Are Blood Clots and Seroma Common Liposuction Complications?

How common are blood clots and seroma after liposuction? How often do I need to move and get up and walk after my surgery to prevent blood clots? I don't want to move too much but at the same time don't want to stay planted in bed.

Doctor Answers 11

Complications of liposuction

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Hi Keely

Although seromas are reportedly a common complication after liposuction, this is a rare and benign finding in my personal practice. I suspect the incidence of seroma is technique driven. On the other hand, blood clots, i.e. deep venous thrombosis is a very uncommon complication but the seriousness is such that it should never be ignored. Your surgeon will take special precautions during surgery to reduce this risk of this dreaded complication and post-operatively your contribution will be to get out of bed and begin ambulation as soon as possible.

Good luck and best wishes to you in Las Vegas.

Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Seromas and blood clots post liposuction

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Blood clots are rare and seromas are a bit more common.  Staying active after surgery is the most important thing a patient can do to prevent blood clots.  

Liposuction complications

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Blood clots after liposuction are extremely rare.  Seromas are extremely rare in traditional liposuction but more common with other forms of liposuction that use a heating or ultrasonic component.

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

Blood clots are rare and seromas are uncommon after liposuction

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Fortunately, both blood clots and seromas are uncommon complications after liposuction. During surgery, your surgeon may use pneumatic sequential hose to pump the blood in and out of your legs. Post op, you should move around frequently, and when relaxing, frequently flex your leg muscles. It is the natural movement of your muscles that works best to maintain blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon

Complications after liposuction

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Seromas are very uncommon in my practice and I have not had a patient have  "blood clots" after liposuction surgery. I agree with the other surgeons that early ambulation and hydration after liposuction is a must in preventing deep vein thrombosis.

Joel B. Singer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Blood clots and seromas are very rare after liposuction

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The only patients I would be concerned about would be someone with a history of DVT. In 30 years of doing liposuction, I have never had a patient with either. You can be up and moving about the next day with only soreness.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

DVT and seroma after liposuction

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I have personally never seen a seroma after traditional tumescent liposuction. I believe that ultrasonic and laser types can lead to seromas however. I have also never had a DVT after liposuction. It is critical to ambulate after the surgery, pump your legs and use the muscles to keep good flow in the veins. The last thing to do is to stay in bed!

My liposuction experience in Santa Barbara

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This is an excellent question -- you ask about one of the rarest complications of liposuction (blood clots) and one of the more common ones (seroma), according to the literature. What does that mean? I think it varies from individual to individual, but I have personally never seen a seroma in my liposuction practice in Santa Barbara. I usually encourage my patients to wear a conforming compression garment for 3-4 weeks following the liposuction surgery, and i do not perform large volume liposuction of over 5 liters in my office.

This leads to discussion of the other, more dreaded complication -- blood clots and pulmonary em bolus (PE) where the blood clot travels to the lung. I have never seen this complication from surgery in my center either, and this is a rare event following safe amounts of liposuction alone. It is more commonly seen with large volumes of liposuction and combining liposuction with other procedures, particularly abdominoplasty.

I would not fear the complications that you ask about if you are seeking liposuction. I would recommend, however, that you see a real plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board Of Plastic Surgery, and who you feel will do a safe, conservative operation. Don't be fooled by the multitudes of non-plastic surgeons who do liposuction in their office -- you want to be in a safe environment with a well trained professional, and your risks of problems should be quite low.

Blodd clots (DVT PE) & seroma following liposuction

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DVT with PE (clots) is one of the most dreaded complications following liposuction. Fortunately, it is relatively rare. Unfortunately the incidence is not known due to difficulty calculating the number of procedures performed. We have had studies that show a wide variation in the incidence of DVT with PE following liposuction AND abdominoplasty that ranges from 1 in 3,500 to 1 in 40,000. The incidence with liposuction alone certainly should be less than that. In any unique situation, the physician must assess the risk factors that are specific to that patient.

The risk of seroma may be related to the technique and it is generally believed that the incidence is higher following the use of ultrasonic assisted lipoplasty. I am not sure of the incidence following laser assisted lipoplasty.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Blood clots and seromas extremely uncommon with well performed liposuction.

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In my entire career in New York City over 20 years, I have seen two small seromas in the upper abdomen, and no blood clots after liposuction.  We let patients move about freely after liposuction. Just don't do anything that's painful.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

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.