4 1/2 Weeks Post Op Drain Free Tummy Tuck. Will Skin Get Tighter ?

So i got a drain free tummy tuck almost 4 1/2 weeks ago. I went home with hardly any pain, i didnt even take meds. I was hunched over a few days but then i was ok. When i sit, i still get a "roll" and there is swelling above incision site. Please let me know your thoughts on how i am doing so far and if you think the swelling is normal and if my skin will get tighter. I was pretty slim prior 5'1" 112lbs but after 2 c-sections and stretch marks, i wanted to get a tighter abdomen.

Doctor Answers 5

Sounds Like a Normal Post-op Course

It is normal to have some swelling after Drainless tummy tuck, especially in the lower abdomen and pubic region where edema fluid within the tissues can tend to linger until the lymphatic channels re-establish themselves, and can then clear the fluid.  Use of a binder is invaluable in minimizing edema after abdominoplasty and should be continued for at least 4 weeks.  An important tip is that the binder should not be worn tightly, since that could lead to compromised blood flow and wound healing problems.  The chance of the swelling being caused by a fluid collection is minimal if the procedure is performed correctly.
I hope this answers your question.  Good luck!

Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy tuck skin does not get tighter as swelling goes down.

Everyone gets a roll of "loose" skin when they sit, even children! If your belly was flat when sitting, then the skin would split (or at least stretch out) when you stand, leaving you with loose, stretched skin the next time you sit or bend over. This is what allows your torso flexibility, just as the loose wrinkled skin of our knees and elbows does when those extremities are straight!

The truth is that your swelling will diminish as time goes by, your scars will soften and fade, and you will have a good result.

Since you have a vertical scar above your pubic area, it is evident your surgeon felt s/he could not remove all of the skin between your pubis and belly button. This is a judgement call made by all of us at the time of surgery. Perhaps a tighter closure might have been possible by more skin removal, but that also might have required more dissection superiorly to free up more skin and allow more stretch and mobility. That in turn might have required a drain.

Some patients are more impressed by "drain-less" surgery than by more aggressive freeing-up of the skin and more skin removal. But this is for you and your surgeon to discuss now, and for you to have considered prior to choosing your surgeon.

At this point I would suggest waiting 6 months or more for everything to soften and settle, after which additional skin can be removed in another operation, if that is your request. For examples of my tummy tuck patients in various stages of scar maturation, click on the web reference link below. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Tighter skin after Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question and photos.

Although at 4 weeks post op you are not fully recovered from surgery, it is not clear if the skin will become "tighter".  You do still have swelling and so the swelling will decrease with time and you will start to see your final results months after the procedure.

You look good!

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Early Tummy Tuck Recovery

While all the swelling has not gone done by four weeks after a tummy tuck, I would not anticipate that further healing will create tighter skin. The greatest tightness that a tummy tuck will have is early on right after surgery. Time and healing will actually have the skin feel less tight, although not necessarily appear more loose, but it will definituely not tighten up more on its own. If you expected the result to be tighter than what it is now, you may have been expecting more than what a tummy tuck can do.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

First month after tummy tuck

The recovery from tummy tuck can seem lengthy compared to most other cosmetic procedures. I don't know if your skin will tighten, though you will continue to feel better as you increase your activity level. Your result to four weeks is just right.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 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.