After 5 Weeks of Tummy Tuck/lipo, my Abdomen Began Swelling and Continues to Increase. Should I Worry? (photo)

Right after surgery not much swelling, everything great. surgery was on nov 14. Before Christmas I noticed swelling in my abdomen. I measured my abdomen and it was 35". today, it measures 38". I saw the doctor and he said it should go down and to see him in a month. He did not look happy. He said it is unusual for swelling to begin after 5 weeks. I am very scared. Is there a way to see if the suture broke without opening my abodomen again? MRI or x ray? He said no seroma. Help please

Doctor Answers 9

Increased swelling 5 weeks after tummy tuck

Your tummy does look too swollen for 5 weeks after surgery. it must be either a seroma or the sutures broke. An ultrasound would be able to tell if there was any fluid beneath the skin.  Easy and painless test. Check in again with your surgeon. Calmly discuss your concerns again.

Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Increased Swelling 5 Weeks after Tummy Tuck

If you are having a concern, contact your plastic surgeon again. If he is not responsive, it is OK to ask for a second opinion. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Only your surgeon knows the answer

It is definitely uncommon to have swelling increase after several weeks of surgery.  Unfortunately, only your surgeon on exam and recollection of the surgery can answer this question.  I hope they are a board certified plastic surgeon. 

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

5 weeks and swelling

It is very difficult to make an assessment without an exam..  It is probably best to follow closely with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

It is very difficult to give you good advice given that  I have a “snapshot” of your entire history. In other words, your plastic surgeon is in a much better position to advise you. Assuming he is a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon,  I would suggest close follow-up with him.  At this point, direct physical examination is most helpful;  imaging probably will not provide useful information.

In the event that you need additional reassurance,  a  second opinion may be indicated;  if so, it would be in your best interest to take your preoperative pictures  and as much information as possible with you to the second opinion consultation.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Increased swelling at 5 weeks.

The occurrence of increased swelling at five weeks is unusual and most likely represents a seroma increasing in size.  Your surgeon should at least try to drain this with a needle to make the diagnosis.  Likely you will need a drain reinserted.  That should be done sooner rather than later.

Kenneth L. Stein, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

After 5 Weeks of Tummy Tuck/lipo, my Abdomen Began Swelling and Continues to Increase. Should I Worry? (photo)

Based upon the photos you should seek another opinion in person. Seroma can occur 5 weeks after a TT. Best to be evaluated. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Swollen Abdomen after Abdominoplasty

If you truly are more swollen now than a few weeks after surgery and are having no other symptoms besides swelling, it is possible that you have a large diffuse seroma.  I have sometimes seen these where it is difficult to tell by palpation in patients with thick tissue.  An ultrasound will easily determine if one is present.  If so, it will need to be drained.

Don W. Griffin, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Progressive abdominal swelling after an abdominoplasty

The abdomen appears to be increasing with these serial photos.  I would  persist in asking your Plastic Surgeon to further evaluate these changes.  Either a progressive seroma is being seen here, or the imbricating  sutures may have pulled through the fascial tightening that is part of a traditional abdominoplasty.  Further review with an ultrasound or CT scan should be pursued.


Good luck to you.


Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon

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.