10 Days Post Op Mommy Makeover. Lower Abdomen Swelling? (photo)

I had a extended tummy tuck with breast lift/augmentation and lipo on my flanks. Overall I am thrilled with the results especially since the 'before' was so bad. My lower abdomen though is concerning me. I look 3 months pregnant. I expect swelling, but it seems so centered right at my lower abdomen. It is a little better in the morning (as I would expect with swelling) but never goes away. My Dr. does not place drains, so I'm trying not to get upset, but does this look like normal swelling?

Doctor Answers 18

Mommy Makeover and Post Operative Swelling

It is not unusual to have lower abdominal swelling 10 days after a mommy makeover with a tummy tuck.  However, you may have developed a collection of fluid or blood (seroma or hematoma).  Check with your surgeon to see if they would suggest draining off the fluid if it is present.  But don't worry, even if you need to have the fluid drained it is a relatively easy procedure.  Best wishes.

San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

What to Expect After a Tummy Tuck

After a mommy makeover that includes a tummy tuck, either with a NO Drain tummy tuck or with drains, you can expect swelling especially in the lower part if the abdomen. This swelling is usually worse just above the lower incision since the normal swelling that accumulates in your abdomen and drains into the lymphatic channels in your groin now has nowhere to go until the channels reconnect. This will slowly get better over a few months.

From your photos, it looks like you are doing just fine and will get a great result.

I hope that helps.

Beat regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

10 Days Post Abdominoplasty - Do I Have A Seroma Or Is This Swelling Normal?

As I read your question, you are asking, do you have a seroma, a hematoma, or is this swelling normal?  The answer to this question requires an in person physical exam, and possibly even placing a needle or better, a seromacath, to test if there is any fluid present in your lower abdominal area.  This question needs to be posed to your plastic surgeon.  

All that being said, it sure looks like a seroma to me, and if you were my patient, I would place a seromacath for a day or two to get rid of the problem quickly before it becomes chronic.  If I were you, I would contact my plastic surgeon sooner rather than later. 

Swelling vs. Fluid after Tummy Tuck

Your doctor may have used  "progressive tension" sutures which help close down the space where fluid accumulates, minimizing the need for drains.

It is possible that you may a small collection of blood or lympatic fluid.   I would recommend evaluation by your plastic surgeon to ensure this is not the case.


I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Post Op Mommy Makeover Swelling

It is best to direct your concerns to the surgeon who performed your procedure. This question requires a physical exam for an accurate answer to differentiate prolonged swelling from other anatomic etiologies.


Swelling is not uncommon after a tummy tuck and typically lasts quite a while. 80% has resolved by 3 months and the rest takes up to a year to resolve. You have to be patient with the healing process.Enjoy your new look!Sheila Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drains would likely have helped, follow up to relieve possible seroma.

Seroma formation is a common problem following tummy tuck surgery. In an effort to minimize this complication, surgeons utilize drains in the post-operative period.These drains are typically left in place for 7 to 14 days following surgery.They are usually removed when drainage drops below 25 cc per 24 hours.
After the drains are removed, seroma fluid can continue to develop for a limited period of time.In most cases, the body resorbs this fluid before it can develop into a seroma.In some cases, this fluid accumulates faster than the body’s capacity to resorb it.When this occurs, seroma formation can result.This occurs more frequently when patients are physically active.
Once a seroma forms, serial percutaneous aspiration with a needle and syringe is necessary.If this continues, percutaneous CT-guided drain placement may be necessary.In rare cases, placing a sclerosing agent into the seroma cavity may be necessary to prevent seroma formation.
Although most seromas don’t represent a significant problem, they should be removed.Seroma removal helps decrease the potential for infection and wound breakdown. It also makes recovery a more comfortable experience.The vast majority of seromas have resolved in six weeks, but occasionally they persist for longer periods of time.Clinically, significant seromas can usually be felt on physical exam, lesser amounts of seroma may be present in most patients, but these don’t require treatment.

10 Days Post Op Mommy Makeover. Lower Abdomen Swelling?

I am so happy that you are thrilled with your results.  There is no problem checking in with your surgeon to get evaluated for a possible fluid collection such as a hematoma or seroma.  If there are clinical signs that it is present then it can be treated in a rather straight forward manner.  Best wishes.

For more information, please go to my website at:

Garrett A. Wirth, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mommy Makeovers Require Close Follow-up With Your Plastic Surgeon For Optimal Results

Swelling can be very normal 10 days following a tummy-tuck, especially if accompanied by liposuction. Compression is helpful. Close follow-up with physical examination with your Plastic Surgeon is essential to make sure that it is nothing more serious such as a seroma or hematoma. Best of luck. Dr. Lyos

Andrew T. Lyos, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Congratulations on having undergone the breast  and abdominoplasty surgery. Based on your concerns and picture, you will be much better served by following up with your plastic surgeon for direct examination, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations. Ant fluid accumulation can easily be diagnosed and treated.

 Best wishes.

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.