Hardness in the abdomen after tumescent liposuction

Hardness in the abdomen after tumescent liposuction

22nd Nov 2017

Liposuction is among the most commonly performed procedures in the United States. For now, liposuction is the only way to get rid of localized fat deposits that are resistant to diet and exercise. These are stubborn excess fats that lodge itself in highly visible parts of the body like the flanks, thighs, abdomen, chin, lower and upper back, etc. Because of its popularity, many cutting edge innovations and techniques have been developed to ensure best results, shorter recovery time, and minimal risks and complications.

During liposuction procedure, the surgeon begins by marking areas that will be targeted. General anesthesia will be administered when multiple donor areas of the body are targeted, but generally, a local anesthetic is enough for extracting fat from just one area.

There are plastic surgeons and patients who are quick to choose general anesthetic even when it is not especially required and they should think twice before doing so. General anesthetic carries certain risks and complications that should not be taken lightly.

The liposuction intervention, regardless of type used for harvesting fats with the exception of tumescent liposuction, usually lasts between one and two hours but it varies, depending upon method used, the number of donor areas, as well as the quantity of fat to be extracted.

Liposuction methods

There are many techniques in performing liposuction. While it is true that over the years, there have been many innovations and variations in methodology, at the core, it functions in the same way as the old liposuction method. All of these innovations are borne out of the desire to develop a technique that would be the safest, minimally invasive, most expeditious and efficient way to harvest excess fats with the end view of ensuring the patient’s well-being, delivering best results, assuring fast recovery and minimizing scars.

You might have heard about ultrasound-assisted liposuction, laser-assisted liposuction, wet liposuction, dry liposuction, ultra-wet liposuction, traditional liposuction, tumescent liposuction and so on.

Liposuction intervention: the old method

During this method, a surgeon will perform small incisions, approximately 0.5cm in dimensions in the areas targeted for fat extraction. The objective of the surgeon is to place the incisions in places that are the least visible. A cannula, which is a thin tube, will be inserted through all the incisions. The cannula is connected to a machine that will suction the adipose tissue and transfer it to collecting tubes, also connected to the fat pumping device.

The diameter of the cannula also varies and can be replaced during the procedure, if the surgeon sees the need. After the aspiration of fat, the plastic surgeon will suture the small incisions. This liposuction method is the simplest and easiest to perform since it has been done numerous times before and the surgeons are very well versed in doing it.

The drawback of this method basically lies more on the surgeon, who will need to exert considerable physical effort while performing this intervention.

Tumescent liposuction

During the tumescent liposuction, the surgeon will inject a saline-based solution, anesthetic substances and adrenaline (this has the role of reducing blood loss) into the areas to be targeted by liposuction. This solution fills the fatty layers and helps in separating the fat cells (hydro section), hence facilitating easy suction for the plastic surgeon. Because the liquid substance also contains an anesthetic, no other anesthesia will be needed, aside from the local one. The tumescent method is probably the most frequently used nowadays as it offers the advantage of a faster recovery, less bruising, and removes the accompanying risks and complications of general anesthesia.

The liposuction technique with tumescent liquid

Tumescent liposuction is today, one of the most commonly performed and preferred methods of liposuction. It is among the safest techniques and its popularity is credited to the fact that it gives the surgeon better command of this body sculpting procedure so it delivers excellent and matchless results in whichever part of the body it is performed.

During tumescent liposuction, the area to be treated is infused with a large dose of saline solution that is made up of epinephrine, which constricts the blood vessels thus minimizing blood loss, and lidocaine, which is a local anesthetic. The liquid solution injected into the target areas assist in the effortless separation of the adipose tissue layers. A cannula will then be inserted by the plastic surgeon to suck out the fats through the tube.

In tumescent liposuction, the volume of liquid to be injected is twice or even three times the volume of the adipose tissue to be removed. This procedure can be done under local or general anesthesia, depending on the number of body areas that are targeted for liposuction in one sitting, and the desired quantity of fat to be eliminated.

Hardness in the abdomen after liposuction

Just like any other type of surgery, plastic surgery comes with its set of side effects. True, liposuction is one of the safest procedure that does not involve large incisions, though it tends to heal more slowly, but given that, there are still other after effects that you need to be aware of.

Even with tumescent liposuction, there will still be some swelling and bruising as well as a certain rigidity and hardness in the abdomen and even pain.

As you already know, during the liposuction procedure, the cannula is inserted under the skin to remove the fat tissue. During this back and forth movement, the lymphatic network can be affected and lymph vessels can be injured and this can cause hardness at the targeted area.

The good news is that the swelling or hardness at the abdomen is only present during the first few days or weeks after the intervention, and it disappears on its own.

Even if you feel some level of residual hardness three months after surgery, there is usually, still no cause for worry, as it will disappear in time. For your peace of mind, you may contact your plastic surgeon to make sure you don’t have a seroma or hematoma.

Wearing compression garments should help with the hardness and swelling and massages can also be helpful, especially if performed by a professional. Please know that this is not an uncommon occurrence and there is no need for concern. During the healing period that might take upwards to one year, it will disappear without needing any additional treatment.

Getting ready for liposuction

To make sure the procedure goes smoothly and without complications, you are advised to fast for at least 6 to 8 hours prior to surgery. This means that no water or food should be ingested during this time. The patient will have to quit smoking and stop taking vitamins, supplements and anti-coagulant medication such as aspirin, at least two weeks before the procedure. Do not also drink alcohol during this prep time. Take a bath or shower before the procedure and clean the area properly with soap and water.


There are many methods and techniques in performing liposuction. The tumescent liposuction has proven to be among the safest, and in the hands of a talented surgeon, is an extremely efficient and effective body-sculpting tool. After meeting with the plastic surgeon and discussing your desires and expectations as well as your medical history, you can find out if this treatment modality is suitable for you.

Tumescent liposuction is one of the most preferred methods as the tumescent liquid works as a local anesthetic as well as a blood coagulant that will reduce the bleeding in areas being treated. The recovery after tumescent liposuction is quick and the swelling and bruising are also reduced. However, do not take this to mean that there are no potential complications that can occur after undergoing tumescent liposuction. Hardness, bruises and swelling are common side effects of the liposuction procedure. While the swelling and the bruising are much reduced compared to other liposuction techniques, there will still be some level of inflammation.

The hardness in the abdomen after tumescent liposuction occurs as a result of the damage done to the lymphatic vessels during the procedure. The lymph network reacts to the trauma in its specific way. There is no need for medication or surgical treatment to deal with the hardness in the abdomen. Usually, most plastic surgeons will tell you to wear compression garments for at least a couple of weeks after surgery, and to have therapeutic massages as soon as possible. It is recommended that a specialist should perform the massage. If you have no access to a professional, your surgeon will show you the proper way and also advise when would be the best time to start it.

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