Vaser Liposuction is based on the level of soreness and bruising experienced by the patient. But, it can vary among patients. As with traditional liposuction, there are no large incisions  or effect on the muscle and other underlying tissue. Therefore, #healing time may be less than anticipated by most. Therefore, Vaser patients may experience less #pain or discomfort, #swelling (#edema) and bruising post procedure due to the nature of the technique.  

A quicker #recovery for a patient may be two to three weeks without any strenuous activity. This includes the short period of suggested rest of 12-24 hours soon following the procedure. #Exercise and activity are contingient on how the patient feels. Mild activity is not likely to hinder recovery or healing or create problems with recovery.  However, it is recommended to acquire your doctor's permission to do so. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  
The final results of the procedure are typically most noticeable 2-4 months following the #Vaser. So, you must have patience. The swelling will gradually diminish while the contours of the treated area(s) can continue to improve up to one year post procedure; becoming more apparent in appearance. If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

VASER Liposuction Swelling

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It is to be expected that swelling occurs after VASER liposuction. Although exercise can cause more swelling by the end of the day, I do not see it as something that will cause complications. However, if you are truly concerned about the amount of swelling you are seeing, consult with a certified surgeon

Persistent swelling after liposuction

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Liposuction causes extensive tissue damage and moderate swelling is normal. Most of the fluid should be resorbed within 6 weeks but physical activity may increase the degree and time of your swelling. I suggest that my patients wear heavy compression garments for 6 weeks and then lightweight garments for up to 6 months to achieve optimal results. Hang in there and don't check the mirror every day. Improvement comes gradually.

Andrew Goldberg, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon

VASER swelling varies by patient

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Congratulations on your VASER liposuction procedure. At 5 weeks post-op, you are well on your way to looking great. Be patient with your body and allow yourself to recover at your own pace. Be sure to follow your doctor's orders and keep activity, sodium and caffeine to a minimum. Get a full night's sleep each night and be sure to drink lots of water. VASER liposuction is certainly a significant procedure and your body will heal at it's own pace. I know it is tough at 5 weeks, but hang in are almost to the finish line! 

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.