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Post Operative Swelling: When does it go away?

I was on Real Self answering more patient questions today and I am amazed by the number of questions that come in about swelling. Many of these patients have had surgery in the last week or two and are concerned because there is still swelling.

Any time you have surgery, particularly surgery on soft tissues (breasts, tummies, fat) , swelling is an expected normal reaction. There isn’t an operation in plastic surgery where you will see your final results in the first week or two. It just doesn’t work that way. It will usually take at least 4 to 6 weeks for most of the swelling to go away but it can also take between 3 to 6 months depending on what was done. Liposuction for instance will leave you swollen for 3 to 6 months. Now Smart Lipo laser lipo may leave you less swollen than traditional lipo, and you may swell less than your cousin, but everyone swells no matter the technique or the person. That’s just the way the human body heals.

So, if you are reading this and you are swollen post op you are probably healing completely normally. But, and this is the other thing I don’t get, if you are worried, call your doctor! Why turn to the internet for answers? You’ve researched and interviewed your surgeon and ultimately trusted them enough to let them operate on you. Listen to what they have to say.

3 to 6 months. That is normal.

Lee E. Corbett, MD

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

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