Is this swelling, fluid retention, or something different? (photos)

I'm currently 6.5 weeks post op and am starting to be concerned that something might be a little off. I had liposuction on my upper and lower abdomen, my waist, and my hips. I wear my compression garment 24/7 still because I am still swelling fairly often. There are some hard lumps near my lower abs and my upper abs feel uneven. The upper abs feel hard so I don't think it's uneven from fat removal. Maybe it's nothing, but I don't want to ignore it if something needs to be done.

Doctor Answers 5

Post liposuction

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. 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


Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Liposuction and swelling

In general, swelling from liposuction can take 4-6 months to settle down.  If you are concerned, then it is worth seeing your surgeon for follow-up.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Add some aftercare post liposuction--Venus Legacy, Exilis Ultra, Vanquish, Cellutone

Swelling, lumps and firmness are all typical after your procedure and can last up to 6 months. I recommend adding RF treatments externally like venus legacy, exilis ultra, Vanquish, shock/vibration therapy like Cellutone/z wave, hyperbaric oxygen and compression in order to decrease swelling and improve results. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Is this swelling, fluid retention, or something different?

Thank you for sharing your question and photographs.  Though your pictures offer limited views of your area of concern it is not uncommon to still see some irregularity in the appearance of your abdomen after liposuction as asymmetrical swelling and compression garment use is obscuring your long-term results.  I know waiting is difficult but allow yourself several more months of recovery time before assessing your results.  Best wishes.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Liposuction - what is going on

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.

  • It is impossible to be sure from these photos, but you look exceptionally swollen.
  • I suggest you return to your surgeon for an exam to be sure you do not have a seroma (a collection of internal fluid, not the same as overall swelling.)
  • Hard lumps and unevenness can be totally normal but the swelling is enough to need an examination.
  • If there is any doubt, your surgeon can order an ultrasound study which will show a seroma if there is one.

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

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.