What Does the Swelling Look Like from Smart Lipo?

Will the swelling from smart lipo generally stay in the area where the procedure was done? Or will there be swelling in other areas of the body too?

Doctor Answers 4


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The swelling should be in the immediate area or gravity may move the swelling and or bruising lower.

Swelling from SmartLipo is greatest where the surgery is performed, but not just there.

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Every surgical patient develops some degree of generalized swelling throughout the body, called "third-spacing." This is a normal response to the adrenocortical hormones released by the "stress" of anesthesia, trauma, or surgery. It occurs to varying degrees in different individuals, and is more severe with more injury to the body's tissues or organ systems. Thus a severe motor vehicle accident victim will have more swelling than a person with a broken leg.

Similarly, someone who has SmartLipo to only the submental area (beneath the chin) will have less generalized body swelling than someone undergoing SmartLipo of the abdomen, thighs, hips, and flanks, for example.

Then, of course, there is the surgical site swelling, which depends on the amount of fat removed, the endpoint of surgery, whether or not tumescent fluid is used, the blood pressure of the patient, whether or not the patient accidentally took an aspirin in the week before surgery, activity levels after surgery, etc. More areas and more fat removal = more swelling. Wearing your compression garment or chin strap helps reduce, but not eliminate, swelling. Gravity tends to cause swelling to drop to dependent areas, meaning that swelling from the abdomen, hips, and thighs will naturally tend to drop to the ankles and feet, sometimes markedly so.

Every patient is different, so any answer to the contrary is purely conjecture. Follow your surgeon's advice regarding activity levels, stay off blood thinners for 2 weeks before surgery, and choose your surgeon wisely. Swelling, healing, and results are less about liposuction method or brand name than choice of surgical sculptor! Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Smart lipo swelling

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Swelling from Smart lipo or any other liposuction procedure will occur at the site of treatment and areas surrounding it especially those that are more dependent. The majority of swelling usually dissipates within 6-8 weeks, but may persists for up to 6 months or longer.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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SmartLipo Swelling and recovery

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As with other surgical procedures, there is swelling after surgery. However, SmartLipo is associated with less swelling and bruising after the procedure. Most of the swelling is at the procedure site, but it can involve surrounding area. The majority of the swelling will go away within 6 weeks of the procedure. Most of our patients will return to work or school within 3-5 days. The postoperative garment is worn under the clothes. If you have swelling that concerns you, please discuss this with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 168 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.