Swelling in Areas Not Treated with Smart Lipo

I had Smart Lipo done on my inner and outer thighs and upper arms about 5 days ago. I wore compression bandages and have no swelling in the treated areas. However, my calves/ankles and forearms/hands have become enormously swollen. My calves used to be around 12.5 inches but they are now 16.5 inches. Is this normal? Will it eventually go away, and how long will it take? It's really hard to believe that it will right now and I am nearly in tears.

Doctor Answers 4

Post-op lipo questions

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Swelling after lipo is common. It is very common in the more dependent areas of the body that have been treated.

Hands and feet tend to stay more swollen during the initial post-op period. In terms of your legs, you just want to make sure that it is swelling and not a deep vein thrombosis.

Usually, but not always, this will present as pain in the calf muscles on movement or when squeezed. Call you doctor and get evaluated.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

It is a response to surgery

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Any type of trauma to the body (and Smartlipo is trauma) results in local fluid accumulation of fluid and total body accumulation of fluid. In areas where there is compression, the fluid is less likely to accumulate, so it tends to pop up in the other areas. Your body will eventually get rid of it.

CAUTION-swelling in one leg vs the other or calf pain and tenderness may be a sign of a blood clot. Check with your Dr.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Swelling after Smart Lipo will go away

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It is not uncommon for women to retain fluid after surgery, and I am sure that is the explanation for your swelling. It will almost certainly go away, so be patient and try not to over-react.

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Swelling after liposuciton

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It is normal to have swelling in areas that are not treated after liposuction since there is some volume redistribution from the fluids given during surgery.  This all goes away as they rest of the swelling resolves.  Also, it is common, if the bandages are too tight, to have swelling the arms and feet when there are no bandages.  If you have asymmetric swelling (one limp larger than the other) then you need to see your surgeon to make sure everything is okay.  Good luck with your recovery.

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.