How long after a tummy tuck does all of the swelling go away?

It's been two weeks since my tummy tuck and I tried on my old pants. I am still the same size and I expected to be a size or two lower. Could this be just due to swelling?

Doctor Answers 8

Tummy Tuck Post-Op Swelling

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

While it may take several months for the swelling to reduce completely, there is always the option to visit your surgeon for a follow-up if you find yourself concerned at all. Good luck.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

There are two types of fluid collections that can occur after a tummy tuck.  One is swelling that is like water in a sponge.  This will need to resolve over time and may take 3-6 months to do so completely.  This other would be a fluid collection that would be similar to a small puddle.  This may need to be removed if it is large enough.  Your surgeon should be able to determine which kind of fluid is present so be certain to keep your follow-up appointments and discuss your concerns with him/her.

Richard Kofkoff, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

How long after a tummy tuck does all of the swelling go away?

Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure.


Longer-term swelling after tummy tuck surgery is not uncommon;  swelling may persist for many months and even up to one year after the procedure is performed. Often, patients will report that the swelling increases as their activity level increases and gets worse later on in the day. Sometimes, the use of compressive garments may be helpful to control the edema. 


 I would suggest that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon, who will be in the best position to assess your situation and provide you with specific recommendations. 


Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term care.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Swelling After a Tummy Tuck

It is way too soon to see your final result, it can take up to 6 months! I have my patients wear a compression garment for 6 weeks and wait 6 weeks before resuming any formal type exercise. I know it is hard to be patient, but you will see improvement over the next few weeks and months. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Tummy tuck and swelling

It can take 6 months to a year for the swelling to subside. Be patient with the results. Good luck....

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Abdominoplasty/tummy surgery

Indeed, the swelling is present most notably in the first 4-6 weeks and then over 4-6 months' time decreases;

scars typically change and soften/fade over a year

Samuel Lin, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

The short answer is yes. At two weeks you are certainly swollen - perhaps to the point where you look the same as before your surgery.  The swelling comes out slowly, and I usually wait three months before considering any revisions. But if you look under a microscope there a swelling in the tissues for up to a year.

Hope this helps. 

Rob Sigal, MD

Robert K. Sigal, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

How long after a tummy tuck does all of the swelling go away?

It may take 6 months or longer after surgery before all of the swelling is gone.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 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.