What Are These Hard Lumps Post-Liposuction?

I am 1 week post-op from upper arm Liposuction. Up until today, my arms have been soft like jello and felt bruised. Today, I was rubbing my arms and it feels all lumpy under the skin. Whats going on? It still hurts to touch, but what are those lumps? Are these normal, or there's something wrong? Should I call my plastic surgeon?

Doctor Answers 28

Lumps after lipo

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There are several possibilities at the one week point after upper arm liposuction. The first possibility is those lumps and bumps are hematomas (collections of bleeding) that are new or that weren't detectable initially secondary to swelling. The other possibility is small areas of fat "necrosis" (or dead fat). If these areas are small they should resolve with time. Sometimes massage is thought to help. As always - whenever you have an unexpected turn in your post-op recovery you should absolutely speak with your plastic surgeon. I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

Hard lumps post-liposuction

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   The lumps that you feel at one week after liposuction are normal.  These swellings represent retained fluid, injured fat and post-op inflammation.  The areas generally smooth out after several weeks to a few months.  If these areas persist beyond 3-4 months, then the bumps may represent areas of fat death and scarring (called fat necrosis).  These lumps can improve with time.  If not they may need to be removed, but be patient and give the liposuction areas plenty of time (months) to heal.

John Zavell, MD, FACS
Toledo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

What Are These Hard Lumps Post-Liposuction?

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These lumps are normal findings associated with your postoperative healing after liposuction.  Usually they are composed of accumulations of fluid such as blood and will reabsorb in a few weeks.  After 2 weeks you can begin to massage the areas to aid in reabsorption.

Thomas Guillot, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon

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It most likely are just normal fluid collections which will resolve with time and massage.

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Lumps and bumps are usually normal fluid collections after liposuction. They tend to last about 4-6 weeks. The initial swelling after the procedure conseals these pockets of fluid but as you massage and exercise then the generalized swelling fluid resolves and these individual pockets become more apparent until you massage them away also. Endermologie is a great way to help them resolve faster. I have my patients spend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening massaging the areas. I start them exercising and massaging after 1 week. This helps the swelling go down faster but it still takes at least 4-6 months to get to the end result. Don't worry. It sounds totally normal but always see your surgeon to help reassure you that that is all that is going on.


David Hansen, MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Lumpiness after liposuction

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It is very normal early after liposuction to have lumpiness which make take time to resolve, especially on the arms.  Typically the patients should wait a month before messaging the area.  After that it may take up to 6 months before the lumpiness resolves.

Lumps After Lipo

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Thank you for your question about lumps on your arms after liposuction. You are 1 week after your procedure and it's normal for you to have some areas of hard swelling, which can be due to fluid collection or irregularities in the fat under the skin. Your board certified plastic surgeon can order you a compression garment which should improve both the pain and the appearance. If they persist at 6-9 months post-op, you can have these areas revised, however, they are likely to resolve on their own with the normal healing process. Best Wishes!

Massage will correct lumps after liposuction.

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Most likely you are feeling small collections of fluid  after liposuction which respond to lynphatic drainage massage.  Start this as soon as possible.  Of course see your surgeon.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Lumps Following Lipo may be from Swelling, Fat Necrosis, Seromas, and Hematomas

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It’s not uncommon for patient’s to have lumps and bumps following liposuction. Contour irregularities may have a variety of potential causes. These may include differential swelling, fat necrosis, seromas and hematomas. They are usually transient and respond to conservative management with compression garments and massage. Rarely, aspiration is necessary when hematomas and seromas are present. In most cases, these problems have no effect on the long term results of liposuction.

Liposuction massaging after surgery with Bruise-Stick Arnica

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These lumps after liposuction represent small pockets of fluid and should be massaged after surgery.  Just in case, I would recommend application of a small amount of an Arnica ointment known as Bruise-Stick that will help dissipate the collection of fluid and plasma. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

What Are These Hard Lumps Post-Liposuction

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Thank you for submitting your question. Swelling after liposuction will last for many weeks after surgery. Hard lumpy areas are common in the first several weeks after lipo but rest assurred they will dissapate in 6-12 weeks. Final results take 6-12 months. Hard lumpy areas could be fat necrosis, localized areas of swelling and brusing, lymphedema, etc.   Continue to use your contour garment, massage the lumpy areas , external ultrasound and lymphatic massage will help to decrease swelling. Discuss your concerns with your Plastic surgeon.

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.