Doctor Told Me to Massage Lumps But It's Too Painful

Day 14: Tumescent Lipo-Abs,Flanks,Bra area. I realize my recovery is in it's infancy and lumps are normal. I took the advice from this board and mentioned the "lumps" during my post op visit. Dr. showed me how to massage/kneed the lumps, I'm afraid I'm doing more harm than good. I am getting mixed opinions from this site whether to just let it be for now, get a lymphatic drainage massage (although I couldn't handle that pain at this pt), massage it on my own. Looking for another opinion.

Doctor Answers 12

Compression Garments & Massage Following Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


It’s not unusual for patients to experience swelling in the immediate post-operative period.  This swelling is often associated with pain, lumps, bumps and areas of unevenness in the subcutaneous tissue.

In the vast majority of patients these problems can be managed with compression garments and massage.  When massage is associated with intense pain it’s important to use good judgment.  Under these circumstances massage should be delayed until it can be tolerated.  It’s important to listen to your body.

It’s important to realize that swelling usually resolves in 3 to 4 weeks following tumescent liposuction and in some cases may take 3 to 4 months to resolve following this procedure.

It’s important to be patient and maintain good communication with your plastic surgeon.  Your surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that will minimize your lumps, bumps and swelling. 


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You trusted your doctor to do the surgery. Trust him/her for post operative care.

Remember that this or other sites give opinions not consultations . Only your doctor examined you and can give you a recomendation.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Firmness after liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Firmness and lumpiness are very common after liposuction of any type. If you are having skin irregularities it is possible that these were pre-existing.  It is the soft tissues normal response to trauma.  More than likely the swelling is better in the morning when you first wake up and gets worse throughout the day as you go about your normal activities.  Light massage is beneficial but in general it just takes time for this to resolve.  Look for it to remain about the same for the next three weeks and then begin to get better between the 6 th week and the end of the 3rd month.  Continue to wear your compression garment as instructed.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tumescent Lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Wait a few more days, then try to massage again.  Eventually you will feel like massaging, and the area will heal faster. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Massage after liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

2 weeks after tumescent liposuction, it is expected to be swollen, bruised and tender in some areas. It is too early to start massaging because you are right, it is too painful! The best thing that you can do for now is to just wear your compression garment. At 6 weeks, that would be ideal to start getting massages if need be.

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Massage after lipo is too painful

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Generally with compression garments lumps after liposuction are few. True, massage may help speed up the time needed for the areas to smooth out, however if you find that the massage is painful it is not worth the effort. Listen to your body to pace your own healing. You may need to wear a compression garment longer than others, and as tenderness subsides in the next few weeks you can begin gentle massage.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Tenderness after lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Tender areas after liposuction are "par for the course", unfortunately.  Add in a little swelling, and they can feel lumpy.

With time, this will most certainly settle down.  Massage really helps, though.  Do what you can on your own, even if it's just a little at first, and increase it as your body allows.  

A physical therapist or massage therapist could also be helpful.  Lymphatic drainage and synergie treatments are also good.


Best of luck!

Tenderness after tumescent liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You are entirely correct that you may have tender, firm areas after lipo.  As the swelling subsides, the tenderness will as well.  My recommendations if for patients to message as firmly as is tolerable and to "listen" to your body.  As the areas become less tender you will be able to complete the message regimen without a problem.

Delio Ortegon, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Post op chin liposuction discomfort.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your instructions from your doctor should be trusted.  If you are unable to massage the area yourself, ask to be referred to physical therapy.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Lumps after liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Sometimes lumps do develop after liposuction and massage is recommended for some cases.  If you are not sure what to do, perhaps your doctor can refer you to someone locally that can perform massage to help thos troublesome areas?

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 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.