ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Recovery After Liposuction: What to Expect

The benefits of liposuction don’t happen overnight. Here's what to plan for after surgery.
ADVERTISEMENT

What are the risks and potential complications of liposuction? 

As with all surgeries, liposuction involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery.

General risks of surgery 

The general risks of surgical procedures include: 

  • Anesthesia reaction, such as an allergic reaction, toxicity, and problems with breathing

  • Bleeding, which can lead to shock

  • Blood clot, in particular a deep vein thrombosis that develops in the leg or pelvis. A blood clot can travel to your lungs, heart or brain and cause a pulmonary embolism, heart attack, or stroke.

  • Infection and septicemia, which is the spread of a local infection to the blood

Potential complications of liposuction

Potential complications of liposuction include:

  • Body asymmetry caused by removing different amounts of fat tissue from different body areas

  • Damage to skin, muscle, nerves, and internal organs

  • Fat embolism, which are loosened fat cells that enter the bloodstream and block blood flow

  • Fluid imbalance

  • Irregularities in skin texture or contour, such as dimpling or bagginess

  • Numbness 

  • Pooling of liquid where fat is removed

  • Scarring

  • Skin burns from ultrasound-assisted liposuction

  • Swelling, which can take months to go away

  • Skin discoloration

  • Skin necrosis, which is death of skin cells above the fat removal area. This can lead to a serious infection. 

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery. This includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitation treatments.

  • Informing your doctor if you are nursing or there is any possibility that you may be pregnant

  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage 

  • Taking your medications exactly as directed. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic before surgery to prevent infection. Take this as directed. 

  • Not smoking. Many plastic surgeons will not perform elective surgery on smokers because of the increased risk of complications. 

  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 4, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Continuous peripheral nerve blocks in acute pain management. British Journal of Anaesthesia. http://bja.oxfordjournals.org/content/105/suppl_1/i86.abstract.
  2. Laser and Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Laser-and-Ultrasound-Assisted-Liposuction.html.
  3. Laser-assisted liposuction (SmartLipo). American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news-and-resources/technology-briefs/laser-assisted-liposuction-%28sma....
  4. Lipoma. Healthgrades. http://www.healthgrades.com/conditions/lipoma.
  5. Liposuction Information. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/Liposuction/def....
  6. Liposuction Procedure. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Cosmetic-Procedures/Liposuction.html.

You Might Also Like

Share via Email