Can Swelling After Tumy Tuck Be the Cause of Weight Gain?

I had a Tummy tuck, breast lift and aug 3 weeks ago. I started walking on the treadmill 2 days ago per my Dr's approval. Pretty slow. Now speed walking. I am soooooo swollen by the end of the day. The problem is I am up 7 pounds since surgery. 3 in the last 2 days. I am watching my diet very carefully. Is this all water retention? And besides drinking tons of water and watching my sodium, is there anything I can do to help it?? I am freaking out because of the weight gain. Please help!!

Doctor Answers 11

Weight Gain After Mommy Makeover

Thank you for your question. You are very early in your recovery.

The weight gain is most likely fluid accumulation and will eventually go away.

Be careful to eat a healthy diet rich in protein and complex carbs and avoid fats and salty foods

Weight Gain after Surgery

Early weight gain is related to fluids administered during surgery to maintain your electrolytes and cardiovascular stability.     Some patients can take several weeks to work off this excess fluid.    

In addition, as your activity level increases, you may notice that the tissues swell again and take some time to go down.   This is related to your lymphatics (vessels that remove swelling) having to re-network after surgery.   It is very common to see this in the lower abdomen after a tummy tuck.   

This should all return to normal as your activity level progresses.   I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Gaining Weight after Tummy Tuck

    If you are very swollen by the end of the day, the gain in fluid can cause a several pound gain in weight.  I would not worry about this.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Swelling is normal and that fluid retention can equate to gains..

It’s not unusual for patients to have significant swelling following abdominoplasty.This occurs for a variety of reasons.Patients are typically given significant amounts of IV fluid during their surgical procedure.In addition, the body responds to trauma or surgery by retaining fluid as a protective mechanism.
Under these circumstances, patients can see significant weight gain from fluid retention following Mommy Makeover surgery.The weight gain typically peaks five to seven days following surgery and, in most cases, resolves spontaneously.
In your case, a seven pound weight gain wouldn’t be unanticipated following this type of procedure.If you’re anxious about this phenomenon, discussion with your surgeon is appropriate.Your surgeon should be able to reassure you and make your post-operative experience more comfortable.

Weight Gain Immediately Post Op

3 weeks after surgery, your weight gain is probably fluid, and time is the answer here.  Anesthesia causes dilatation of blood vessels necessitating significant fluid administration during surgery.  Everyone's weight is significantly elevated post operatively.  Swelling withing the tissues can certainly be a large part of your increased weight only 3 weeks out from surgery.  Do not fret, give it time and slowly get back to your normal exercise routine. You will be fine.

Ronald A. Lohner, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Patients can sometimes way more after tummy tuck and before for a few days.

In the wake of a significant operation the body produces some hormones that encourage the maintenance of salt and water. This can translate into a body weight greater postoperatively even though skin and fat has been removed. Eventually the body eliminates the excess fluid and the weight goes down.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Weight gain after a tummy tuck

Thank you for your question about weight gain after a tummy tuck, breast lift and augmentation. You had a lot of surgery,

  • Each surgical area holds excess fluid for weeks after surgery,
  • Vigorous exercise increases swelling and fluid retention,
  • Get off the scale, slow down on the treadmill and give yourself time to recover so you can enjoy the results of the breast augmentation, breast lift and tummy tuck. The fluid takes care of itself. Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Tummy Tuck and Weight Gain

You may be doing too much too fast. If you just started walking on the treadmill 2 days ago and are now speed walking, try slowing it down a bit. When you do too much to soon, you will get more swelling (fluid retention) which equals weight gain. It is good to walk, but I recommend my patients wait a full 6 weeks for return to formal exercise. Listen to your body, when you get a lot of swelling back off a bit. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Weight gain after tummy tuck

What you are describing is very common with a mommy makeover procedure or even a tummy tuck by itself.  If you are swelling considerably with light exercise, you are retaining water and that is what is causing your increase in weight.  I usually tell patients not to step on a scale for at least 6 weeks after surgery.  Good luck with your recovery!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Weight gain after surgery

It is very common to gain weight right after surgery mostly noted in the first two weeks after surgery due to fluid retention from fluids given in surgery and fluid shifts in the body. You should be losing that fluid in the first few weeks after the surgery. Also being less active after surgery may cause a weight gain that you should lose as you return to your full physical activity at about 6 weeks. Consult future with your surgeon.

Good luck

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.