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22 Y/o Tummy Tuck W/o Muscle Repair Still Swelling at 11 Weeks Post-op, Normal?

11 weeks ago I had a TT W/O MR, BL&excision of back rolls.8lbs of skin&fat was removed from TT&2lbs from back rolls.No problems with the back&breasts.I wake up relatively flat in the morning&by night I look pregnant.I swell so much my stomach is hard&pulling on my incision.Was referred to my PCP&had an ultrasound&abd.x-ray which came back normal.Was told by the PS's nurse to go back to wearing spanx all day instead of my binder.I'm almost 3 months post-op is this normal?My next F/U appt.is in 2w

Doctor Answers (1)

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

+1

Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

Generally speaking, abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:

1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Web reference: http://www.poustiplasticsurgery.com/Procedures/Procedure_tummyTuck.htm

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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