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1 Month Post-Op Tummy Tuck with Liposuction, How Can I Tell Swelling from Excess Unremoved Fat?

I had an extended tummy tuck with liposuction a little over one month ago. I have swelling, but I do not think my surgeon removed enough skin because when I sit I still see fat over my post-op body garment. Is this normal? It feels like fat, not swelling. Appreciate your help with my question.

Doctor Answers (5)

Swelling versus unremoved fat 1 month post tummy tuck and liposuction

+2

Without any photos, it is impossible to intelligently comment on your particular situation. At only 4 weeks post tummy tuck, you still will have quite a bit of swelling. Furthermore, the sitting position can create the appearance of still some excess tissue/fat present when such is not the case. 

You should discuss your concern when you see your plastic surgeon. An examination and demonstration will be necessary to help fully explain your situation.


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Postop swelling

+1

The only way to know is to be examined by your plastic surgeon. You should express your concerns and be patient.

Michael Hueneke, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck at one month post-op

+1

At one month post-op abdominoplasty with liposuction, you will definitely have significant swelling. It will be difficult to assess the extent of your swelling for 3-4  more months. In fact, there will be some swelling at up to a year in many cases. You can now resume reasonable exercises and a healthful diet with minimal salt intake. Drink plenty of water. The procedure that you had can give you a wonderful result, but it is traumatic to the tissues, and swelling is one of the side effects. 

E. Ronald Finger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

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Swelling after a tummy tuck

+1

Remember you are only one month out and you certainly could have swelling. In addition, whenever you see you will have some folds of skin, or else you could not stand up straight.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Swelling?

+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.
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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 793 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.