Inner/Outer Thigh Lipo Bulge from Garment

I had inner/outer liposuction of the thighs 5 days ago. The surgical center did not put on the compression garment correctly and the top of my inner thighs bulged out of the pubic hole. Went to doc today and thighs looked good except for huge bulges at top of thighs. They helped put on garment correctly. Will these bulges go away or could they become permanent?

Doctor Answers 9

Bulges From Garments

Compression garments type and when applied varies from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon and not dependent usually on the type of lipo performed. In my practice, A compression garment placed in surgery immediately after liposuction (steristrip protects the sutures) is recommended and beneficial after liposuction because:
  1. It restricts the amount of edema that forms and hastens its resolution by mechanical pressure.
  2. It decreases the amount of bruising.
  3. It assists the loose skin in retracting or shrinking.
If bulging above or below, creases or  bands are present then you probably need to change garments - see your plastic surgeon.
It is common to have weight gain due to edema, serum that collects in the area, and the tumescent fluid that was injected. This will resolve over time. The more you wear the garment initially, the quicker this fluid resolves.
Edema: a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.
The length of time that the garment should be worn varies depending on the amount of fat removed, the elastic nature of your skin, how much loose skin remains, and other factors. Your surgeon would give you the best advice, however this is the general routine for my patients.
The first garment should be fitted for you in the office prior to surgery and applied in the operating room. Often it will become loose as the edema is mobilized, and then it will need to be replaced. Spanx is a reasonable compression garment if it gives enough support and is the right size. I have my patents bring them in so I can confirm that it fits well.
Most important advice is to listen to your surgeon, as he or she knows how much fat was removed, the elasticity that remains in your skin, and amount of skin redundancy.
I recommend that my patients wear their garments for a minimum of three weeks full time then for twelve hours at a time (day or night). If there is not a lot of redundant skin, this continues to a maximum of six weeks.
To be effective, the garment needs to fit snugly—but not too tight as that can make it difficult to sleep or cause pressure problems (inspect your skin when it is exposed if you are uncomfortable). As the edema resolves it is common for patients to switch to a smaller garment that fits. A Spanx-type garment would work fine, rather than ordering one or paying more at your doctor’s office. For Small or moderate amounts of liposuction it probably doesn't make a difference if a garment is used or not. 

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Bulge above liposuction garment

I have seen this happen before when the liposuction girdle was not pulled up high enough. The girdle pushed the extra skin up high and it never flattened out smoothly. I had to do a minor touch up in the office with local anesthesia. Sometimes you can correct this if you reposition the girdle early on.

Stanley Castor, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Bulges after Liposuction should get better

Some areas of swelling or bulging just beyond the liposuction garments is very common.  These areas will improve in most cases.  Readjustment of the garments in the postop period is frequently necessary.  Your results will improve over the next few weeks, but some areas of swelling can last months.  It is hard to be patient, but your patience is usually rewarded.  Best wishes.

Michael Vincent, MD, FACS

Michael Vincent, MD
Rockville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Liposuction and compression garment causing a bulge

It is doubtful that any permanent affect will be realized.  This area bulges from swelling commonly and is seen even through compression garments when applied correctly! It should go down over time and followup with your surgeon to be sure.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Swelling after Liposuction

Compression after liposuction helps keep down swelling.  However, some surgeons do not even use compression after surgery or have patients wait a few days.  It sounds like part of your compression garment was constricting and caused the uncovered areas to swell more than the tissue being compressed.  Now that your compression garment is adjusted, the swelling is this area will resolve as well.  It is very unlikely that this caused an long term effect on your overall results.  Just a few days after liposuction, it is impossible to comment on final results.


Good Luck.

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

Liposuction bulge out of garment

Usually early on after liposuction, patients have swelling. The garment helps keep the swelling at bay. Readjusting the garment should eliminate your concerns and more than likely the initial bulge will go away.

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

Liposuction bulging

Typically, the garments worn after liposuction provide support and reduce swelling, but if there is a positional problem or bulging, after correction of the garments it should improve.

Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Bulges above the liposuction garment

Liposuction of the inner thigh and abdomen will result in a bulge or swelling above the garment at the crotch cutout unless you carefully pull the garment up against your bottom. Also, some patients find that the labia can swell without support as well, as the surrounding area is pushed it is the easiest place for the swelling to go. The bulges will go down as you adjust your garment for the best fit. Also, a boy short underpant over the garment will provide additional support to your bottom.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Bulge in upper inner thigh from malpositioned garment

This bulge may be largely related to swelling due to the constrictive effect of the garment (provided that the liposuction was performed as indicated in this area). This should resolve over time and not leave you with a permanent problem.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.