16 days post tummy tuck, feel like I'm pregnant, is this swelling normal? (photo)

I keep being told to give it six weeks but my skin is getting so tight with the swelling in scared my skin will stretch and sag when it eventually goes. I'm so scared and uncomfortable. I'm noticing I'm more swollen on the right side round to my hip. Had TT on 6th jan 2014, drains were kept in for 6 days and then I flew back home on 16th. Please help, I'd be so grateful.

Doctor Answers 7

Swelling after abdominoplasty

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Swelling at 2 or 3 weeks after tummy tuck is typical. Normal swelling will take weeks to resolve. However based on your photo I would be concerned about a Seroma or distinct fluid pocket. This is not uncommon and usually is easily drained. Try to find a local surgeon to see you. Maybe your original surgeon knows someone in your town. 

Abdominal Swelling

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Thank you for your picture.  It is not unreasonable to have swelling at this point but you may have a seroma since your drain was removed at 6 days.  You should revisit with your PS.

Dr. ES

Swelling after tummy tuck

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Thanks for your picture and question.  Without an exam, it is difficult to know if your increase in size is due to swelling or to a seroma (fluid collection).  A seroma will not resolve itself on its own and may need to be drained.  You do need to be examined.

Swelling versus seroma after tummy tuck

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Dear PelsTT,

Without a before photo or an exam its is hard to know if what you are describing is seroma, swelling, or residual fat.  An ultrasound would show a large collection of fluid (seroma).  If this is the case a drain or serum cath could be inserted. 

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

16 days post tummy tuck, feel like I'm pregnant, is this swelling normal?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. As you likely know, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource for precise diagnosis...
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. 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. Separation of the abdominal wall plication is very unusual.
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.
Best wishes.

16 days post tummy tuck, feel like I'm pregnant, is this swelling normal?

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You have a serious issue of expanding seroma that needs operative drainage and complete follow up care. Maybe you should fly back to the operative country for care, that is the high risks of "medical tourism" surgery. Or "try" to find a boarded local USA PS, but you will be charged at least a few $$$$$. 

Wouind Healing take time and how you can help

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Sound like you are very swollen, a natural phenomena.  Watch your salt.  Salt intake must be  kept below 1500mg day.  If you do this you will be less swollen.  Also you can ask your doctor for a diuretic to help you los salt.  Salt is Sodium Chloride....table salt.  My Best,  Dr C

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