I Am 8 Days Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck but when I Touch my Belly It Feels Like a Water Bed?

I had my tummy tuck done 8 days ago and I'm recovering fine, I also had muscle plication as they were separated by 23cm. I have been wearing my binder 24/7 and showed my gp today and they are very happy with my recovery, whoever my whole stomach looks like a water bed when pressed, is this normal and is part of the recovery or is it a zero a, my drains were only in 24hrs? Thanks

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck

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Tummy Tucks are a wonderful way to contour your abdomen.  After surgery edema or swelling is present.  Also, fluid collection known as Seroma may occur.  Both may result in a feeling that is similar to touching a water bed.  In many instances, fluid collection will become progressively larger. A small collection may be treated with a simple needle aspiration.  If needle aspirations do not work or if the collection is moderate, then drains may be placed in the office. The best solution is to consult your Plastic surgeon as soon as possible.  Your Plastic Surgeon will be able to diagnose a fluid collection or post-op edema.  Best wishes!

8 day post-op from a TT, stomach feels like a waterbed

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It sounds like you have fluid collecting.  I typically leave the drains in longer than 24 hours to drain the fluid that collects from the surgery.  You should make an appointment with your PS so he can aspirate/drain it in the office.  ac

Angela Champion, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

I Am 8 Days Post Op from a Full Tummy Tuck but when I Touch my Belly It Feels Like a Water Bed?

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If it feels like a waterbed, there is likely some undrained fluid, and that would need to be addressed by your surgeon. Pass this info along and set up an office visit. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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Abdominal Seroma after Drain Removal

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This is a classic seroma after the drains are removed from a tummy tuck. It will need to be aspirated in the office and most likely several aspirations will be needed over the next few weeks until the internal fluids stop seeping from the tissues

Swelling after a tummy tuck

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Every body responds differently to surgery.  Most patients will have some swelling after a tummy tuck.  Compression garments and ice frequently help.  Some people may have more pronounced swelling of the soft tissues or a fluid collection (seroma).  Your plastic surgeon is very comfortable  taking care of all these situations.  My recommendation is to call and go in for a visit.

Melissa Johnson, MD
Springfield Plastic Surgeon

"Waterbed" appearance seems like fluid collection at 1 week post-op

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With the story you describe, you most likely have a seroma, or fluid collection under your skin.  The fact that your tummy looks like a "waterbed" is characteristic of this.  That is called a "fluid wave," and it happens because the fluid cannot be reabsorbed as fast as it is produced under the skin.  Drains are placed to help prevent this by carrying that fluid away until the body can absorb it, and usually when they are placed, they stay longer than 24 hours.  Sometimes we will use internal sutures which may make it possible to remove drains earlier or not use them at all, but you would have to ask your surgeon if this was done in your case as it is not always done by all surgeons.  Seromas aren't dangerous, but they should be drained so that the tissues will eventually heal normally and there won't be a chronic fluid collection.  Best to have your surgeon evaluate this sooner rather than later. Good luck.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

The abdominal wall can look and feel most unusual after abdominoplasty.

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Swelling can indeed give the impression of having a waterbed on the abdominal wall. This will subside. No treatment is necessary unless a seroma develops under the flap.

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.