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Ron Shelton M.D.

#317 East 34th Street,
11th Floor, New York, NY 10016. 

Q: I had SmartLipo a few years ago but my stomach looks so wrinkled now. Is there anything I can do?

A: Depending on the reason for the wrinkling, you may benefit from Thermage treatment to tighten the skin. Fraxel Restore laser may help the texture and if neither help enough, or if it is deemed appropriate, you might be a candidate for an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).

Q: I had SmartLipo a few months ago and I am still sore. Could something be wrong?

A: As SmartLipo utilizes heat from the laser in addition to the normal trauma of liposuction, you should see your surgeon to ensure that there is no complication such as an infection or scar tissue.

Q: My friend and I both had liposuction by the same surgeon and we both had it done on our bellies. I’m doing well but my friend has to see the surgeon daily to have some fluid drawn out from a swollen area. Will she heal OK?

A: After liposuction, there is a small chance of developing a seroma, which is a collection of clear fluid and this will often reaccumulate until eventually the body “walls off” the fluid collection. Compression garments are helpful but the drainage is important. Usually people heal with no ill effect after the seroma disappears.

Q: I had liposuction five weeks ago but my stomach is still swollen. Is this normal?

A: Liposuction is surgery and your body heals with tissue fluid changes. Inflammation, which is a healthy part of healing, involves fluid accumulation. Especially if you’re active, you might see more fluid initially. Over four to eight weeks the swelling settles down but continues to decrease for some patients, longer.

Q: Will I need drains after liposuction?

A: NO, generally not. Liposuction will cause swelling, but not necessarily free fluid that needs to drain. If there is free fluid that is found in the post operative period to have collected in one area, then a seroma may have occurred and this can be drained, but this is very rare.

Q: I am currently breast feeding and want to undergo abdominal liposuction. Would I be doing my baby any harm?

A: We don’t think there would be any problems, but we don’t have enough research or data to say that the lidocaine (anesthetic) or adrenaline in the local anesthetic mixture doesn’t cross from your blood stream into breast milk and then affect your infant with toxic levels for their small size. As you are considering an elective procedure for cosmetic reasons, it would be more prudent to delay your liposuction until after you no longer breast feed your baby.

Q: I had liposuction on my thighs two weeks ago and have a long crease that goes sideways across the bag of both my thighs. What is going on?

A: There is swelling of fluid in the tissues for weeks after liposuction and the edge of the chair or the seam of your compression garment could be creating a temporary crease. If it is from removal of too much fat, it would be doubtful that you would have two similar creases on the thighs in the same area. See your surgeon to be sure.

Q: I had SmartLipo one month ago and I still see puffiness and lumpiness but is worse in the evening and better in the morning. What causes this?

A: During the day, your body is active and your metabolism increases. You may be wearing tight-waisted pants constricting your fluid return. Gravity pulls fluids down, and sitting is terrible as the muscles are not active so they don’t push the blood and bodily fluids back to the heart.

Q: I had liposuction on my neck two days ago and now I have a dark red patch on my lower neck which wasn’t treated. Should I be concerned?

A: If there is any concern on your part concerning your liposuction surgery, you should be contacting your surgeon right away. Bruises are very common and can occur as much as a few days after surgery, in distant areas away from the surgical site, especially in lower areas from gravity’s effect. Infection would usually be painful and hot and more red than purple. Bruises are usually not painful when they are in the remote areas but can be painful or tender to the touch when they are located directly over a collection of blood called a hematoma. This needs urgent attention but is treatable. In order to be sure that nothing serious is happening, please contact your surgeon.

Q: Does liposuction increase the chance of gaining weight by increasing stem cell conversion to fat cells?

A: Liposuction does not only remove fat, it removes fat cells and stem cells. Weight gain occurs if more calories are taken in than the amount needed to support the energy used. In other words, one should take as accurate a look as possible into their diet and exercise regimen vs. the amount of calories that they eat and drink per day. If there is a surplus taken in then you will gain weight when more fat is created as an energy store for when you might need it in the future.