3 Weeks Post Tummy and Thigh Liposuction: Why Have I Seen Absolutely No Results?

I'm 5'1 and 128 lbs. These were persistent pockets of fat; I am very fit. I took measurements before the surgery and daily since...no change whatsoever. I'm disappointed and frustrated.

Doctor Answers 8

3 weeks after tummy and thigh liposuction, and "No results" visible yet!

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I'm sorry you are frustrated, but at 3 weeks, you should give your surgeon the benefit of the doubt and be patient with swelling. Even if you wore your compression as recommended, there is always some degree of swelling that truly takes weeks to months to completely settle. That is why all surgeons tell our patients it takes 4-6 months (or longer in some cases) to reach our final results. Revision liposuction takes even longer, because even though it may be a  smaller amount of additional fat to remove, it is done in an area of previous scarring and decreased lymphatic drainage. But even for first-time patients, you won't reach final results for a while yet.

It is critical that you do not gain weight during this period of intense metabolic activity (healing) to avoid "feeding" these metabolically-active areas. "Extra" calories during this early healing phase simply are "added back" to the fat cells that remain in the areas treated. (This leads to "My lipo didn't work--it went right back to where they took it off!") If you are good with continued diet and exercise for the 4-6 months or more for everything to heal and metabolic activity to "settle down," then any extra calories taken in have equal opportunity to be deposited in the fat cells throughout your body--and there are fewer in the areas liposuctioned--so these patients tend to complain that "My lipo didn't work--it went right from my tummy and thighs to my butt and . . ." In both cases, bad lipo is not the culprit, "extra calories" are the cause of the issue.

But back to your 3-week post-op result. You can measure the success of your surgery in three ways: 1) by observation--looking in a mirror and seeing how you look in and out of clothes; 2) by measuring; and 3) by standing on a scale. Excess fluid and swelling can affect all three ways of measuring your result, but your appearance is the most accurate in predicting how things will be when all the swelling is gone (even if the measurements right now show no reduction).

You were not fat to begin with, so these localized fat pockets were either real and were appropriately treated, or perhaps there was laxity of the abdominal wall rather than excess fat. This would assume that your surgeon made an inaccurate assessment and performed a "sham" operation. While possible, this is unlikely, since most of us went into medicine to truly help people, and have nothing but the highest ethical standards in our patient recommendations, surgery, and care. Please don't mistake your impatience with "getting to your final result" with poorly-performed surgery or doctors with "shady" ethics.

This is why those of us who really care about our patients keep emphasizing that patients check out training, experience, which board-certifications are claimed (look for American Board of Plastic Surgery), and personal contact at the time of consultation. Follow-up care with your surgeon should help to allay your concerns! Good luck and best wishes!

Liposuction results?

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Thank you for your question.

Swelling 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.

Liposuction fat removal may not show results for more than a month

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There can be considerable swelling in some patients to blunt the response from liposuction for more than several weeks after surgery.  Compression garments may help minimize the fluid accumulation during healing.  Be patient and follow-up with your surgeon.  If your diet hasn't inceased in caloric intake, and if you maintain your preoperative exercise, and if a reasonable amount of fat was removed, it can take a few months to see improvement and there can be increased shrinkage of the tissues up to six months after liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Results after liposuction

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While every  patient is different and every practitioner is different, you should see some results after three weeks. That being said, I tell my patients that what they see isn't what they get for at least three months. This is because the procedure itself causes swelling and it takes time for the body to resolve the inflammation. Be patient for a little while longer and massage the areas. If by 2-3 months there is no change then you should go back to your doctor and see if a touch up procedure is a good idea (thought you should wait at least 6 months for the touch up).

Hope this helps.


D. Medalie, MD

When to see results of liposuction

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After liposuction it is not unusual to actually be bigger rather than smaller. Thisis because of the swelling that occurs after the procedure. The as the swelling goes away you start noticing a change. I tell my patients to wait three months to see the final results. By three weeks you should start seeing some changes. You may be oneof those people that remain swollen for a prolonged period of time and then suddenly start changing. Be patient. At this time that is all you can do. You should also know how much fat hasbeen removed. Once fully healed, comparing before and after pics will be helpful to clearly demonstrate all the changes your body underwent. Sinceely, Martin Jugenburg, MD

3 weeks post tummy tuck and liposuction

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I am sorry that you are not seeing the results that you hoped for, but you may have to give it some more time as more than likely you still have a fair amount of swelling to deal with.

Liposuction Postoperative Swelling

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Even at 3 weeks after liposuction patients can still have a significant amount of swelling and I would guess that is the situation you are in. I routinely tell my patients that they will not see the final results from liposuction until 8 weeks after surgery. Definitely discuss your frustrations with your surgeon, as he or she is your best resource for answers regarding your procedure.

Derek Lou, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon

3 Weeks Post Tummy and Thigh Liposuction: Why Have I Seen Absolutely No Results?

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Best to discuss in detail with your operative surgeon or get a second opinion in person. 3 weeks still very early in your recovery phase. 

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.