Is This Just Swelling? Will I Ever Be Flatter?

I had surgery 6 weeks ago. I was really flat the first few days. After about a week, I pulled my drains bc they were always low. By the time I made it to my PS (about 5 days later), my lower abs (below my belly button from left to right) was hard as a brick. My PS said that it was fluid and that I was abnormally swollen. I've been going back weekly. I'm still draining from a hole in my incision. My lower are softening but now, my upper abs are getn big?? I see flab when I sit and stand??

Doctor Answers 6

Possible seroma

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Continue to follow closely with your plastic surgeon. Pl relay your concerns to him/her so that he may evaluate you for a possible seroma.

Tummy Tuck Drainage and Fluid Collection

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     A large fluid collection should be drained to avoid a chronic seroma cavity, which can be deforming to the overall contours.  I would followup with your plastic surgeon.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Swelling 6 weeks after Tummy Tuck

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Your history, especially with the early drain pull, is concerning for a seroma, which is an abnormal fluid collection that can develop after a tummy tuck.  Continue to follow up closely with your doctor, because if you have a seroma, he/she will need to drain it.

Drainage and swelling after a tummy tuck

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It sounds like you are doing the right thing by following closely with your doctor.  It is difficult to comment without an exam.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Is This Just Swelling? Will I Ever Be Flatter?

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Photos would help answer your question.

If the area was flat and now is not, one possible cause of some concern is the development of a seroma, or fluid collection. This is best determined by direct examination, and a call to your surgeon is the best approach. Based on some give and take over the phone, the surgeon can decide if you do indeed need to be seen.

Thanks for your question. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for the question. It is difficult to give advice without at least the aid of pictures. Having said that, it sounds as though you may have an accumulation known as a seroma or hematoma depending on the type of fluid accumulating. This may require percutaneous drainage with needle and syringe or potentially even surgical drainage and placement of another drain tube.

I would recommend close follow up with your plastic surgeon as he is in the best position to evaluate and treat during your post operative recovery. You may also want to post pictures to help in evaluating your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) result.

I hope this helps. Best of luck.

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.