Liposuction and Skin Dimpling

After liposuction, certain patients may be at risk of developing skin dimples or irregularities. It is important to note that not every patient who has liposuction performed will develop dimples. Many patients are happy with their bodies after the procedure is finished and long after they are healed. This is simply a guide to advise liposuction patients on what to do to prevent and treat dimpling.

What Causes Dimpling after Liposuction?

Liposuction is a procedure that removes fat from one or more specific areas of the body. To do this, a tube, called a cannula, passes through the targeted areas, suctioning fat out of the body; unfortunately, the vigorous motion of the cannula can damage the connective tissues. This is more likely to happen when large amounts of fat are removed. If the connective tissues heal unevenly in the three to six months after surgery, or additional weight is lost or gained after liposuction, dimples may form. Dimples or unevenness may also form if too much fat is removed, or the skin has poor skin elasticity.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Dimples?

Patients whose weight is unstable are at a heightened risk of developing dimples after liposuction. Women who plan on becoming pregnant in the near future are at risk of weight fluctuations; as such, women who plan on becoming pregnant in the future may want to hold off on having liposuction until they are finished having children.

Women and men who have cellulite or keloid scarring may also be at an increased risk of developing dimples because of the way their connective tissues heal and contain fat.

Older patients with poor skin elasticity are more likely to experience skin irregularities after liposuction. In these cases, a skin tightening treatment such as tummy tuck, thigh lift, or arm lift may be combined with liposuction.


Here are some tips to reduce the risk of skin dimpling after liposuction:

Keep Your Weight Stable

If you have weight to lose, do it before liposuction (or any other cosmetic procedure).

  • Exercise: Once you have liposuction performed, maintain your weight. Exercise five or six days a week for at least 30 minutes. You can supplement cardiovascular activity with strength training to tone up.
  • Eat reasonably: Avoid sugar, trans-fats, and too much salt.
  • Drink plenty of water: Most people need about 2,000 calories daily to maintain weight.
  • Stress: Keep stress levels in check. Stress raises cortisol levels and can cause weight gain.
  • Medications: Be wary of any new prescriptions or supplements you are recommended, those can also cause weight gain. These include oral contraceptives and antidepressants.

Compression Garments

Wear compression garments for the first few months after surgery. This will tighten the skin and prevent irregularities. It will also reduce swelling and help to prevent clotting, particularly if garments are worn on the legs.

Reasonable Expectations

Do not expect to lose a huge amount of weight through liposuction. The goal is to sculpt the area. Taking out too much fat is more likely to result in dimpling and unevenness.


Massage has been found to be effective for some people. Some spas offer massage specifically for plastic surgeon patients. You can also do it yourself in the shower or after bathing.

There are laser treatments available, notably Thermage, which generates heat and can smooth out lumps.

Liposuction may be made more effective if combined with a tummy tuck, thigh lift, or other surgical skin tightening procedures that remove excess skin.

To find out if you are a good candidate for liposuction, contact Marin Aesthetics.

About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!