10 Wks After Hernia Repair and "Tightening" Things Up from Diastasis, Still Have Swelling, Normal?

I had diastasis, umbilical and ventral hernia. I had follow up a week later and general surgeon said my pregnancy stretched and weakened abdominal wall but he tightened everything up and repaired hernias and I would be happy in about a month when swelling went down. I still have swelling on upper left side and lower right side looking distorted 10 wks post op. I followed the rules strictly, no heavy lifting at all! is this normal?

Doctor Answers 9

Post abdominoplasty swelling

It is difficult to rule out a complication without a photo but postop swelling is normal, even when it looks odd to patients. I would definitely follow up with your plastic surgeon to confirm.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Swelling after abdominal surgery

Swelling 10 weeks after abdominal wall surgery can be due to either swelling of the tissues or a fluid collection (seroma or hematoma). If there is a fluid collection it should probably be drained unless it is very small. Tissue swelling can last for many months after surgery and is particularly noticeable after activity or late in the afternoon or evening. Your surgeon is the best one to evaluate the cause of your swelling so you should make an appointment to be checked.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Swelling 10 Weeks after Hernia and Diastasis Repairs

At 10 weeks after surgery, some swelling may be present. Your surgeon should be able to detect any fluid collections (seromas or hematomas) that could be causing this. Without a picture and physical exam, it is hard to give more specific advise.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

Swelling after Abdominal Surgery

Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

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 1,503 reviews

Swelling following TT

If your lower abdomen was flat at first and now it is swollen this is normal. As you get more active the fluid between the cells, called interstitial fluid tends to accumulate above the scar. The scar works as a dam. It takes about 3 months for the lymphatic vessels to re-form and properly drain this dependent edema. Give it a chance and it will get better. If in doubt discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Swelling can take time to resolve.

The wound healing process following abdominoplasty lasts for over a year. Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year. The procedure tends to disrupt abdominal lymphatic drainage and this causes swelling in the post-operative period.
Although soft tissue edema is the most likely cause of your findings, further studies are indicated. The asymmetric nature of your swelling suggests possible fluid collections. These abnormal bulges may represent seromas or possibly hematomas. They should be investigated with ultrasound studies and possibly CT scans. When these studies are positive, drainage should be undertaken.
It’s important that you consult your surgeon. Your surgeon should be able to evaluate your situation and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

10 Wks After Hernia Repair and "Tightening" Things Up from Diastasis, Still Have Swelling, Normal?

Best to obtain a scan of the soft tissues to see if any residual fluids or released repaired areas. Best of luck. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

10weeks after hernia repair

I would continue to follow closely with your surgeon. Pl relay your concerns to him/her. More often than not, the solution is time but only a physical exam can accurately guide you. Your general surgeon has taken care of very medically necessary issues for you. I am not sure you should expect to have your tummy flat in the way a plastic surgeon would do it during an elective or cosmetic surgery. They are two entirely different procedures.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Concern about swelling of abdomen after hernia and diastasis repair

It is normal to have swelling at 10 weeks following a hernia repair and diastasis repair. However, you did not clearly indicate whether a tummy tuck was performed or not and if only a general surgeon performed your surgery. These are important factors. Furthermore, photos would be very useful to help address your question more accurately.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 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.