I am still experiencing swelling 12 weeks post op vertical thigh lift and arm lift. Is this normal?

I had a vertical thigh lift, arm lift and breast lift 12 weeks ago. I am still wearing compression on the advice of my surgeon due to swelling. The swelling seems to be isolated to my right arm and right leg. It is more noticeable on my right arm but the swelling in my right leg will travel down to my calf and foot unless I am wearing compression on my lower extremity. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 4

Swelling After Procedure

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Thank you for your question. Swelling can persist for 3-6 months, and up to a year in some people. Follow your doctors instructions, wear your garments, and understand this is a slow process.I hope this helps!

The Management of Lower Extremity Swelling

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Persistent lower extremity swelling is unusual following thigh lift surgery and should be investigated vigorously whenever it occurs. This is especially true when the swelling is unilateral. Although it's not unusual for patients to retain fluid in the immediate post-operative period, this usually resolves in the first two weeks following surgery.

Late swelling following thigh lift surgery can occur for a variety of reasons. Many of these causes are potentially serious and could represent life threatening conditions. For these reasons, it's important to determine the cause of this problem as soon as possible.

This type of swelling can be caused by deep venous thrombosis of the lower extremities. This problem can occur following surgery and involves the formation of blood clots in the lower extremity veins. These blood clots have the potential to break free and go to the lungs where they can cause life threatening situations.

When lower extremity swelling occurs late in the post-operative period, it should be investigated aggressively. The treatment will depend entirely upon the causative factors. It's, therefore, important to consult your plastic surgeon as soon as possible.


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You will still experience some swelling 12 weeks after your procedures.  It is very common to have more swelling on one side.  Please see your surgeon who can best advise you.  At this point, it may not be necessary to keep wearing your compression garment.

Swelling 3 months after thigh and arm lift.

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All surgeries are associated with swelling for a variety of reasons.  As tissues heal and new drainage patterns are established, the swelling will subside.  Time and patience are on your side.   It sounds like your surgeon is doing the correct thing by having you wear compression material.  Be sure to follow closely with your surgeon so your progress can be monitored.

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.