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Why is my Upper Tummy Looking Bigger then Before Surgery?

I had a full tummy tuck with lipo of my upper abs. but since day 1 I have either been extremely swollen in my upper abs or there was no lipo done. I am extremely frustrated. I am 2 months post op and it looks like a fat bulged, then rmy belly button goes in then a little swelling below the belly button which I assume is normal. My tummy looks strange- any thoughts?

Doctor Answers (14)

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

+2

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


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 reviews

Full Tummy Tuck with Liposuction of Upper Abs

+2

           This may be residual swelling or residual abdominal wall laxity, but photos of front and side pre and post op would help.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 180 reviews

Why is my Upper Tummy Looking Bigger then Before Surgery?

+2

Unfortunately, without photos it is too difficult to understand what is going on here. Please consider posting this question again with some pictures, preferably with some befores.

Thanks, best wishes. Patience. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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Bulge after Tummy Tuck

+1

In order to adequately diagnose the cause of your bulge, you should be examined by a board certified plastic surgeon. There are several factors that can cause a bulge following abdominoplasty. Swelling of the abdominal soft tissues can last for several months. This swelling can be exacerbated by increased activity. There may also be an accumulation of fluid between the skin and the muscle that can contribute to excess abdominal fullness. Excess fat can also give the appearance of an abdominal bulge. Lastly, if the abdominal muscle repair has separated, the abdominal contour can be affected and look like a bulge.

Scott Farber, MD
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Fullness in upper abdominal area

+1

There are a number of potential causes for upper abdominal fullness after tummy tuck.  These include fluid collections (seromas), extra fat that has not been removed, or weakness of muscle repair.  Please submit pictures.

Sacha Obaid, MD
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Bulging after a tummy tuck.

+1

In order to diagnose the reason for your bulge, a physcial examination is required. Bulging occurs due to swelling, excess fat, or from the diastasis of the muscles. Discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon.

David Bogue, MD
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Tummy tuck looking larger than before surgery. Normal?

+1

Hard to say without photos.  It is also not quite clear what you had going on before the surgery.  Did you have a significant separation of the rectus muscles, etc;? You are still early in the post operative course.  There is a possibility of a hematoma or seroma.  Best to call your plastic surgeon and let him/her know your concerns.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
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Upper abdominal bulge following an abdominoplasty

+1

The upper abdominal area can be a problem.  If this area is overly liposuctioned at the time of an abdominoplasty then you can have problems with healing.  If the fascia was not sufficiently tightened then it can cause a bulge.  It is possible that you just need some additional liposuction after you have sufficiently recovered.  Talk it over with your plastic surgeon.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
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Bulging after tummy tuck

+1
Please post photos because the narrative isn't clear. You may still have swelling which hasn't resolved or is going down disproportionately.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
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Lipo with a tummy tuck

+1

liposuction done too aggressively in the upper abdomen at the time of a tummy tuck can lead to severe healing problems.   i am not sure whether lipo was done very conservatively or not done at all at the time.  this may be the problem.  residual swelling may be the problem as well.  2 months post op is still not a very long time.  

Eric Chang, MD
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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.