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3 Months After Tummy Tuck I Have Extreme Swelling Upper Left Stomach, What Could it be?

I had my 3 month check up from TT today and told the surgeon of swelling after activity. My appt was at 10am so no swelling at time of appt. they took "after" pics and said they didnt know what it could be. By noon I was completely swollen so they got me in this afternoon. Hypothosis was that I possibly popped stitches on the top which is making it relax or swell. He had never seen this before. Swelling is gone in am and extreme by mid afternoon if I wear support. W/no support 2-3 hrs.

Doctor Answers (2)

Swelling after a tummy tuck

+1

It sounds like you may have popped some stitches and you might need another operation to fix the problem.


Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

+1

Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon is in the best position to advise  you; it appears that  he is following you closely. After careful physical examination and/or imaging studies I'm sure he will be able to make a diagnosis for you.

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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 794 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.