Stomach isn't flat and swelling. (photos)

I had a breast augmentation and extended tummy tuck 5 days ago and the upper part of my legs is quite swollen and my stomach is not flat yet. Is this normal?

Doctor Answers 9

Stomach isn't flat and swelling.

Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. Yes, some swelling of the entire abdominal wall and pubic area is quite commonly seen at this stage. Whether or not your spelling is "normal" will depend on your physical examination. There are types of swelling (such as fluid accumulation secondary to serum or blood) that would not be considered normal and that may be treated. Therefore, best to follow up with your plastic surgeon who will always be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, treatment advice, and/or meaningful reassurance. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Swelling after 5 days

Hi Lucyv2 and thanks for your questions! It is completely normal that you are experiencing major swelling. You are in the early process of healing and will continue to swell for up to a year. Please give it time and follow your surgeon's post-op instructions for maximum results. I wish you the best of luck!

Peter Newen, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Swelling 5 days post-op

It is 100% absolutely normal to be swollen at this point.  You are very, very early in the recovery period.  Believe it or not, it can take a full year before all swelling is completely gone.  Just be patient and good luck!

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Tummy Tuck Concern While Healing From a Mommy Makeover

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.

As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Mommy makeover recovery

Congratulations on your surgery.  You are very early in the recovery process and can expect swelling to be present for a few months yet.  Be sure to keep all follow up appointments with your surgeon so that your progress in recovery can be monitored.  So far everything appears to be fine.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Stomach and leg swelling five days after an extended tummy tuck?

I think you are expecting to rapid and to perfect a recovery if you are dissatisfied five days after your extensive procedure.  Be patient and allow six months for swelling to resolve.  Your early result appears to be very good but you have months of observation until your final result is apparent.

Jon A Perlman M.D., FACS
Diplomate, American Board of Plastic Surgery
Member, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)
ABC-TV Extreme Makeover Surgeon
Beverly Hills, California

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Horizontal excess following tummy tuck

You are going to need a revision of your tummy tuck, actually lateral thigh and buttocks tuck (lower body lift) in order to be able to remove the horizontal excess; this prevents you from having a central vertical incision line.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Post Op Swelling?

Thank you for your question. You should expect to have swelling for three to six months following tummy tuck surgery. Use of a properly fitted compression garment will help decrease the length and severity of the post-operative swelling. As the swelling decreases, the contour of your abdomen, flanks, and hips will dramatically improve. Please follow your plastic surgeons specific advice regarding your level of physical activity. Hope this helps and good luck with your recovery.

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Mommy make-over - not seeing expected results on day 5

Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over.

  • You look fantastic for day 5.
  • You are very swollen - it will take 6 months for all swelling to subside.
  • Let your surgeon know of your concerns so you can get the support that you need during recovery.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 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.