All You Need To Know About Loose Skin After Liposuction

Having loose skin after liposuction is something that patients worry about a lot both before and after the procedure. And these fears are not unfounded. 

Although this doesn’t always happen, it’s possible for certain patients to end up with sagging skin after this procedure.

However, this isn’t always permanent. Sometimes, it’s only temporary, but you need to do a few things to make sure of that. 

But if the sagging skin isn’t going anywhere, there are certain surgical and non-surgical interventions that can help you. 

Do You Get Loose Skin After Liposuction?

Whether or not you’ll end up with loose skin after liposuction depends on your skin laxity or skin elasticity. If you have poor skin laxity, you’re more likely to end up with loose skin.

Skin laxity refers to the loss of skin elasticity due to collagen degradation. Mainly it occurs due to ageing but can be exacerbated by other factors (prolonged sun exposure, pregnancy, weight gain, etc.).  

Surgeons warn patients about the consequences of liposuction alone if they have poor skin laxity due to these factors. For this reason, they recommend additional procedures that involve skin tightening. 

On the other hand, if you’re young and healthy and your skin hasn’t stretched due to childbirth or weight changes, your skin will shrink-wrap after liposuction. 

What Causes Loose Skin After Liposuction?

An air-filled balloon is the most common analogy used to explain this. As long as the balloon is inflated with air, just like your skin is with fat, you won’t see it sag. 

However, once the air, and in your case, fat, is taken out, the balloon will shrivel up. 

If the balloon is already very full, this effect will be more noticeable. Meaning if a large volume of fat is removed, the “shrivelling” of the skin will be more obvious. 

And an important thing to note here is that the longer the skin has been stretched, the less likely it is to snap back into place after surgery. 

How Common Is Loose Skin After Liposuction?

One research published in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery reported the issue of skin laxity in 4.2% of patients after liposuction. However, all of these patients had poor skin elasticity to begin with. 

The researchers also noted (with reference to Liposuction: Principles and Practice) that certain body parts, such as the abdomen, thighs and arms, are more susceptible to this complication. Such patients need to be warned of sagging skin before the surgery takes place. 

Keep in mind that it’s not a given that you’ll end up with loose skin after any type of liposuction (traditional or high definition). The quality of your skin will determine that and that, in turn, depends on the factors mentioned above. 

How Long Does It Take For Skin To Tighten After Liposuction? 

Even if you have healthy, elastic skin, you may end up with loose skin temporarily after liposuction. However, your skin should bounce back after 3-6 months. 

Tight skin after liposuction
Post-op liposuction of the patient with good skin elasticity

Keep in mind that your skin will need some time to heal. You will also be dealing with some post-op side effects for a while, so it will be a few months before things start to settle down. 

Meanwhile, your body will also change shape, but you need to wait for at least 3-6 months before you can see the final results of the procedure. 

However, during recovery, make sure that you follow the aftercare instructions of your surgeon so that you can get the best results. 

What Happens To Loose Skin After Liposuction? 

Either your skin will eventually shrink back into place, or it will be left hanging after the liposuction.

If your skin, however, is significantly sagging, that could cause other problems. For instance, it can cause intertrigo, which is an inflammatory skin condition that results in itchy rashes. 

Dirt, sweat and moisture will also accumulate in those skin folds, and those warm, moist pockets may allow certain bacteria to thrive, resulting in an infection. 

Other than that, the skin will constantly rub against each other, which will further exacerbate the problem as your skin barrier will be compromised.

For this reason, it’s important that you take care of your skin after liposuction, especially if it’s quite loose. Lotions, creams, and powders can provide temporary relief, but you need to seek treatment. 

Do Compression Garments Help With Loose Skin After Liposuction? 

Wearing compression garments after liposuction can help your skin retract. That’s why it’s important that you wear it for as long as advised by your doctor. 

Usually, patients are required to wear it for 6-8 weeks for 24 hours a day, except when they’re showering. It will not only help with the swelling but also help your skin shrink back, which is why you need to wear it. 

How To Tighten Loose Skin After Liposuction? 

There are different surgical and non-surgical measures that can help tighten your skin after liposuction. However, which one will best suit your needs will depend on the extent of the sagging. 

Non-Surgical Skin Tightening 

They increase collagen production in the skin, which enables the skin to regain some elasticity. Some popular treatments include: 

  • Ultrasound – Ultrasound is used for thermal tissue damage, which then induces collagen production. 
  • Radiofrequency – Radiofrequency penetrates the deeper skin tissues to allow the skin to become smoother. 
  • J-Plasma Using cold plasma, it coagulates the skin tissue, which helps contract it. 
  • Intense Pulsed Light – Laser is used for inducing heat damage, which then helps increase collagen. 

These treatments can help if you only have the mildest skin sagging after liposuction. The contours of your body will not be dramatically altered by these treatments. 

Another of their drawbacks is that they can take months to show any results. That’s because the body’s healing process isn’t instantaneous; collagen production can take months. 

And lastly, you’ll need multiple sessions of these treatments to see any results. 

Surgical Skin Tightening 

Surgical skin tightening involves excising the excess skin. The underlying muscles in the area may also be tightened to further improve the contour. 

Usually, surgeons recommend the following surgical solutions: 

  • Tummy Tuck – If you are left with hanging skin after abdominal liposuction, a tummy tuck can help you get rid of it, and it’ll also tighten the underlying muscles. For best results, it’s usually recommended to combine a tummy tuck with liposuction. 
  • Lifting Surgeries – Lifting surgeries targeting different areas of the body can also get rid of excess skin. For instance, if you have neck liposuction and are left with hanging skin, you can get a neck lift. There’s also arm lift, back lift, thigh lift, buttock lift, etc. 

Certain liposuction techniques have also been developed to help improve the retraction of skin after surgery. 

For instance, there’s superficial subdermal liposuction. However, the problem with this technique is that there is a greater risk of skin contour irregularities with it (unevenness, dimpling, indentations, etc.) and complications with this surgical technique. 

Regardless, make sure to discuss them with your surgeon. Your treatment plan will be based on your needs and expectations from the surgery. 

How To Prevent Loose Skin After Liposuction? 

Choosing an experienced and qualified surgeon is one way to not end up with loose skin after liposuction. Depending on your skin’s quality, they will recommend a treatment plan, and they can advise you which procedures will meet your expectations and needs best.

Still, keep in mind that after liposuction, loose skin may not be prevented for life since ageing will inevitably increase the laxity of your skin. However, you can try to improve your existing skin elasticity by doing the following: 

  • Exercise (muscles can also fill out some of that loose skin) 
  • Eat healthy (foods with antioxidants) 
  • Stay out of the sun 
  • Drink plenty of water 

Some also recommend taking collagen supplements but you should first discuss this with your doctor. 

You can also use skin care products containing retinol for an anti-ageing effect, but be careful how you use it. 


Liposuction is a fat removal procedure (even then, it’s not for weight loss). It will not affect the quality of your skin. 

If it already has significantly poor elasticity, this surgery may end up highlighting that problem by leaving it loose and sagging. 

There are non-surgical and surgical treatments that can help tighten the skin after liposuction but make sure to discuss them with your surgeon because the right treatment will depend on the amount of excess skin you have. 

Reviewed and approved by Prof Dr Fuat Yuksel.

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