Why do I have a big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck? (Photo)

I had a Tummy tuck 5 months ago but have a large bulge. The last time I went to the dr he said to come back in 2 months. He said it might be fat from pulling the skin down and he might have to do some lipo. I still can't fit into the jeans I wore before surgery. Before surgery I never had cellulite on my legs. Now they are covered and so are my arms. I've been working out everyday. I can feel a 6 pack under the skin. When you get to the bulge it feels like rough mashed potatoes.

Doctor Answers 8

Lipo After Tummy Tuck

Dear Santoranch,

You may not recall this, but if you find a friend or spouse and look at their stomach you will notice that the thickness of the fat just above the privates is much thinner than below the bellybutton. That is what you are seeing now. During a tummy tuck, we usually try to undercut that superior flap to make it closer in thickness so you do not have that stepoff. You are likely going to require liposuction after the swelling has gone down, and six months is usually adequate enough time. That should help the transition there. Every practice is different, but in my own practice I do not charge a surgeon’s fee for the year after a tummy tuck if this is necessary but only the cost of supplies and anesthesia. Talk it over with your surgeon.

I hope this has been helpful.

Robert D. Wilcox, MD

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Why do I have a big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck?

It is hard to give you a specific answer without knowing more about your situation. From the one view that you gave us, it appears that you have some excess fat and possibly loose skin below your belly button. At 5 months most of the swelling should be gone, so this is likely something that will not improve much more. Excess fat after a tummy tuck is likely is you have a lot of excess fat pre-op (as aggressive liposuction at the time of tummy tuck can be dangerous). Most PS recommend that you have a normal BMI at the time of tummy tuck. I am not sure if this was the case in your situation. If it was then usually your PS will let you now pre-op that you may need liposuction post op. You will likely need a revision to not only liposuction that excess fat but also to cut out any loose skin left behind. You should definitely talk to you PS.

Big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck

Thank you for your question. It look like you have some skin and fatty tissue above the incision. Please discuss this with your PS as there are options available to correct this.

Why do I have a big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question.  It does appear that there is excess fatty tissue and skin at the lower end of your abdominal flap.  Please discuss this issue with your surgeon as there are corrective options like liposuction or tummy tuck revision.  Good luck.

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Why do I have a big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question and series of photographs and I am sorry that your results have not been what you anticipated. It is difficult without an in-person examination to determine what may be taking place. Most commonly this is residual swelling from surgery which will spontaneously resolve but it would be important to voice your concerns to your surgeon to ensure that other issues are not taking place - discrete fluid collection, muscle laxity, skin thickness mismatch, or residual adipose tissue.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Bulge above an incision of tummy tuck.

It looks like you may have some mismatch or excess of upper abdominal flap fat. A liposuction or abdominoplasty revision maybe in order. I would discuss the matter closely with your surgeon. 

It is imperative that you seek the advice of a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has extensive experience in tummy tuck / abdominoplasty.

I wish you the best.

Dr. Gabbay.

Joubin Gabbay, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Why do I have a big bulge above my incision after 5 months PO tummy tuck?


Thank you for your question. In my opinion, the bulge that you have is a mismatch of the fat from above the incision to that below the incision. The best way to treat this is liposuction of the fat to improve the contour. You may also have a residual rectus diastasis which could cause the bulge that you describe when you are sitting. This is typically tightened during surgery but if the upper abdomen was tightened more than the lower abdomen, it can make your lower abdomen bulge especially when sitting. 

Talk to your surgeon or seek a second opinion from a board certified plastic surgeon in your area. 

Good luck!

Jennifer Boll, MD
Tempe Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Bulge after tummy tuck

 Thank you for your picture. In my opinion, it still seems like you have excess skin/fat and an incision appears to be too high. It may be best for you to have revision of this area either with a combination of liposuction or a secondary tummy tuck. 

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.