Ask a doctor

Tummy Tuck - Swelling After 4 Weeks

I had a tummy tuck 4 weeks ago and I am still swolen, but I am beginning to be concerned that my stomach will not look much less than it does with the swelling. My doctor told me he would not be able to make me super flat, but he would take as much as he could. In your experience, do you think swelling is still at the extreme after 4 weeks?

Doctor Answers 50

Swelling after a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

After any surgical procedure, the peak of swelling is around the second or third day. Most people don't notice it, as they have other things to be concerned about. Now that you are a month out from surgery, you are feeling better, doing more activities, and are really starting to look at the result. The amount of swelling that is still around depends on how the surgery was performed (how extensive), and also yourself as an individual. I generally have my patients wear compression garments up to the fourth week after a tummy tuck, both to provide support and help "squeeze out" some of the swelling. A good way to prove to yourself that there is residual swelling is to look at your trunk a few minutes after taking off some clothing that has an elastic waist band. If you see more of an impression on the front side of your body (where the tummy tuck surgery was) than on your back, you can be certain that there is still "left over" swelling. This is a normal process, as the lymphatic system that drains fluid takes quite a long time (months) to fully heal and re-orient channels after such a major procedure.
I hope this helps!

Swelling 4 weeks after a tummy tuck is normal.

Actually, you will have swelling for many months after a tummy tuck.  The color of your incision is a good barometer.  As long as it is red or pink, there is swelling everywhere the surgeon went during the operation.  You will find that your scar will probably not turn white for many months.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Swelling of the abdomen after tummy tuck

Swelling in the abdominal area may persist for weeks to months after a tummy tuck.  However, you should have a very good idea of the approximate contour your abdomen will be almost immediately after surgery.  This means that with the tightening of your abdominal muscles and the removal of excess skin, you should see on day #1, the basic overall contour of your abdomen.   The swelling usually lasts longer on the flanks or love handle areas if you had liposuction in this location.

I recommend following up with your plastic surgeon and allowing more time for your overall healing.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 239 reviews

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

Swelling after tummy tuck will be present for many months (8-12 months), especially in the lower tummy, just above the scar line.

Check in with your surgeon to be sure you don't have a fluid accumulation (serum or blood) which should be drained.

Otherwise, give your body the timeit needs to heal.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Final tummy tuck results usually visible after at least 6 months

4 weeks post op surgery is too soon for the swelling to subside. Abdominoplasty is a very invasive surgery, swelling and bruising is very normal during this time. Usually, it takes about 6 months to a year before you see the final results of surgery. Do not be alarmed with the results at this time. Results will improve over time as your body heals.

Swelling after a tummy tuck can fluctuate for MONTHS

Yes, you're likely still swollen.  A good barometer is this:  do you feel the same at the end of a day as you do at the beginning of the day?  Do you have more swelling in the afternoons/evenings?  Do you notice that you are more swollen after salty meals (soups, fried foods, etc)?  If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you know you are still dealing with swelling from healing. 

Scars take 12-18 months to mature, and that includes the scar tissue created on the inside of the abdomen with a tummy tuck.  Give it time.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling Following a Tummy Tuck

Patients can expect some degree of swelling for months following a Tummy Tuck. Most patients feel less swollen at the 6 week mark however you may have some degree of swelling for months following surgery. I would contact your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon  with your specific concerns regarding your recovery. Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck abdominoplasty

The persistent swelling after abdominoplasty is possible and may represent a seroma or fluid collection.  Speak to your surgeon to assess the degree of abdominal flap fat, residual edema, and swelling. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

Swelling is very common after a tummy tuck. If liposuction was performed as well, this can extend the swelling period. At 4 weeks, your swelling should be improving, however it is not uncommon for this to take a few months before it is resolved. Some patients confuse swelling with intraabdominal weight. If you plastic surgeon told you that you carry significant weight inside your abdomen, this does not go away with a tummy tuck. Be sure to ask why he could not make you "flat" and that will likely ease your concerns.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy Tuck Swelling

Swelling is very common after an abdominoplasty. A patient can have swelling anywhere from 3-5 weeks after their procedure is performed. If swelling increases or is not going down, it is best to advise your surgeon that performed the tummy tuck in order to determine if there are any complications.

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.