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Swelling after liposuction: Reason and Solution

Swelling after liposuction: Reason and Solution

  • January 28, 2023

Liposuction (also known as body contouring or lipoplasty) is a fat removal surgery that uses suction to remove fat from specific parts of the body. There are different procedures for liposuction, but they all temporarily cause different levels of swelling.

Why There Is swelling after liposuction

In liposuction, the surgeon makes small incisions in the surgical spots. Then he/she uses a thin tube (cannula) attached to a vacuum to remove fat from the body by using suction. As a result of the fat removal, the body produces lymphatic fluids that are sent to the surgical spots for protection. These fluids cause swelling and inflammation; nonetheless, the swelling subsides as the body heals.

When does swelling go away?

Swelling dramatically subsides after a month. Of course, there will still be minor swelling after the first month, but the bulk of the swelling will have gone away. As for the minor swelling, it will subside after a few months. Depending on the patient’s personal body conditions and the details of their liposuction procedure (incisions, amount of fat that was removed and etc.), they may experience different levels of swelling after surgery. Therefore, different individuals experience different levels of swelling. The better you take care of your body, the sooner swelling will subside.

How to Decrease Swelling after Liposuction

Stay hydrated

Drink water. Do not drink sports drinks. These drinks contain high levels of sodium, which increases bloating and swelling by increasing water retention.


Inform your doctor about the medications that you are on. If you are taking any anti-inflammatory medications, they will probably ask you to either cut down on them or stop taking them altogether. This is because although these drugs mitigate swelling, they have blood-thinning effects that can hinder healing. Anti-inflammatory medications include drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.

In addition, talk to your doctor about medications you were previously on in the past. If there are any medications you were allergic or addicted to, tell your doctor so that they do not prescribe that certain medicine.

Furthermore, your doctor may prescribe medicine that can help control swelling by affecting lymphatic fluid levels.

Ice packs

Ice packs do wonders when applied to inflamed, bruised, and swollen areas. Ask your doctor about how you are supposed to apply cold compresses (or ice packs) and for how long. While cold can provide comfort for swollen areas, heat does the exact opposite. Therefore, avoid too much exposure to heat.

Compression garment

After liposuction, you have to wear a compression garment for several weeks. For the first 14 days, you may have to wear it all the time, except when you want to wash it or take a shower. For this reason, it would be a good idea to have an extra compression garment to wear when you are washing the other. Your doctor will provide you with thorough instructions.

This garment supports your body during the healing process and also produces pressure around the surgical spot. This pressure prevents fluid accumulation, increases circulation, and helps the body assimilate lymphatic fluids. This, in turn, greatly reduces swelling. Moreover, a compression garment makes the skin contract to become proportionate with the new contour of the body.

If the compression garment is too loose or too tight, explain the situation to your doctor.

Gentle massages

Gentle massages can help with circulation so that excess fluid will not accumulate under the skin. There is a special kind of massage for fluid drainage called manual lymphatic drainage. You can ask a specialist to give you this massage. Be sure to check with your doctor first. If you cannot afford a professional, you may ask your doctor to give you instructions on how to massage yourself. Beware that if a self-massage is conducted incorrectly, it may cause your condition to deteriorate.

Proper diet

Your diet can seriously affect swelling. A major contributor to swelling is salt. Salt contains sodium, and as we mentioned earlier, sodium increases swelling by making the body retain more water. Processed foods are another source of salt

Similarly, alcohol increases swelling by contributing to dehydration, which results in water retention. Fried and processed foods can also cause inflammation.

On the contrary, an anti-inflammatory diet helps decrease swelling: Fatty fish, red grapes, olive oil, nuts, tomatoes, berries, vegetables, and fruits that contain vitamin C.

Moreover, you have to eat foods rich in protein for your wounds to heal. Vitamin C is also a must, since it enhances the immune system.

Iron also is beneficial in reducing swelling.


Walking helps with blood circulation, so it is a great way to prevent blood clots. Try to go walking every day for several weeks after liposuction. However, you have to limit physical activities and even stop strenuous activities during your recovery period. Your doctor can give you further information about how much distance you should walk.

Drainage tubes

The tubes placed in your incisions after surgery will help with fluid drainage. Your doctor will instruct you on how you should protect and take care of these tubes.

Brush your skin

Before taking showers, gently brush your body to further promote circulation and enhance the drainage of lymphatic fluids in your body.   


While it is true that swelling is an integral part of liposuction, it can definitely be minimized if the patient follows their doctor’s instructions and follows a healthy lifestyle.

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