Are Liposuction Lumps More Likely to Form if There's Very Little Fat?

I'm getting Liposuction, but I'm worried about ending up with lumps. I have very little body fat, but I want to sculpt my trouble areas. Does your chance of ending up with lumps have anything to do with the amount of fat you are having removed or have left? Does it have anything to do with the type of surgery you get (Smart Lipo/Traditional Lipo)?

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction with thin skin and fat can have more lumps


I don't want to leave you with the reply that this never happens with my technique. The skinny on lipo in areas with very little fat, or in areas of thin skin is that dents, lumps or irregularities are indeed more prone to occur.

Danger areas in liposuction with any technique are inner thighs and inside the knee. The fat pad is often thinner and the skin thin as well and more delicate and less elastic. Without care imperfections can show up. Another challenge in liposuction is in a thin abdomen again where liposuction is prone to produce dents in the area just above the belly button and in the two prominent fat pads just below.

Imperfections are not necessarily technique dependent and a good or great result can be seen with any instrument your surgeon is conpetent with. The irregularity is caused by uneven fat removal without feathering, and underappreciation of the actual skin elasticity.

Choose a surgeon rather than a particular technique, one who you understand and trust, and look for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Best of luck,


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Factors regarding lumps after liposuction

Liposuction by its very nature, no matter what technique or machine is used, is prone to lumps or irregularity. Smooth surfaces tends to be less smooth, and lumpy contours can become even more lumpy unless there is specific attention paid to significant pre-existing lumps, as in secondary liposuction.

You can think of liposuction as sort of trying to rake a sandbox with a chopstick.

In general, the more you remove, the more chance of lumpiness. The more localized the area, the less chance of irregularity. That is why it is ideal to get to as healthy a lifestyle situation as possible, and why liposuction is not a treatment for obesity.

The most important determinant is the surgeon in terms of proficiency at the procedure with whatever technique or machine and in terms of counseling patients as to their appropriateness for the procedure. Patient selection is crucial.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Lumps after Liposuction

Your susceptibility to lumps, in my experience, is related to the thickness and elasticity of your skin as well as the mistake of attempting to remove too much fat from the superficial layers. I use a PAL (power assisted liposuction) with a cannula that has holes only on one side This allows me to remove fat from the deeper layers first. Also, the more fat your surgeon removes, the greater your chance for lumps. Remember, it is better to remove too little fat that to remove too much fat.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Lumps from Liposuction

Generally speaking "lumps" represent small areas of residual fat surrounded by areas of less fat. The easiest way to describe this is that sometimes a hill is a hill because there is a valley on both sides. With this in mind, the chances for "lumps" are essentially independent of how much fat is present initially. In fact, liposuction is often most effective in people who are already at or close to their ideal body weight.

Manish Raj Gupta, MD
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Liposuction can leave lumps if done too aggressively

In Liposuction, it is all about what you leave behind. If the Liposuction is too aggressive, there is a possibility of having dents or bumps. It seems that you could be an ideal candidate for liposuction as you do not have a lot of fat. Liposuction works better to sculpture certain areas like flanks or inner thighs. Dents and bumps could be avoided, the key is the proper choice of your plastic surgeon. Good Luck!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Liposuction Lumps Unusual

Lumps after liposuction are unusual. I use power assisted liposuction with a small cannula. By using a small cannula the fat comes out more diffusely. In addition, in most areas I try to approach the fat from at least two directions. This plus the use of small cannulae allow the fat to come out more uniformly. We'll use ultrasound at times after surgery to help speed up recovery.

If you are thin and just have a few fat pockets, you are an excellent candidate. Avoid SmartLipo.

William H. Huffaker, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Lumps can be completely avoided with good technique.

To shadesofpink,

Hi! Two points:

1) Avoid Smart Lipo. It is a gimmick. I don't know any experienced board certified plastic surgeons who use it.

2) Lumps are just a surgical error. Now there are no guarantees in surgery, but using very small cannulas and with delicate technique, lumps can almost always be avoided, even when I am taking out a small amount of fat.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Lumps are technique-dependent


Lumpiness after liposuction is mainly technique dependent. However, the quality of your fat can be a factor as well. The goal is to leave a smooth layer of fat superficially while de-bulking the deeper layers. No matter whether you are having Smartlipo or traditional lipo, the chance for lumpiness is the same. Good luck with your surgery.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews


There is no question that attempting liposuction or liposculpture in areas that have very little fat increases the risk of lumps, bumps, and contour deformities.

That is why I have traditionally not attempted liposuction in thin people.

I have successfully used SlimLipo laser liposuction and achieved nice skin tightening and contour inprovement in thin fit women with little fat.

Your result will depend on the expertise and skill of your board certified plastic surgeon.

SliLipo laser liposuction is new and there are few doctors who have the machine and fewer that have experience.

my personal opinion is that if you do not have a lot of fat and are interested in sculpting and skin tightening, that you find an experienced doctor who uses SlimLipo.

See before and after pictures of SlimLipo of upper abdomen and waist and mini tuck of lower abdomen.

I don't believe lesser fat would cause liposuction lumps

In my experience, the patient is more likely to get lumps when there are thicker fat pads to start and more aggressive suction is needed. It is also important to note that there are (at least) two different types of lumps.

The first kind of lump is due to uneven residual swelling, which will eventually go away. The second type of lump is due to inadequately removed fat, resulting in a high spot. The latter type will require additional treatment to fix.

To expedite resolution of the swelling and the lumps related to it, I will have my patients undergo endermology, or for less money, I have them get a wooden roller type massager, and have them work out the lumps that way.

Finally, the compression garments help in this regard as well.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 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.