Did my muscle repair become undone? Or is this swelling 1 month post op (Photos)

Doctor Answers 7

Did my muscle repair become undone? Or is this swelling 1 month post op

There will definitely be swelling at 1 month after surgery.  You should be examined to determine the condition of the muscle.

As another surgeon stated: You would have to be seen in person. If you have concerns speak to your surgeon.

It is always best to ask these questions of your chosen surgeon as recommendations may be different.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Muscle repair

It takes at least 6 months to truly assess the results of a tummy tuck as prolonged swelling is quite common. How flat your abdomen is after the swelling subsides will be determined by your anatomy, including how much weight you carry on the inside. While muscle repairs can come undone, this is unusual. Your best bet is to discuss your concerns with your surgeon.

Mark Sisco, MD
Northbrook Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Muscle issue or swelling

You would have to be seen in person. The likely answer is swelling.  If you have concerns speak to your surgeon. Best of luck.

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

Did my muscle repair become undone?

Thanks for your question. from the photo your contour seems smooth and at one month you likely still have a lot of swelling. Let your PS guide you through this. When all's said and done the abdomen may still not be board flat even if the muscle repair is intact. Flatness is related to how much weight you carry inside you as well. The abdomen will  stretch and find an equilibrium even with a good muscle repair.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Post Op Swelling?

Thank you for your question. You should expect to have swelling for three to six months following tummy tuck surgery. Use of a properly fitted compression garment will help decrease the length and severity of the post-operative swelling. As the swelling decreases, the contour of your abdomen, flanks, and hips will dramatically improve. Please follow your plastic surgeons specific advice regarding your level of physical activity. Hope this helps and good luck with your recovery.

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Muscles become undone?

Thanks so much for this question. Usually at 1 month from surgery, there's quite a bit of swelling still and so I would not necessarily say the muscle repair has been undone just based on your current appearance. I suggest you have your plastic surgeon evaluate your abdomen and give you the appropriate diagnosis. In addition to swelling, there may be a possibility some fluid trapped under the skin (seroma) which can create a similar results as seen in the photos. I'm sure your PS will know what to do once he sees you. Best, Dr. ALDO :)

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Did my muscle repair become undone? Or is this swelling 1 month post op

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.

In general, it would take a significant amount of pressure to “tear" the muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery. This event would likely be associated with significant discomfort. A change in your physical examination, such as increased swelling, bleeding, a new onset "bulge" would also be likely.


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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 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.