How Can I Help my Swelling Go Down After Tummy Tuck??

I had a tummy tuck 1 week ago. I have swelling mainly on my sides and above the scar line. How can I assist the swelling to go down? Is rest the answer? or should I be taking light walks? Can any foods help? (At the moment I keep thinking of how good it looked post op before the swelling!) Thanks very much

Doctor Answers 8

How Can I Help my Swelling Go Down After Tummy Tuck?Answer:

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There isn’t much you can do to speed along swelling but you can make it last longer!!! Avoid any bouncing or twisting for several weeks…Don’t try and exercise too soon…It will make you swell more. Just do gentle things, no cleaning out the garage!!! Swelling takes about 4-6 weeks and shaping takes about 6 months..But even at 3 months you may still see some swelling or indentation from a belt…Very common…

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Some temporary swelling is normal

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Some temporary swelling is normal and simply an indication of your body healing.  Wearing your compression garment tightly and perhaps keeping your salt intake lower are really the only things that you can do at this time.  I would avoid medication that makes you loose fluid since it is unnecessary and unhealthy.  It will get better.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck Surgery

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Thank you for your question.

There is no quick way to reduce swelling after tummy tuck surgery.  Certainly, walking will help the swelling process. Some surgeons advocate massage of the area (please check with your surgeon to see his/her recommendations).

Swelling can take months to subside and it can take up to 1 year for skin redraping to occur.  

With time, the swelling will reduce and you will see the results.

I hope this helps.

Accelerating reduction of swelling following a tummy tuck

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A compressive garment for a few weeks may help to reduce swelling slightly quicker than if nothing is done at all - and it can provide some sense of comfort and support in addition. However, there are risks as well.

Expect that there will actually be some increased swelling over the next several weeks which will subsequently subside. It can take 4 -6 months for a majority of the swelling to resolve but really up to a year for maximal resolution. Rest and laying in bed is not a prudent option.

Make sure that you explicitly follow the instructions of your plastic surgeon and ask him/her any questions that you may have regarding care, activities, restrictions, etc.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


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The wound healing process following abdominoplasty lasts for over a year.Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year.The procedure inevitably interrupts the abdominal lymphatic drainage and this time to re-establish itself.
Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on activity levels.It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time.


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Swelling is a normal aspect of any surgical procedure. This can be asymmetric. There are also other causes of swelling such as a fluid collection or a hematoma. If there are questions you should see your plastic surgeon.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Swelling post Tummy Tuck

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Some temporary swelling is common. Each surgeon has different guidelines for post operative care. Consult with your surgeon as knows the scope of the surgery and the specifics about you.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling improves with time

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Swelling after tummy tuck is normal, varies from patient to patient and may take months to fully resolve.  In my practice, I encourage patients to move around gently in the first two weeks and to expect that swelling will be worse in the lower abdomen than the upper and worse at night after being upright all day than first thing in the morning.  Gentle walks are good if you are comfortable.  I will have patients with moderate swelling start wearing a high waisted compression panty at about 2 weeks.  But mostly, swelling just takes time.  If you have redness and increased pain, call your doctor.  Swelling associated with these symptoms may signal infection.  You should ask your surgeon what he or she recommends, but at one week, swelling is normal

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 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.