What Can I Do, So My Tummy Tuck Pouch Can Go Away Sooner? (photo)

Got a Full Tummy Tuck 5 weeks ago, and this pouch just seems to be getting bigger. My Doctor just removed the Drainage on Thursday; don't know it that has anything to do with my pouch. I'm still wearing my girdles day/night.

Doctor Answers 14

Persistent fullness of lower tummy after tummy tuck surgery

Often times, after tummy tuck surgery and especially in the early post operative period (the first 4-6 weeks), you may experience continued fullness/swelling of your soft tissues. This can be related to swelling within the tissue (edema) or perhaps development of fluid ( seroma) after removal of post operative drains. As you heal and are more active, upper abdominal swelling can start to settle in the lower abdominal region and this can be the area that stays swollen the longest. It will be important for you to follow-up with your plastic surgeon and allow them to follow this area closely.

Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

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. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. 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.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Pouch after tummy tuck

It's really impossible to tell why you have the pouch. it's most likely just swelling but check with your doctor to make sure it's not a seroma. Also make sure that your clothes and girdle are not "pinching" you skin to make a fold.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Looks like recurrent seroma

Hard to tell completely from picture, but my guess is that your seroma has returned.  Please see your plastic surgeon.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Increasing pouch after tummy tuck

As everyone has indicated, your photos seem to indicate that a seroma has formed.  See your plastic surgeon in followup and possible drainage.  Best of luck!

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy tuck pouch?

From your pictures you may have a fluid collection (seroma), excess skin, or ruptured muscle plication. You should see your surgeon for examination and advice.

Frank Agullo, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 140 reviews

Abdominal pouch after tummy tuck

I would recommend that you seek advice from your surgeon - it may be that you have a collection of fluid underneath the abdominal flap, called a seroma. Sometimes this needs to be drained because your body is unable to absorb it as it is collecting. 

Michelle A. Spring, MD, FACS
Missoula Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy pooch one month post-op

The history you give and the photograph are consistent with a fluid pocket beneath the skin.  Your surgeon can tell you by your exam, most likely, whether you have a seroma.  He or she will also be able to drain it easily.

This is not an emergency, but should be seen and treated sooner than later.  Good luck.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

You may have seroma

The shape and history of swelling post drainage removal is consistent with seroma. This may require drain insertion or aspiration depending on the amount of fluid.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Pouch after tummy tuck often seroma

The pouch after four weeks in your photo is probably a fluid collection called a seroma. You mentioned that your surgeon drained it on one occasion, and it looks like it needs attention again.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 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.