Possible complications after lipo and how to deal with them (part 1)

Some people may think that lipo (liposuction) is an easy way to lose overall-weight, but it is not. In fact,  Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from those annoying (localized fat) areas of your body. People choose liposuction because it also contours these areas. Experts also call it lipoplasty or body contouring. If you want to try a Smart Lipo in Atlanta, you may set a consultation with Dr. Cox to find out if a Smart Lipo is right for you.

Liposuction  can help to remove localized fat for example your abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms or neck. There is a limit on how much fat can be removed during the procedure.  If you are considering going under the knife make sure you don’t put on weight before the surgery. This is a big mistake people often make. 

Liposuction is a surgery and like any other surgery, you could have possible complications, however, most of these complications can be avoided. In my previous blog “nutrition before and after surgery” In this blog, I will share with you some of  the post-lipo related complications  that I come across in my clinic and how to deal with them.

What are the possible complications after lipo?


Swelling is normal after any trauma is caused to the body. In the case of liposuction, inflammation can start 24 to 48h after the procedure and during the following 10-14 days it can continue mildly increasing. However, it is controlled by the compression garment you have to use during the following 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure.

Persistent oedema can be due to:

  • Preoperative anemia (lack of nutrients before surgery)
  • Low serum proteins
  • Kidney malfunction
  • other surgical contraindications

How to deal with oedema

  • Wear your compression garment 24/7 right after surgery. Compression is very important. 
  • Take care of your wound, remember some of them will have draining devices.
  • Use MLD as soon as you are allowed to in order to drain excess and remaining  fluids, also to increase wound healing and improve circulation.


Bruises also appear immediately after the procedure. In some cases, the peak is by the end of 7 to10 days, but generally disappears by 2 to 4 weeks after the surgery. 

Severe and persistent bruising is related to:

  • Chronic smoking, 
  • Use of blood thinners 
  • Abnormal bleeding/clotting profile
  • Bleeding from superficial veins damaged during the liposuction (only in a few cases) 

How to deal with bruising

  • Don’t smoke at least 3 before surgery and wait until your surgeon allows you to after surgery.
  • Stop using blood thinners (your surgeon will tell you when)
  • MLD will help bruises disappear faster.
  • Apply arnica on the area 


Fibrosis is a set of imperfections that you can observe after liposuction and are described as painful hard lumps under your skin where liposuction has been done. It can also appear as large pores, tissue discoloration and uneven areas.

Risk factors for fibrosis

  • The size of your scar. When the scar is big there are more possibilities to develop fibrous tissue.
  • Genetics. There are people who are prone to develop fibrosis even when having small cuts, they can develop big scars (keloids). 
  • Lack of movement.  Sitting for a long period increases the risk of fibrosis. Remember you need to move every hour for 5 minutes after your surgery and increase exercise as soon as you start feeling better. 
  • Wrong type garment and compression 

How to deal with fibrosis

  • Take care of your wound (follow your surgeon’s recommendations)
  • Star your post surgery aftercare as soon as possible, so each technique can be applied at the right time of the healing such as: MLD is fundamental during the first phase of your recovery, MLD will help you to avoid or reduce fibrosis if needed
  • Wear the compression garment that fits you.


Seroma is a mass or lump caused by localized accumulation of clear fluid or serum within your tissue, organ or body cavity. It is a side effect of surgery or trauma. In other words, It is a serum pocket on your skin.

Risk factors

  • Surgery
  • Trauma

 How to deal with seromas

Most seromas can be reabsorbed into your body, sometimes it can take almost a month. However, in severe cases it can take a year and you may experience hardening once the seroma heals. To reduce or improve seroma reabsorption use MLD as soon as you are allowed to and wear your compression garment.

When to see a doctor to drain the seroma?

  • It gets bigger
  • The amount of fluid continue increasing 
  • If put exercise pressure on the area of the surgery, the skin or organ 
  • It becomes too painful 
  • If shows sign of infection such as: redness, warmth or tenderness 


An infection occurs when a microorganism (bacteria, viruses or fungi) enters a person’s body and causes harm. Surgeons report that less than 1% of liposuction patients present infection.

Causes of infection

  • The presence of a haematoma in the subcutaneous tissues with secondary bacterial contamination.
  • uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes
  • Immune system complications
  • Smoking
  • Poor or non-sterilised conditions during the procedure
  • Poor wound care 

How to deal with infection

  • Proper wound care
  • Pre-operative tests must include blood sugar levels (especially for patients above 30 years of age or with family history of diabetes) 
  • Basic surgical principles must always be taken such as proper hand washing, sterile operating room conditions, good skin preparation and gentle tissue handling. Always look for certified surgeon.

Skin irregularities after lipo

A surface irregularity is the uneven appearance of the skin (waviness). 

Some causes are:

  • Too superficial or too much liposuction
  • Fibrosis with adhesions
  • Inappropriate compression garment or posture
  • Redundant skin.

How to deal with them:

  • Wear the proper compression garment
  • MLD may help with body contouring, fibrosis and seromas
  • Extreme cases will need another surgical procedure 

We hope this information is useful, in our next blog we will continue talking about post-lipo complications and how to take care of your wounds, don’t miss it! If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!







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