What's wrong with my Tummy Tuck? (Photo)

I am 5 weeks post op tummy tuck and thigh lift today (as you may recall..I made a post when I was a few days out about drainage). this pouch right above my incision is driving me crazy...is this normal? I saw my dr last week and he said it was just swelling but for it to be localized in one spot is just weird. This is my second tummy tuck this year. The first one I had all the lipo done..this second one was a result of a "donut" around my belly button...I cannot go through this again!

Doctor Answers 10

Post Op Tummy Tuck Questions

Thank you for sharing your story.  Your fullness could be attributed to standard post-operative swelling in which it would be (especially if you are wearing recommended post-op compression garments) relatively flat in the morning and then get fuller as the day progresses.  If it is a seroma, or more consolidated collection of fluid under your abdominal flap, this can feel like a “water balloon” under your skin can reveal a fluid wave when palpated.  If it is a seroma, this will need to be drained and closely managed as they can often recur or cause infection if left untreated.  I recommend evaluation by a board certified plastic surgeon to quickly evaluate you to recommend how to proceed.  Good Luck! 

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

1 month post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (1 month post-po) the swelling is normal
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.
If after six months post-op, I recommend you send us your photos again, to give you more information about how we can solve this problem.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 256 reviews

Swelling Period after Tummy Tuck

Most patients will be placed in an abdominal binder, which they will wear the first week. There is usually a fair amount of swelling and the binder should be opened several times a day so that there are no pressure points. After the first 7 to 10 days the patient is placed in an elastic garment for compression over the next six weeks. You can return to full activity without restrictions at 6 weeks.

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.

While it is likely that this swelling still remains and will for a little while longer, you also have the right to visit your surgeon for another follow-up if you find yourself concerned or worried about healing. You would be able to have the surgeon examine the area for proper healing progress. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

What's Wrong With Tummy Tuck?

Your swelling is either lymphatic fluid in the tissue which will slowly resolve over several months or a seroma. If you look flatter when you first get up then get more swollen throughout the day, you are more likely to have lymphatic swelling. Seromas tend to stay swollen and don't fluctuate much with activity.

I don't really understand exactly what you had done from your description, but you may indeed need another surgery to correct this if it does not improve with time. 

Don W. Griffin, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 72 reviews


It appears you have either a fluid collection, remaining excess tissue, or significant swelling after surgery.  I would advise you to follow up with your surgeon to determine which of these is responsible, as the treatment will depend on the diagnosis.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Ali Mosharrafa

Ali Mosharrafa, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Please send your before pictures

The results of your surgery is not typical tummy tuck results and your before pictures may provide some clues about your surgery. The best option would be to see a board certified plastic surgeon for evaluation. 

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

What's wrong with my Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question. It may be residual swelling with some skin. At this time you just have to wait few more weeks and re evaluate in 3 months later. Please follow instructions from your PS. Good luck

Ven Erella, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

What's wrong with my Tummy Tuck?

Well, your outcome is certainly not the standard full tummy tuck result. Having said that, I would not hesitate to re-do the tummy tuck which will result in the smooth, flat contour with the scar in a location below the bikini line. I would recommend multiple consults with plastic surgeons that have a good experience with tummy tucks; ask to see their before and after photos of his/her work. Thank you for the inquiry.

Joel Patrick Maier, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Tummy tuck

It appears you may have a seroma under the abdominoplasty flap. I would suggest going back to your plastic surgeon so they can evaluate you to see what is needed. 

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 319 reviews

What's wrong with my Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for sharing your question and photographs and I can see your areas of concern.  There is no substitute for an in-person examination as it is not clear what is causing this area of fullness.  Most commonly this is residual swelling from surgery which will spontaneously resolve but it would be important to ensure that other issues are not taking place - discrete fluid collection, muscle laxity, or residual adipose tissue.  Depending on your original discussion with your physician it appears that a full tummy tuck revision would be your best correction.  Be sure to see an ASPS board certified plastic surgeon for a second opinion.  Best wishes. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 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.