Bulge above belly button, 4 moths post TT, hernia repair, lipo. (photos)

After TT I developed a seroma after drains were removed and needed it drained 2 times, first time it was nearly 100cc, next time maybe 20 or 30cc. Dr didn't think it needed drained again. In that same spot I've developed an annoying bulge. Could it be related to seroma? Or possible hernia or just extra fat? It's very frustrating, I looked better at 4weeks post op,then I do now at 4 months post op. I can't see my belly button when I look down because of the bulge.

Doctor Answers 4

Bulge above belly button, 4 moths post TT, hernia repair, lipo.

You are right that the bulge could represent one of many different things, and the only way to really sort this out is to be examined.

Bulge Above Belly Button 4 Months Post-Op

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.

It is likely that there is just some continued swelling, but since there are plenty of follow-up visits built into the price of your procedure it is best to see your surgeon when questions like this arise. The area can be examined in order to make sure that the healing process is moving along well. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Bulge above belly button, 4 moths post TT, hernia repair, lipo.

I'm sorry to hear about the concerns you have after tummy tuck surgery.  As you likely know, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource for precise diagnosis...

Generally speaking, an abdominal wall "bulge" 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.

 

 

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. 

Seroma?

Thanks for your inquiry and pictures.  Without an exam it is hard to advise.  You are right that it could be a seroma, hernia, or fat, etc.  You may need imaging to decipher.  Please discuss your concern with your 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.