Lumps and Swelling After Tumescent Liposuction

I had tumescent liposuction on my stomach and love handles 18 days ago. On day 16, I became swollen and sore, almost so much that it looks like I did not have the procedure. I also noticed some hard lumps around where my pants fall. Are all these normal? Does it get worse before it gets better? I almost feel like I'm in more pain than I was right after the procedure. I am getting my arms done in a couple of weeks and am wondering if the same thing will happen.

Doctor Answers 15

Lumps and swelling may get worse before it gets better

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.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Lipo of Abdomen May Result in Firmness, Hardness & Pain Following the Procedure

                  Patients undergoing tumescent liposuction of the abdomen will often develop swelling, firmness, hardness and pain following this procedure.  During the procedure the liposuction cannula is passed through the subcutaneous tissue.  This causes disruption of the lymphatic channels and cellular injury which results in these characteristic physical findings. 

                  These findings can persist for several months following surgery.  In most cases improvement is seen within 3 to 4 weeks following surgery.  In other cases improvement may continue for up to 3 to 4 months following the procedure.  Small amounts of firmness may persist up to a year following surgery.

                  We generally recommend the use of compression garments for about 3 to 4 weeks following surgery.  We also recommend low salt diets before and after surgery.  Exercise is usually started early and we want patients to ambulate as soon as possible following surgery.

                  Massage is also helpful, it decreases firmness, hardness and swelling by mobilizing retained fluid following liposuction.  All of these steps minimize firmness and swelling and improve the patients aesthetic result.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Lumps after tumescent liposuction

Patients who received tumescent liposuction should expect a recovery process that consists of swelling, mild drainage, and possibly some uneven results within the first two weeks. This is because when we perform liposuction, we always add fluid to the area we are going to treat to allow us to remove the fat safely and effectively. This fluid will be pushed out of your body either through the urine or through the small incisions from the liposuction. While your body is removing this fluid and regaining its balance, you may notice some uneven areas. Rest assured that these will not remain. Be sure to wear your garment at all times as this will compress these areas and allow you to reach your final result sooner.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tumescent Lipo

Swelling is common after lipo, and this takes weeks to resolve.  Lack of compression also prolongs the edema.  At the 6 week mark, things should be getting better. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

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

Swelling normal after liposuction

Liposuction patients often experience worsening of swelling 2-4 weeks after the procedure.  Furthermore, I counsel patients that their skin might "harden" during this time, a process called induration.  This is normal and predictable, with the skin softening and tightening at 2-3 months.  Final liposuction results should not be assessed until at least 3-6 months following the procedure.

Melanie D. Palm, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Are you wearing a garment?


Pain and swelling usually peaks after a few days. It usually then gets better each day. I would be concerned about: 1. possible infection 2. possibly having done too much too soon.

Make sure you are still wearing your compression garment and check in with your doctor. You don't want to start a new round of surgery if your previous one is going in the wrong direction.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Lumps and Swelling After Tumescent Liposuction

Thank you for you for your question. You are very early in your recovery from your liposuction surgery. Waviness and irregular areas are normal in the first few weeks after surgery. Hards areas imlprve with massge, extrernal ulytraspund and using yur garment.  Final results take 6-12 months. Discuss your concerns with your Plastic Surgeon

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Lumpiness after liposuction

Skin irregularities after liposuction are very common.  Wearing a compression garment for 2 weeks after surgery will help, and then starting on a program of mechanical massaging will smooth out the irregularities.

David Finkle, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

All sounds normal

Most of the swelling will be gone in 2-3 weeks, but some firmness can last for a couple of months. You can assess your results at about the three or four month mark. You can try massaging the area with your surgeon's advice.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Swelling after Liposuction?

Thank you for your question.

Swelling is part of the healing process.  I ask my liposuction patients to wear a compression garment for 4 weeks post op surgery to help with the swelling.  The swelling can take months to subside and even longer for skin to “redrape".  At that point you will see the final results.

Some “lumps” are occasionally seen after liposuction surgery. Massage of these areas may be helpful. 

Best Wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 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.