I have a bulge (spare tire) above my belly button after a full tummy tuck 5 months ago. Will Lipo help?

I had extremely lax abdominal muscles with loose skin that were repaired with a tummy tuck and Lipo on my flanks 5 months ago. My PS removed as much fat in the upper abdomen as possible. When I relax my muscles, I look 3 months pregnant. I have held my stomach in for so many years that I still do that. I look better (holding it in) than before surgery but the upper bulge is noticeable in pants with a waistband. Is Lipo the answer? Shouldn't my stomach be flatter when I don't hold it in?

Doctor Answers 4

Still swollen after five months

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Five months after surgery you should see significant improvement. If you do see improvement by next month then possibly a revision would be needed and maybe the answer. Physical examination will give you the best and most accurate recommendations.

Remaining bulge above the belly button after 5 months.

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  • Good medical photos might help show the nature of your post surgical problem. 
  • There is no substitute for a visit back to your plastic surgeon to re-evaluate your abdominal wall. 
  • Liposuction of the upper abdomen performed at the time of your tummy tuck is quite limited; too much lipo can disturb the blood vessels going to your remaining tummy skin and result in tissue loss.  Your surgeon's Re-examination will help determine the best treatment options.
In our practice, we prefer to touch up scars and or perform supplemental liposuction after 6-9 months of healing, if these procedures will help the patient.

Best Regards,

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Upper Abdomen Concern

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In order to develop a treatment plan to address your specific concern, a physical examination would be required as there could be many different causes for this protrusion. If the bulge is due to exclusively excess fat deposits overlying the abdominal muscle, you could be a candidate for additional liposuction of that region; however, if the protrusion is due to intraabdominal fat, this cannot be addressed surgically. Intraabdominal fat is the fat that surrounds the loops of bowel within the abdominal cavity, and this type of fat can only be minimized through diet and exercise as it is too dangerous to address in a surgical setting. Yet another possible reason for this bulge is that you could have residual muscle wall laxity in the upper abdomen. In order to address your concerns in a definitive fashion, I would recommend discussing this with your surgeon. 

Bulge after a Tummy Tuck

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A physical examination is necessary to determine what's causing the bulge . The liposuction will only help if the bulge is filled with fat. 

Yily De Los Santos, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 1,744 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.