How do I know if my stomach is just swollen or is it retaining liquid after my tummy tuck? (Photo)

I had a tummytuck 13 days ago (04/04/2014). My drainage was taken out 3 days ago (04/16/2014). Before and the day of my drainage being taken out my stomach was flat. Since the night of my drainage being taken out my stomach has been growing a little every day. I feel pressure on my stitches and bubbles in my stomach. Now I am starting to look pregnant. I like to know if I am just swollen from the tummytuck or am I retaining liquid under my tummytuck. Please advise. Thank you.

Doctor Answers (12)

How do I know if my stomach is just swollen or is it retaining liquid after my #tummy tuck?

+1
Based on your photo and description I think you are right to be concerned about fluid reaccumulating (a seroma).  You should contact your surgeon for an assessment.  You may need to have the fluid aspirated (removed with a needle) or, rarely, to have a drain reinserted.  Neither is pleasant (!) but your recovery will be expedited with the appropriate intervention at this stage.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E


New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Swollen tummy

+1
Thank you for the picture. If you had your drain removed and you developed swelling right after its removal I think you probably have fluid. This fluid needs to be drained. I will contact your plastic surgeon.

Good luck.

Earl Stephenson Jr MD DDS FACS

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Post Tummy Tuck

+1
Inform your surgeon of your concerns for his evaluation and advise. Good luck! Dean Vistnes.

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

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Swelling or fluid retention?

+1
Based on your description, it could be a seroma and I would encourage you to return to your plastic surgeon for followup.  

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+1
Your concerns are valid but it is very difficult to tell you if your situation is from normal swelling or from fluid collection with only a photo like this.  You need to be examined, and I stress to anyone with questions like this after their procedure- best to contact your surgeon and ask them directly, as she or he will likely want to see you and make sure that you are both comfortable and that all of your questions are answered.

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Best to return to your surgeon for a follow up examination. Does sound like fluid retention. Drainage could be needed... 

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Post Tummy-Tuck Swelling or Liquid Retention

+1
After a tummy-tuck, drains are placed to allow any fluid that accumulates under the skin flap to come out.  However, if after the drain is removed there is a sloshing feeling or fluid shift type of feeling (like a water bed) it can indicate that additional fluid has accumulated under the flap.  Ordinary swelling just feels boggy, but there is no sensation of fluid moving around. If however you do have this fluid under the flap it is recommended that it be removed by drawing it out with a needle to speed up recovery from the surgery.  

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Please contact your board certified plastic surgeon regarding your concerns. Upon examination your surgeon will be able to address your concerns. Best of luck!

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Advice re: Swelling post abdominoplasty/tummy tuck

+1
Hi and thanks for your question. Yes, from what you describe it sounds as if you may indeed have some fluid called a seroma. I'd advise that you make an appointment to see your PS. This can happen. It can be treated with aspiration with or without steroid injection that has been shown to reduce recurrence. In fact I now rarely use drains after a tummy tuck, since I use a combination. of internal suturing and a special internal fibrin glue/sealant. Wearing a compression garment can help. Good luck.

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See your surgeon

+1
Any time a drain is removed and swelling then gets worse and worse a fluid collection can be building inside.  Insertion of a drain may be needed and is a very quick procedure to have done and may be needed.  See your surgeon to get assessed.

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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.