Abdomen Distended 27 Days After Mommy Makeover (Tummy Tuck with Lipo)

On July 20th (27 days ago) I had the mommy makeover consisting breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, and lipo. My abdomen is distended still - not soft. If I walk too much, both the stomach and thighs expand/swell. If I sit in an upright position, they swell. Is it normal for the stomach to be distended after 27 days? I'm able to move around in the mornings and do small things but then I feel swollen in the abdomen and thighs usually in the afternoon and need to sit for the rest of the day.

Doctor Answers 9

4 wks post-op

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At 4 weeks post-operative from a Mommy Makeover, it is quite common to have the symptoms you describe.  Swelling can take a while to go away.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Persistent abdominal fullness after tummy tuck

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From the limited view here, it appears your fullness in intraabdominal and not subcutaneous. Possible causes of this include fluid retention, constipation/bloating, poor muscle tone, ascites (rare), visceral adipose tissue deposits. Discuss these with your surgeon. Frequently, I find that this improves with diet, probiotics, ambulation, and core strengthening when permitted by your surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Swelling post tummy tuck surgery

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Based on the photo and information you provided, it looks like you have significant swelling. At this point in time of your recovery, it is normal to have some swelling. However, if you feel that there may be fluid accumulation in the tissues, consult with your plastic surgeon as soon as possible.Otherwise, follow the post-op care instructions of your surgeon to avoid any complications such as, wearing your compression garment as much as possible, taking it easy, and staying hunched over. During your follow-up appointments, address your issues and concerns so you aren't worrying.Good luck and take care!

Distended abdomen after tummy tuck

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At this juncture, you might have a fluid collection (seroma) or perhaps your muscles were not tightened enough. Better return to your surgeon.

Howard T. Bellin, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Surgical aftercare

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You should discuss these concerns with your surgeon as that is what you paid him/her for. You did not just pay for surgery. The aftercare was included. It sounds like swelling but you could be collecting seroma fluid under the flap etc. That is why aftercare is so important and is responsible for 50% or more of the end result in most cases.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Mommy makeover

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From your description it sounds as if it is swelling. However were the muscles tightened?

Are you wearing your compression garment?

Discuss with your surgeon

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Swelling After Mommy Makeover in Melbourne, Florida

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Swelling after mommy makeover surgery and in particular abdominoplasty can vary greatly from patient to patient. It is not unusual that weeks after your surgery you would still have some swelling and especially if you are starting to become more active that you may notice it more and that it can change from one time of the day to the other depending how active you are or whether you have been standing for part of the day. Fortunately, this generally resolves on its own. Be sure to check with your board-certified plastic surgeon. Best wishes to you!

Amy Ortega, MD
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Swelling Following Tummy Tuck Surgery

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         It’s not unusual for patients to experience significant swelling following abdominoplasty. This swelling typically resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year. The procedure inevitably interrupts the abdominal lymphatic drainage and this takes time to re-establish itself.


         In some cases, abdominal distension may be related to other causes. One possible cause is seroma formation. Seromas are collections of fluid that accumulate beneath the skin. They usually require drainage which results in significant improvement in symptoms. Occasionally, this problem may be related to continued weakness of the underlying abdominal muscles and secondary surgery may be necessary to address this issue.


         When persistent swelling is present, consultation with your surgeon is important. Your surgeon should be able to evaluate you and make an appropriate recommendation. In most cases patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on activity levels. It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time. 

Abdominal distention after a Mommy Makeover

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I would recommend returing to your plastic surgeon to make sure that your healing process is going okay and that nothing is wrong with the insides of your belly.

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.