Worried That the Area That Was Lipo'd is Returning? (photo)

I am 4 1/2 weeks post op from a tummy tuck, lipo, and breast aug. The first time I removed my binder after surgery I was thrilled with my results- even though I knew they were still in progress. Well progressively over the past month the area that was lipo'd (my love handles) looks just as it did before surgery. I know that swelling occurs, but this area doesn't feel swollen and looks just as it did before. Is it possible for them to have come back that fast?

Doctor Answers 9

Worried that no enough fat was removed with liposuction

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Swelling of the lower portion of the abdomen is very common after an abdominoplasty.  I would not get to anxious at this point.  I usually do not begin to even judge the result until 3 months after surgery.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Normal Postop Swelling

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It appears that you have normal postop swelling. As long as you maintain your weight, the swelling should resolve nicely. It is common to have swelling up to a couple of months after surgery.  All the best.

Mommy makeover and liposuction swelling

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  You are in the VERY early post op period for a tummy tuck and liposuction.  The love handles when liposuctioned can appear to still be there but this is probably just your body filling the liposuctioned areas with blood/serum/scar (internal healing process).

  Be patient.  Your love handle areas are probably hard and somewhat tender indicating that these areas will continue to improve with time as the absorption of your body's healing process in these "pockets" contiinues. 

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Excess fat removed by liposuction can't come back, and the remaining fat wouldn't expand so quickly (unless you've been eating copious amounts and not getting any movement). I would say that this is most likely swelling. Wait about 3-4 months to see the improvement.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


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Swelling is not uncommon after a tummy tuck and typically lasts quite a while. 80% has resolved by 3 months and the rest takes up to a year to resolve. You have to be patient with the healing process.Enjoy your new look!Sheila Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

4 Weeks after Tummy Tuck and Liposuction in Mommy Makeover

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     4 weeks after mommy makeover, those liposuctioned areas are still swollen and will be swollen for at least 3 months if not longer.  You have undergone quite an extensive surgery, and your body needs more time to heal.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Swelling after Lipo

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At this point, I believe you are seeing the effects of swelling rather than recurrence of fatty tissue.  I tell my patients that the end result of lipo is seen approximately 4 to 6 months post op. Of course, stable weight is important, but at 4 weeks out this likely represents swelling of the tissues.  Give it some time as you are still healing.

Ronald A. Lohner, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Fat returning after liposuction

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You are too early to worry.  Swelling occurs and magnifies with salt intake.  Know the salt content of everything you eat or drink and keep it below 1500 a day.   Weigh yourself daily and be sure you do not gain weight.  Know your pre op weight.  Don't gain weight.  In 3 months you should show on the scale all the weight the surgeon removed.  If you do not do this, and if you gain weight you will be less happy with your result.   At 3 months you need to be less than your pre op weight by the amount the surgeon removed.  If you want a great result you must reflect this on the scale and then match this by your own weight loss.   Example is if you weighed 160 before the surgery and the surgeon removed 10 lbs you must be 150 at 3 months.    This is called scale reflection.  To have a super  result you must then match this and end up 140 at 6 to 9 months post op.  Good luck.     My Best,  Dr C

Post Op Tummy Tuck

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Based on your photographs, you have a good result from the surgery. The swelling takes 4-6 month to come down. Be patient if you can. Keep your appointments with your surgeon. All the best

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.