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Why Do I Weigh 8 Pounds Heavier One Week Post Op?

One week ago I had a full abdominalplasty, muscle repair, and lipo on the upper and lower abdomen and flanks. I feel fine and can walk up right with little pain. But the swelling! I drink water constantly but I'm still 8 pounds heavier than I was when he did the surgery! When am I going to be able to fit into my clothes again? The swelling is especially bad in the upper abdomen.

Doctor Answers 14

Swelling one week post tummy tuck

One week post tummy tuck and liposuction surgery, it is normal for you to have significant swelling. It is important that you follow your surgeon’s post-op care instructions to ensure the best results possible. I provide my patients with an abdominal binder to wear for 4 weeks to help minimize swelling and aid in the healing process. It could take up to 4-6 months for the swelling to subside depending on your activity level. Follow-up with your plastic surgeon to rule out a seroma (fluid accumulation below the skin/subcutaneous flap).

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,052 reviews

8851 Center Drive
San Diego, CA 91942

Weight in the imediate postoperative period

It is not unreasonable to assume that your present weight most probably does not accurately reflect neither the weight of the tissue that was removed during your surgeries (skin and fat removed during your abdominoplasty and additional fat removed during your liposuction) nor the eventual reduction in weight that you most probably will ultimately see within the next few weeks.

Any increase in body weight that you find one week after surgery is most likely due to the intravenous fluid ostensibly given to you during your surgery in addition to the tumescent fluid typically placed into the tissues to be liposuctioned prior to the removal of fat.

Swelling with attendant decreased sensation over the tummy area ("it feels like someonelse's stomach when I touch my tummy") is typical for the first few weeks following either a tummy tuck or liposuction of the abdomen, individually or in combination. I will tell my patients to expect clothes feeling tight for at least 3-6 weeks or longer after their surgery.

I find that swelling in the upper abdominal region typically resolves sooner than swelling in the lower abdominal region after a tummy tuck, primarily due to hydrostatic pressure/gravitational forces. However,  the addition of liposuction to the area may indeed potentially change the dynamic of this occurrence

Discuss the pronounced swelling in your upper abdomen with your surgeon as he/she would most probably want to be alerted to this finding and then determine if there may be a collection of fluid in the area or if there has been inadequate compression of your post surgical garment specifically to this area that may then need to modified.

Good Luck!!

GMB of Barrington, IL

Gregory Bazell, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

20 Executive Drive
Chicago, IL 60010

Fluid Retention After A Tummy Tuck And Liposuction

What you are experiencing in terms of weight gain is absolutely normal. Every body contouring patient, particularly procedures that incorporate liposuction, is going to weightmore the first week after surgery than they did before. Often even the same clothes around the waistline will feel tighter as well...and maybe even unable to button or snap them together. This is due to swelling and fluid retention. Over the next few weeks the body will get rid of this excess fluid and you will be closer to or in the 'benefits' phase of the procedure. As a general rule, I tell liposuction patients it will be three weeks after surgery before they will notice that they weigh less than before and for many tummy tuck patients it is going to be closer to a month after surgery.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Indiana University Health North Hospital
Carmel, IN 46032


All of this weight is meaningless.  You will lose it again.   It is a combination of things, but is mostly due to swelling.  Be patient.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

525 Oak Centre Drive
San Antonio, TX 78258

Weight gain post tummy tuck

It is common to gain weight post tummy tuck. Hide the scales and consult with your surgeon as he or she knows the specifics of the surgery and about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

1501 Forest Hill Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33406

Tips to help swelling

Swelling is common after surgery and you'll find that it adds the pounds as well. Allow yourself a couple of months for the majority of swelling to subside, as this is generally how long it takes. You'll find that your weight will gradually reduce as the swelling subsides.
Tips to help swelling:

drink fresh water and go to the washroom regularly
cut down on salt
leisurely walk around to keep your circulation going
wear your compression garment as advised

Please talk to your surgeon if swelling is of particular concern, as they may be able to help you with advice specific to your situation. Best of luck!

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

362 Fairlawn Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5M 1T6

Swelling Following Tummy Tuck is Very Common

                   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 I.V. fluids 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 abdominoplasty.  This weight gain typically peaks 5 to 7 days following surgery and in most cases resolves spontaneously.

                   In your case an eight pound weight gain would not be unanticipated following this type of procedure.  If you’re anxious about this phenomena, discussion with your surgeon is appropriate.  Your surgeon should be able to reassure you and make your post operative experience more comfortable.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

8900 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

Postop weight gain

Water retention after general anesthesia is very common. Also, some of that retention is mobilized by the body as swelling in the abdomen. You should begin to eliminate the fluid within the next few weeks. However, if the swelling is excessive, painful, or accompanied by any fever or localized problems, then you need to follow up with your plastic surgeon to rule out hematoma or seroma formation.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

112-03 Queens Blvd
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Temporary weight gain after cosmetic surgery

It is very common to gain some weight after plastic surgery, particularly liposuction.  This is temporary and should all go away once the swelling is gone. Remember that water weighs more than skin and fat.  You will retain extra fluid in your tissues for several weeks which will cause your weight to be higher that what you were before surgery.  You are doing the right thing by drinking a lot of water; don't stop. I suggest that you stay off of the scales for a few weeks.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

4845 Knightsbridge Blvd
Columbus, OH 43214

Increased weight in post operative period

It is very normal to be up several pounds after having surgery.  The body's response to trauma is to hold onto water.  This should continue to go down as you move around more, (a few weeks).  Everyone is different, and will heal at different rates.  Good to stay in touch with your plastic surgeon, as sometimes patients will have a focal collection of fluid, (seroma), that might need to be addressed.

Jeffrey Roth, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

9280 W. Sunset Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89148

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.