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Plastic Surgery/lower abdomen buldge after Liposuction


Dear Dr. Engler,

I had Liposuction with a cannula one month ago for lower belly and a above belly. I wore a girdle for 3 weeks and I went home with two drains.  Drains were taken out after 5 days but I have a lower abdomen bulge about 6 inches horizontally but more concentrated right under the belly button area.  I went to see my doctor and there was no fluid in there.  He said that it was air space and to massage it three times a week for 5 minutes.  He also said this is very rare and it might take up to 2 years to go completely down.  I'm confused about the air space because when I massage it does not feel like air but rather a semi hard mound more bulging right under the belly button.  I weigh 112 (126 at the most) and had sagging skin but not a huge amount.  I am wondering about the diagnosis,  Can you lend me your expertise?

from Dr. Alan Engler

Hi Laura,

It's hard to say specifically without being to see you in person and/or a photo but, in general, here's what I'd say:

It can take a while for bulges like this to go down, although I would think less than two years (more like 3-6 months).  I generally tell my patients that it takes 4-6 weeks to see 85% of the result, 3 months for 95% and 6 months for all, but areas like this can be a little stubborn and take time to settle down.

That, of course, depends partly on what you looked like before the surgery, and right at the end of the surgery.  If it was pretty flat at the end of the surgery then you can most likely wait it out; if there was dense fatty/fibrous tissue there then you MAY benefit from a revision at some point (like six months; not a big procedure) and if you had some loose skin then it may not contract down as perfectly as everyone would want.

Sorry to be vague but it's not always 100% clear.  The best thing is to maintain the discussion with your own PS, who is the only one who knows the answer to all of these questions.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

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Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS


Dr. Engler has answered over 6600 questions on social media sites, including over 3500 on AllExperts alone. His expertise includes breast surgery (breast enlargement with implants, breast reduction, breast lifts), liposuction, eyelid surgery, tummy tucks, facelifts, lipomas, skin cancers, cysts, etc. Dr. Engler has been listed as one New York`s Top Doctors, and as "One of the World's Most Famous Aesthetic Surgeons" (Aesthetic Surgery, TASCHEN Books, Angelika Taschen, Editor). He is the author of 4 books, including "BodySculpture" (a best-selling plastic surgery book on breast surgery, liposuction and tummy tucks), "EyeScapes" (Plastic Surgery of the Eyelids), "Restylane," and "The Slim Book of Liposuction." Dr. Engler has two US Patents for surgical instruments that he's designed, and has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Tyra Banks Show, The Ricki Lake Show (four times), the Dr. Keith Ablow Show and Jerseylicious. Videos of his appearances are available on YouTube (search for "DR. ENGLER"), and his discussion of breast implants, also on YouTube is "How to Choose a Breast Implant." His website is Follow Dr. Engler: @AlanEnglerMD


Dr. Alan Engler is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York and the author of BodySculpture - Plastic Surgery of the Body for Men and Women (ISBN 0966382749) one of the top-selling plastic surgery books on,, as well as EyeScapes - Plastic Surgery of the Eyelids.

Dr. Engler graduated from Yale University (BA, Russian Studies) and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (MD). He did his residency training in General Surgery and, after that, Plastic Surgery, at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York. He is on the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York in the Departments of both Surgery (Plastic Surgery) and Medicine (Dermatology), and is a Special Lecturer in the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University in New York. He has admitting privileges at Beth Israel Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center, both in New York.

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