Tummy Tuck One Side Swelling and Hardening After 2 Weeks, What Should I Do?

i hade full tummy tuck 2 weeks ago, i feel good already but im not to happy my belly button is to small,my left side already feel very normal but my full right side is swallow and very harde to the touch,my doctor said that he did lipo on both side and some time one side more sensitive that the other but and also this side he took the drainge on 7 days but the good side stayed for 2 weeks,and also he told me if it was any fluid on that side it will shift to the other side ,im so afraid

Doctor Answers (6)

Seroms after Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your post. Seromas can be painful and cause a cosmetic deformity, as well as sometimes leak. The whole point of drains is to keep a seroma from happening in the first place. If a drainless procedure was performed, and you had a seroma, or you had drains that were pulled and you subsequently had a seroma, then you should be drained, otherwise a capsule builds around the fluid making it permanent. If a capsule builds around the seroma (pseudo bursa or encapsulated seroma) then the only way to remove the seroma is to surgically open the areas and excise the capsule, and close over drains to prevent another seroma from happening. If the seroma is encapsulated and is tight and painful, then it can be confused with just swelling or fat. An ultrasound is useful in distinguishing these and identifying the extent of the seroma. If the seroma is not yet encapsulated, then it is usually loose and has a 'fluid wave' or water bed type feel. Occasionally, a seroma can also become infected, especially if a permanent braided suture was used. This will have a hot, red appearance, and will eventually open up. I have never seen an infection from sterile aspiration of fluid. If seromas continue despite multiple aspirations over an extended period of time, then you need to start thinking about re-openning the incision and excising the entire capsule, both from and back walls, to treat the seroma. Drains need to be placed, internal sutures placed, possibly using a tissue glue or irritant to encourage the tissues to grow together.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD


Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

2 weeks after Tummy Tuck Surgery

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Thank you for your question.

You are still very early in the recovery process.  It is common for swelling to be more on one side as the patient heals.  As time goes on, you will start seeing the final results.

I highly recommend that you see your surgeon on a regular basis and let him/her help you through the healing process.

Best Wishes!

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 781 reviews

Tummy tuck and abdominal contour issues.

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At 2 weeks, you are still in the early phases of healing. Having swelling on one side of the abdomen which is greater than the other is not uncommon. Strict adherence to the postoperative instructions, use of any binders if prescribed, and limiting your activities is very important. Be sure to follow up as scheduled with your surgeon.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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Asymmetrical swelling is common

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Like all post-operative questions, it is important you see you doctor regularly.  That being said and without photos to view, it is not uncommon to have slightly asymmetrical swelling after surgery, but any major difference could represent a seroma or hematoma, but your surgeon would have mentioned that.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
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Hardening and swelling of abdomen 2 weeks postoperatively

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You are still very early in the healing process and will have a significant amount of swelling still present which can fluctuate considerably from day to day. It may take 6 months or more for most of the swelling and inflammation to resolve.

Regarding the hardness, you should consider following up with your plastic surgeon in the near future.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
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2 weeks Post-Op after Abdominoplasty Surgery

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I know this may not be what you want to hear but it's definitely too early to determine final results.  It's not unusual to experience more swelling on one side versus another. Revisions are sometimes needed with any surgery, but more common with tummy tucks as there are a lot of incisions involved.  The belly button can be revised most likely in the future. I recommend waiting six months for any revisions for my patients. 

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
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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.