Should Liposuction Incisions Be Closed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, when you do liposuction do you close the incisions with stitches or staples or just leave them open? A relative of mine across the country had liposuction recently on her stomach and thighs and they didn’t close her incisions. I didn’t realize that liposuction was done that way. She said her incisions bled for days and she had to keep changing her wet bloody garments. How does this affect the liposuction result and does it increase the risk of infection?

Thigh Liposuction Indianapolis Dr Barry Eppley

A: Whether a plastic surgeon chooses to close liposuction incisions is a matter of personal preference. There is no evidence that not closing these incisions increase the risk of infection or affect the outcome of the procedure in any way. It is common for the liposuction incisions to leak fluid for 24 to 36 hours after the procedure which is primarily induced by the wearing of the compression garments. (squeezing it out) What one sees, although it looks like a lot of blood to the patient, is actually just a little bit of blood mixed with the tumescent solution that was infused at the time of the surgery. One could argue that the more this fluid comes out the less swelling and bruising that will  subsequently occur. If the fluid does not come out it stays in the body and must be absorbed over time as one heals. If the incisions are closed probably less fluid comes out but a fair amount will still ooze out anyway. This is why I tell patients to not sit or lay on anything they value (without a blanket) for the first few days after surgery.

That being said, I do prefer to close my liposuction incisions (with the exception of those placed inside the belly button) as it increases the likelihood of better scars, small as they may be.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana