9 weeks post-op mini Tummy Tuck & Lipo to abdomen/ flanks, do I still have a lot of swelling or am I gaining weight back?(photo)

I am "bigger" now than I was at 4 weeks post-op. I wear the compression wrap during workouts and it leaves indents around my abdomen and there is still a small amount of bruising on my flanks. Am I gaining weight again and/or bloated? Should I still be wearing compression garments during strenuous workouts? I am extremely satisfied with my results 4 weeks p/o but feel that my results have been decreasing since - added "puffiness". If I am still swollen, what can I do to decrease swelling? Thank you!

Doctor Answers 8

Post-op Swelling After Tummy Tuck

The swelling you are experiencing is normal for your stage of recovery. A surgical procedure is a trauma to your body, and the course of healing takes many weeks. With an increase in activity you will see greater swelling in the area of injury, even occasionally surpassing the swelling that occurs immediately after surgery. This is very much like injuring your ankle, and then walking on it. The increase in activity will cause greater swelling in the injured ankle. The activity induced swelling should become less of a problem 3 to 6 months after surgery. I can assure you that what you are experiencing is normal, and will improve, but I understand that it is hard to be patient.


Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Increased swelling

Thank you for the pictures. It looks like that you do have some swelling and nine weeks that you didn't have at four weeks. I would minimize my exercise and get to use your compression garment.  

9 weeks post-op mini Tummy Tuck & Lipo to abdomen/ flanks, do I still have a lot of swelling or am I gaining weight back

Thank you for you for your question.  You have a nice result and noticeable difference for 4 weeks.  Your very early in your recovery from Tummy tuck/ liposuction. Final results take 6-12 months. This surgery in particular leads to swelling in the suprapubic area and lower abdomen. The swelling will take the longest amount of time to go away, but rest assured it will flatten. You should start to see a difference in the next few weeks.  Discuss your concerns with your Plastic Surgeon. Best Wishes

Tummy tuck swelling at 9 weeks

Thank you for your question. Swelling after a tummy tuck procedure typically decreases with every week that passes, with the majority of the swelling gone by six weeks. Lymphatic massage during the first couple weeks can help tremendously to accelerate the swelling reduction process.

From that point, I often tell patients that they can go about freely to exercise or engage in strenuous activity and lifting. Increased activity, however, may prolong how long the  remaining swelling takes to subside. The swelling may also be more intermittent at this stage and related to the degree of activity in any given day. This may last between the three - six month mark. I would visit with your plastic surgeon regularly to monitor your progress.

9 weeks post-op mini Tummy Tuck & Lipo to abdomen/ flanks, do I still have a lot of swelling or am I gaining weight back?

“Swelling” at 9 weeks after tummy tuck surgery may or may not be normal; it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.   Generally speaking, 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. The use of garments may be helpful,  especially as activity/exercise increases.

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)  for complete skin redraping  to occur.

 Again, let your plastic surgeon know about the questions/concerns you have. Best wishes.

Am I gaining weight or am I swollen

This is a common question asked after tummy tuck surgery as well as after liposuction. Most likely you are going through swelling phases that correlate with increased activity, more strenuous activity, on an off usage of your garment or using an inadequate garment during exercises. This could also correlate with water accumulation and edema associated with the menstrual cycle. It is also conceivable that you may have gained a few pounds over the last month. Make sure to visit your surgeon to rule out any possibility of a seroma which may have to be aspirated. 

S. Daniel Golshani, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Swelling at 9 weeks after a tummy tuck

It is hard to say without an exam, but some of the fullness may be swelling. An exam is critical, and I would suggest seeing your surgeon to be properly evaluated.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

9 weeks post-op mini Tummy Tuck & Lipo to abdomen/ flanks, do I still have a lot of swelling or am I gaining weight back?

Most of my patients see their final result after 6 months and there are some days with more swelling than others. Ask you plastic surgeon about using a gentle compression garment. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago 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.