Liposuction is a surgical technique for body contouring. It may be an effective method for targeting problem areas that do not respond to diet and exercise in patients with normal skin elasticity. Liposuction is not recommended for weight loss, but rather for sculpting persistent fatty deposits in patients who are close to ideal body weight. One of the most common questions from patients considering this type of cosmetic surgery is “how long does liposuction swelling last?”. This answer also relates to the length of time until final liposuction results are apparent.

  • Liposuction swelling generally resolves over several months

Liposuction swelling lasts for several months up to one year. The majority of swelling generally resolves within the first few months, but more subtle swelling may take up to one year when final results will be apparent.  This is the time period for scar remodelling and maturation to complete.

  • Liposuction swelling may fluctuate

Liposuction swelling may also fluctuate subject to activity level and positioning, particularly over the first few months. Swelling of the upper arms following liposuction, for example, may increase when your arms are relaxed by your side as opposed to held in a more elevated position.  Elevation is recommended following arm liposuction during early recovery to reduce swelling and discomfort.  Swelling following thigh liposuction will also fluctuate based on activity level. As discomfort resolves and patients progress to walking as tolerated, thigh swelling often increases and may vary day-to-day. Lower extremity elevation will reduce thigh swelling after liposuction and is recommended during early healing. Walking short distances is important to lower risk of venous thromboemboliem (i.e. DVT or pulmonary embolism), however lower extremity elevation in between mobilization periods will decrease swelling of the surgical sites.

  • Compression garments may reduce liposuction swelling

Compression garments are generally recommended for 4-6 weeks after liposuction. They serve to decrease swelling and to support the soft tissues during early healing.  Compression garments also hold gauze dressings in place over the first few days following liposuction.

  • Activity restrictions are also recommended to decrease liposuction swelling

Activity restrictions are recommended over the first month following liposuction to reduce swelling and risk of healing complications.  Exercise should be avoided over this time period.  Any activity that increases one’s heart rate and blood pressure may increase risk of bleeding, further bruising and swelling, and lead to delayed wound healing.


Please contact us if considering liposuction in Toronto to set up a consultation with female plastic surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Power.