Liposuction of Abdomen 3 1/2 Weeks Ago. Bloated and Defined Swelling. When Will I See Final Result? (photo)

PAL liposuction of abdomen done by a PS 3 1/2 weeks ago (Nov 2011). My abdominal area looked like a "3" if you looked at me sideways. Had 1150 ccs of fat removed. 1st day was great, I had the flat belly I always wanted. 2 weeks into my recovery I got my period (which always makes me bloated). The bloated feeling continues today and I noticed that the "belly pouch" is back(smaller). PS told me that this is normal and to wait until my next visit (end of Jan 2012). Will it get flatter again?

Doctor Answers 12

Bloated and swollen after liposuction--this is normal.

You are only 3+ weeks post-op, and you were kind enough to mention that you looked "great . . . the flat belly you always wanted" the day after surgery. So you absolutely know the excess fat was removed! Since you didn't "suddenly" re-grow all the fat that was removed, you KNOW what you see now is swelling.

The important question is whether or not this swelling is within the tissues (like a saturated sponge) or if there is a collection (seroma) that should be eliminated. If it isn't, this can develop an area of persistent scar tissue that can remain as a bulge. So removal of excess fluid in a "pocket" or pseudobursa beneath the skin is important, or else the bulge you see now may persist.

I'd recommend seeing your surgeon sooner than your regular scheduled appointment; even if things are fine, knowing this rather than waiting and finding out a seroma should have been evacuated is always a good thing. Call your surgeon and schedule an appointment ASAP. Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Be patient. The shape you saw on postop day one should return after the swelling resolves. Liposuction is very effective at removing significant volumes of fat from unwanted areas. While the incisions for liposuction are very small and well concealed, the area of treatment is typically widespread. Along with the fat removal and manipulation of the deeper tissues comes postoperative edema (swelling).  All of the tunnels created from the fat removal are susceptible to swelling/fluid retention. This is why it is advisable to have a well fitting compression garment. The compression will help to reduce post-op swelling. If you weigh yourself post-op, you will likely be heavier than you were before surgery.  This increase is often related to post-op swelling. You can expect to have significant swelling over the initial 2-3 wks with progressive improvement through the third month. Make sure you visit with your plastic surgeon to be sure that you don't have a seroma. Otherwise, wear a well fitted compression garment. I encourage all of my patients to resume active fitness throughout their recovery, but be sure to review your plans with your surgeon. Best of luck. Dr. Renucci

John Renucci, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

If your belly looked great at day one, and now looks bloated, it is likely that when the swelling comes down it will look nice as well.  Give it some time.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

 In general there is 2.2 pounds per liter of fat removed.    Even at 4 weeks you do have some swelling present. In general you are 50% of the way there at 6 weeks and 80% at 3 months.  Re-evaluate at 6 months and decide if you need additional liposuction.  When large areas are treated with liposuction there is always some degree of fluid retention.  Give it time and you should get some resolution.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Swelling is normal

this is very normal to have significant swelling after liposuction as long as there is not fluid collection or a seroma..Your doc can tell.  Be patient, wear the compression garment and dont exercise.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Liposuction Results?

Thank you for the question and picture.

Only direct examination will allow a physician to determine if you have a fluid accumulation ( seroma) present. 

If this is not the case, you are experiencing swelling which is part of the healing process.  I ask my liposuction patients to wear a compression garment for 4 weeks post op surgery to help with the swelling.  The swelling can take months to subside and even longer for skin to “redrape".  At that point you will see the final results. 

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Swelling 3 weeks after liposuction

Give it some time and be patient.  It takes a minimum of 3-6 months for the majority of the swelling to resolve after liposuction. It takes almost a year for all of the swelling to go away.  Give it some time.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Be religious about wearing your compression garment if are not currently doing so.  After the first week post-op I have all my patients do lymphatic drainage.  

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Liposuction swelling

make sure you do not have a seroma which may require needle drainage by your surgeon. Also, ensure that you are wearing your compression garment all the time except while showering. In addition, activity levels also have a significant role in the amount of swelling. Continue to work with your docotor and you will have a great result over time!

All the best,

Sean Lille, M.D.

Sean T. Lille, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Liposuction of Abdomen 3 1/2 Weeks Ago. Bloated and Defined Swelling. When Will I See Final Result? (photo)

Based upon your posted photo, I believe it is residual swelling/edema. But without in person examination very hard to advise if not enough was done. I agree with extra compression and external ultrasound with lymphatic massage. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 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.