As with most other surgeries, liposuction is associated with a risk of side effects and certain complications. However, the procedure is generally safe and it is rare for any serious complications to develop. Some of the side effects that patients may experience after undergoing liposuction are described below.
- Bruising – Bruising is common after liposuction. The bruising may be painful at first, but usually fades within a few weeks. Extensive bruising that does not fade should be assessed by a doctor due to the risk of internal bleeding. Severe bruising is particularly likely among patients who have a bleeding tendency or who are taking medications such as anti-inflammatories or aspirin.
- Swelling – This is also a common side effect of liposuction and it prevents the effects of the surgery being immediately evident. The swelling often subsides over a month or two, but can take as long as six months to settle down.
- Scarring – The degree of swelling varies depending on the extent of the surgery and how many incisions were required. In most cases, scarring fades over a few weeks, but it can take as long as a year to heal.
- Pain after surgery – This is a very common side effect of most surgeries including liposuction. The pain is usually only temporary and can be controlled using over-the-counter medications or prescribed analgesics.
- Numbness – The treatment area may feel numb for up to a few weeks after surgery due to superficial nerve damage.
- Depending on the extent of the procedure, patients may experience restricted mobility.
- Patients who have had their legs or ankles treated may find that their ankles swell.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc