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Why have I gained 3 inches to my waist after having a full tummy-tuck two weeks ago?

I had what they call a 'mommy makeover' two weeks and three days ago, which included breast augmentation plus a full tummy-tuck, without any liposuction two weeks ago. I am 37 years old, 5'8" and 119 pounds and ran 4 to 6 miles three times a week, so I am in pretty good shape. I find that I am quite swollen in my lower tummy region, looks to be water, but also I am concerned that my rib cage is measuring wider and so is my waist line, my hips have stayed the same.

Doctor Answers (11)

What now?

+2
After your surgery you should have been put into some sort of pressure garment. Most women stay in some sort of compression garment for months, until it feels comfortable to go without. That said, one of the rare complications of a full abdominoplasty is the collection of fluid  under the skin flap, think of it like a blister. If your abdomen feels like a hot water bottle, (some respondents may have to look up this term), there is a collection of fluid that should be drained off and may require multiple follow-up draining procedures. With your description of your habits and build you should end up with an excellent result.   


Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Be Patient About Swelling

+2
Swelling during this time is normal. You should have your surgeon check the site to make sure that you are not developing a seroma (fluid collection) that may need to be drained. Also, I tell my patients that any jogging should be avoided until we are sure that there are no issues. You had 2 procedures done, and recovery will certainly take longer than if only one were performed. Patience is key here. Good luck in your recovery.

Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Gained inches around waist after tummy tuck

+2
It is likely due to swelling which is very common especially at 2 weeks out and with multiple procedures. However, you should bring this to your plastic surgeon's attention, so that he/she can make sure that it's not a seroma (fluid collection). You will see the swelling resolve over the next 3-6 months, however, for up to year you can still get swelling over the incision after an extremely active day.  The reason is that your abdominal skin needs to make new connections to drain the fluid that accumulates in tissues and that takes time (up to a full year) to occur.   Hope this helps. 

Luis H. Macias, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

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Mommy makeover- recovery

+2
Swelling for a few weeks after surgery is common.  This is especially true if multiple procedures are combined.  It is still early in your recovery and your swelling should continue to resolve.  Discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon to make sure you are healing appropriately

Steven M. Camp, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon
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Increase in girth immediately after abdominoplasty is due to swelling.

+1
Significant swelling can actually increase the size of the abdomen immediately after in abdominoplasty particularly in a small patient.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Why have I gained 3 inches to my waist after having a full tummy-tuck two weeks ago?

+1
At only 2-3 weeks you certainly have swelling that would mask the result of your surgery. I tell my patients to be careful about salt intake as this can make swelling worse. It can easily take 2-3 months to see your final results after a big surgery like you had.  Be sure to keep any scheduled follow up appointments you have with your surgeons for his evaluation and advice. Good luck, Dean Vistnes.

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Increased waist size after mommy makeover

+1
In the first few weeks after your mommy makeover it is common to have swelling that makes you feel or look bigger than you did prior to surgery.  Compression garments wil help to get rid of this.  You should start seeing improvements shortly.  Good luck.

Sacha Obaid, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Swelling after mommy make over

+1
  • the most likely cause is swelling,
  • if so, it will improve,
  • if you are concerned that there is another cause, see your surgeon for a face-to-face exam,
  • especially if the swelling is recent and increasing. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
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Swelling After Tummy Tuck

+1
This is pretty common and is usually due to swelling. It may take several months before the contour of your procedure is truly noticed. You have water weight and swelling to deal with at this point. Give it time.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Swelling after surgery....

+1
hello. interesting question, thanks. Remember that after a major surgery there is inflammation of the tissues, depending on each person takes between six months and one year to recovery, be patient and visit your plastic surgeon.

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 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.