Is extreme swelling, bloating and hard lumps normal after lipo?

I had a small amount of lower belly fat my doc took out when doing my breast aug, I am 17 days post op, and 3 large hard lumps, that hurt are developing. I'm also 15 pounds heavier, i followed a strict diet the first week, after that I wasn't as strict.

Doctor Answers 7

The swelling is normal

Swelling and lumps are normal, but 15lbs of weight gain is not....not even edema could account for this.  Please see your plastic surgeon to get evaluated for the 15lbs weight gain.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Weight gain from fluid retention after liposuction is very common.  I generally recommend that my patients wait for at least one month before getting on the scales after surgery.   Lumpiness is also common.   It is most commonly treated by massaging the area to help it soften.  Continue to wear your compression garments, that will help the swelling resolve more quickly.   Best on your continued recovery.   

Joseph Franklin, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Healing process

The lumpiness, swelling, itching and hardness after a surgery like you had typically persists at least 8 weeks after the surgery then slowly goes away. In my experience, daily massage of the hard areas makes the biggest difference in getting rid of it sooner rather than later. Staying away from salt will make a big difference in swelling. It can easily take 6 months or more to see results. Be sure to keep any scheduled follow up appointments you have with your surgeons for his evaluation and advice. Hope this helps.

Dean Vistnes, M.D.

Vistnes Plastic Surgery 

San Francisco Bay Area

#liposuction #drdeanvistnes #realself

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Knowing What's Normal After Liposcution--Add Venus Legacy, Cellutone to your aftercare

Yes, swelling, firmness and irregularities are normal after your procedure and can take 3-6 months to resolve. I recommend adding hyperbaric oxygen and lymphatic massage along with your compression to help reduce swelling. I also recommend adding coolsculpting/vanquish for further fat removal, exilis/venus legacy for skin tightening, cellutone/z wave to make the skin smooth, remove scar tissue, and improve the skin's appearance. See an expert. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 191 reviews

Weight gain and hard lumps after liposuction

Thank you for asking about your liposuction and breast augmentation.

  • Surgery does make us gain weight temporarily - 
  • It is from swelling and from water retention and is a natural part of healing.
  • But by 17 days, most people should be improving after a small area of liposuction although there are individual variations.
  • I suggest you go back to your surgeon for a 3 week check to discuss your concerns and be sure all is well.
  • It will take 6 months at least for all the swelling to subside.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews


Initially patients retain water and their weight goes up. The weight can also go up because of inactivity and dietary changes.  Lumps may develop from fluid retention too. Often as the swelling goes down, this improves. Any concerns should be addressed by your surgeon.

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

Is extreme swelling, bloating and hard lumps normal after lipo?

Thank you for sharing your question and I am sorry to hear of your recovery issues.  Weight gain after liposuction is not uncommon as the body will preferentially hold on to water until you are further along in your healing.  As for the hard lumps, without a series of photographs it is difficult to offer definite advice as it may be the result of asymmetrical swelling, fat necrosis, discrete fluid collection, etc.  I would see your surgeon for an in-person examination.  Best wishes.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 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.