Ask a doctor

Had Tummy Tuck & Lipo 2 my Sides & Back is It Normal 2 Look Like This After?

I am 3weeks 2day post op my full TT& lipo & I look as big as i was b4 the surgery my belly area is not flat @ all. I'm very swollen my stiches opened a lil& I'm having fluid comming out. My sides r hard& buldging instead of being slim. My doc said 2 place a pad on it collect the drainage& keep it clean I have no infection in it& tht the swelling will go dwn but my belly was big b4 that. I'm very sad with my results how long will I c sum kid of results& will lymphatic drainage massege help @all

Doctor Answers (2)

Tummy Tuck Results?

+3

Thank you for the question.

At this stage of your recovery it is much too early to evaluate the results of surgery. I'm sure you have significant swelling present;  this will take months to fully resolve. It will take up to a year for the skin to fully redrape.

I would suggest that you continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to rule out and treat complications that may be causing  increased swelling.  He/she is also in the best position to reassure you if you are progressing normally.

Also keep in mind that it is not unusual for patients who experience severe emotional ups and downs after major surgery;  this tends to level out after 2 to 3 months of recovery.

For people contemplating tummy tuck surgery in the future,  the following words of advice may be helpful:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself)  and that you have realistic expectations.  Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life   situation.  You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be  more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina  of your caretakers.

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the   emotional swings that you may experience.

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.
I hope this helps.

 


San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 751 reviews

3 Weeks Post Tummy Tuck - When Will I See The Results Of My Surgery?

+2

Dear Nicole, Each person recovers from a tummy tuck and liposuction at a different rate.  If there is a bell shaped curve, you may be on the high side of it and you may not see the full positive results of your surgery for 3 - 6 months, or even more.  If you had a lot of fat in the upper portion of your abdomen and if your plastic surgeon did a classical abdominoplasty, he or she may have pulled down the fat from your upper abdomen to your lower abdomen, and that, plus swelling, may make it appear that there have been no changes.   

Also, your complication with excess serum production may have led to more swelling, and therefore slower shrinkage of your overall girth.

That being said, in my practice, I use post operative ultrasound (the kind physical therapists use for sore muscles), especially on the liposuctioned areas as well as DMSO to decrease swelling, improve blood supply, and even out the fat cells.  At times, even a short burst of corticosteroids can kick start the shrinking process.  All the above recommendations fit my practice, but not all plastic surgeons would agree with me. 

I know you are feeling very frustrated at this point, but recovery from a tummy tuck is a process and not an event.  Give it time, things will certainly improve.

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 213 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.