Bulge Above Belly Button - 2.5 Months Post Full Tummy Tuck, Muscle Repair & Lipo

Since the bandages came off I noticed upper abdomen bulge, mostly just above my BB. Lower abdomen has gone down over the last couple of weeks but no change on the top. I dont wake up flat since I have not been wearing my CG. I know when I swell (this area gets even bigger, which is at the end of the day. I know this is normal. The upper part feels like muscles but lower feels different, much softer. PS said muscles looked fine & did not feel ultrasound was needed. Would appreciate ur opinions.

Doctor Answers 5

"Bulge" after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

The fullness you have in the upper abdominal wall  area is either muscle laxity, adipose tissue, or seroma ( fluid collection). Exactly what is going on should be determined by direct physical examination ( examining you in the upright, supine and flexed positions). Radiologic evaluation is probably unnecessary.

Best wishes.

Bulge above belly button after tummy tuck

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Although swelling and scar tissue thickening is not completely resolved at 2.5 months after a tummy tuck, this would not account for the degree of upper tummy fullness we are seeing in your photos.  Possibilities are the following:

1.  Persistent fat. many plastic surgeons including myself do not think it is safe to do major fat removal at the time of a tummy tuck as it could injure the blood supply to the skin and cause devastating skin loss, scarring, etc.  If a patient has too much fat, they are not going to get a good result from a tummy tuck, so they either need to lose weight first or consider a first stage liposuction to reduce the fat and a second stage tummy tuck a few months later.

2.  If you only tighten the lower fascia/muscles, then the upper tummy (if loose) will bulge more.  Bulging like this if due to fascia/muscle laxity could result from not tightening the upper fascia, under-tightening the fascia of the upper tummy, or a repair that came undone (sutures pulled apart).

3.  Fluid collection (or seroma).

Ultrasound and physical exam should be able to distinguish between these and determine what is accounting for this degree of protrusion.

Radiographic imaging would better clarify the problem

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Radiographic imaging with ultrasound or CT scan would better clarify the problem. If this is causing you distress, it might be worthwhile discussing it with your surgeon.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Upper abdominal fullness after a tummy tuck

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You have more fullness than I would like to see.  It is either fat, fluid, or loose muscles.  If you only had a mini tummy tuck, it would be fat and loose muscles or both.  If a full TT was done, it could also be fluid.  An ultrasound would tell which it is and is harmless and easy to do.  If it is fluid, it should be drained, if it is fat, liposuction later may help, if it is loose muscles, a redo tummy tuck will probably be needed.  None of this substitutes for an in person exam.

Tummy Tuck

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You can take up to 4-6 months for all the edema to go away and other swelling.  Be patient and listen to your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and advice.  We all heal at different rates and will be healed when the body is ready.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.