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Edema Following Tummy Tuck

I had a Full TT Oct 2010. Healing went great, had no problems at all. Mid Nov I began to notice I was holding fluid all over my body..maybe edema? My PS gave me water pills to take once per day. No results. When I asked for more she refused, and said that the surgery had nothing to do with the water retension,and to cut back on my salt intake.

I have been, and still holding maybe 20-25 lbs of water. I'm puffy, bloated and my hands hurt. Did surgery effect my lymph glands?? What to do now?

Doctor Answers 5

Water retention after tummy tuck

You must look seriously for a medical cause for 20 to 25 pounds of water retention.  It does not occur as a result of a tummy tuck but can be related to kidney, liver, or thyroid problems etc.

An internal medicine doctor would the the right person to see.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

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20-25 pounds of water retention is not from your tummy tuck.

There is no reason why a tummy tuck will cause you to have widespread body edema (anasarca). Localized swelling in the abdominal flap or in the pubic area is common, but persistent swelling in your hands and feet indicates an issue with your salt balance, kidney status, or heart function. I recommend a thorough history and physical examination with your internist to evaluate for more common causes of body edema. Best of luck.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Edema after tummy tuck

Tummy tuck did not affect your lymph glands or cause water retention. Limiting salt intake is certainly good advice. However, you should pay a visit to your primary care physician for a complete exam. Swelling in the abdomen for several weeks is common, and even some swelling in the feet and ankles with fluids from surgery and inactivity for several days. Bloating or whole body water retention is not the norm after tummy tuck.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Fluid retention after tummy tuck

Mild to moderate swelling of the abdominal area is usual for about 6 to 8 months. You need to see your family doctor to find out why you are retaining fluid. A tummy tuck this far out should not cause fluid retention.

Victor Au, MD
Chapel Hill Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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.