1 Week Post Op After Having a Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift my Upper Abdomen Seems Puffy?

My upper abdomen seems to be puffy and I feel a real tightness in the centre of my abdomen I also seem to have a lot of swelling below my scar too. But I'm worried about my upper abdomen

Doctor Answers (5)

Upper abdominal fullness after tummy tuck

+1

Upper abdominal fullness may be due to 1) soft tissue swelling, 2) thickness of your fatty layer, or 3) fluid collection.  Your plastic surgeon should be able to determine the cause of the puffiness.  You are expected to have swelling for at least 1-2 month.  Often times you will not see the final result/contour for 3 months.  Meanwhile, you should follow your plastic surgeon's postoperative instruction in regards to compression garment and activity limitations.  Best wishes.


Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your question.   It is difficult to determine the cause of your swelling without an exam.   It is most likely normal postop swelling, which will gradually improve over 3-4 months.  

It could also be a fluid collection or damage to your muscle repair.   Careful evaluation by your surgeon can determine the cause.   I wish you a safe and healthy recovery!!

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Upper abdomen puffiness one week post tummy tuck

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Swelling  is typical at this stage.  Also, you may have some bloating and/or constipation especially if your bowels are not moving normally yet which may account for the upper abdomen puffiness.  You should consult with your surgeon to be evaluated and to discuss an concerns.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

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Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to advise you have to direct examination.

 Generally speaking, abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:

1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 reviews

Upper Abdominal Puffiness After A Tummy Tuck

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Things are usually tightest around the belly button area after an abdominoplasty, therefore puffiness above the belly button is not unusual until the swelling settles down.  Also, since you had a breast lift and a tummy tuck, with the tightness of the lift above and the tightness of the belly button below, the lymphatics (those vessels that drain extra fluid off any area) are certainly being challenged in your upper abdomen.  Therefore, this may be another cause of your upper abdominal puffiness.  Swelling gets worse in the first week after almost any surgery, so by definition, things are going to start getting better.  Also, because the muscles are sewn together in the upper as well as lower abdomen, and usually the muscles double in thickness from sutures being placed in them, this muscle swelling may also add to the puffiness of your upper abdomen. 

I certainly understand your concern.  I am sure you were so excited to get the surgery done, and now you want to be recovered.  Unfortunately, this takes time so give time, time.  It will get better and this upper abdominal pufficness certainly will decrease over the next couple weeks.

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 185 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.