Will lines on flanks as a result of a tummy tuck go away after swelling is reduced? (Photos)

I am 4 weeks post op today and I have noticed that my flanks are not smooth. I realize it's early and swelling is still otesent but I have noticed horizontal lines on my flanks that I didn't notice earlier. Is this a result of swelling or is it going to remain like this even after swelling has subsided?

Doctor Answers 7

Uneveness on flanks should get better

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Your question is a very common concern many people have after liposuction. For the first several weeks patients will have noticeable swelling, bruising and discomfort. After about  the first month most of the swelling is gone and people feel better, but still notice irregularities in their skin and may feel hard areas under the skin. It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months to get the final result from liposuction. Your flank lines may be from snug fitting clothes over still swollen tissue. I feel that with time, those lines should resolve. Your results at 4 weeks look very good.

Lines on flanks should resolve

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Thanks for your question and the photo. It's hard to appreciate the lines you are referring to, but my guess is that they are from the compression garment pressing into the swollen skin. This should all resolve with time. Best of Luck and congrats on your surgery. Looks great.

M. Scott Haydon, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Will lines on flanks as a result of a tummy tuck go away after swelling is reduced?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photograph.  Most lines created after a tummy tuck will smooth in time as your swelling resolves and the tissues relax.  It is difficult to accurately assess your results in the picture but you should see improvement in time.  Be sure that the lines are also not being created by any compression garment you may be using.  Ultimately your surgeon can provide you with the best reassurances so voice your concerns to them at your follow up appointments.  Best wishes.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Too early to judge outcome

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At this point in your recovery, it is much too soon to be worried about the outcome.  It takes time for the swelling to resolve.  It may be 6 months or more before the shape has reached its final look.  Be patient.   Watch your physical activity. Everyone is different.

Swelling, some advices:

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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.

Kind regards,

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 372 reviews

Will the lines on my flank go away?

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Thank you for your question. You are still early in your recovery and still have swelling.  Many little irregularities do smooth out over time as the swelling resolves. You do have to be careful that your compression garment is not creating uneven pressure. Sometimes the garment can make things uneven. To prevent this we use a silicone backed foam padding to even the pressure distribution. Make sure that you have follow up with you plastic surgeon and ask them these specific questions.

Lines on your flanks 1 month post-op may or may not be due to swelling that will resolve

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It's very hard to tell precisely what's going on from just this view.  I'm actually having trouble discerning exactly which linear form is your scar and which is the additional line on your flank, even when I zoom, so everything said here is speculative at best.  It is very early in the overall postoperative course right now, so everything going on with your tissues is very likely to change.  This may take several months to finalize with a tummy tuck, especially in a male, whose tissues are typically more dense and fibrous in this area, thus they tend to hold on to edema fluid and thickening awhile longer.  These lines may be due to uneven distribution of that edema fluid in your tissues, especially if there is some folding caused by positioning or garments, or both.  One thing that makes me think that this may be a permanent demarcation to some degree, though, is the fact that you had a natural crease on your hip in that general area before the surgery.  When we do these operations, we have to consider that not only will loose skin and subcutaneous tissue be pulled down from above, but the same kind movement will occur upward in the tissues below the incision as well.  This will perforce cause any creases, lines, or other irregularities to be displaced upward.  Sometimes those pre-existing creases arise as a result of areas of relative fixation of our superficial tissues to the underlying deeper fascia, or covering of the muscle layer.  Unless these zones of fixation are weakened or released internally by the surgeon, they can also limit, or direct how tissues in those areas will move as well.  It looks as though something like this might have happened in your case with the creases that appear to have been there preoperatively in the area around your hip.   That is an area that is known to have some of these zones of fixation.  Thus, the movement of the tissues with the tummy tuck may have caused some alteration in tension, orientation, or position of exiting creases or irregularities in the skin, and this is evident postoperatively.  This is something that can also change with time, even though it may not be as predictable as the resolution of simple edema, or swelling, therefore, I still recommend patience and observation at this point.  Sometimes techniques such as manual lymphatic drainage - a special type of massage, Endermologie - a suction roller type skin treatment, or stretching exercises for the tissues may be of benefit.  But, I wouldn't suggest doing anything aggressive right now, nor would I become discouraged as it is way too early for any of that.  At this point you should just discuss your concerns honestly with your surgeon and maintain open communication between you.  He or she may suggest some of the things I've mentioned, or maybe even something different that I haven't thought of, so be sure to follow all of your own surgeon's recommendations closely, as he or she is the one on the scene who can really tell what is going on.  Best of luck to you.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

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.