Help Me to Understand Lymphodemia After Tummy Tuck. Is my Swelling Abnormal?

4 weeks out i am swollen 24/7 w/no change day and night. I feel small fluid-like movement in abdomen when i walk. Swelling is concentrated in lower abdomen and pubic. Painful! surgeon didn't have me measure cc of fluid in JPs. Just removed them 7 days post op. but they clogged so little fluid in JPs when he saw me. My flat tummy already was swelling in the lower left abdomen and worse after that. Ultrasound & CAT showed seroma w/lymphocytes too small to drain. What is wrong? What should I do?

Doctor Answers 4

No need to worry.

Hello and first & foremost, no need to worry. The best thing to do is to go back to your PS and have him/her examine you for a possible needle drainage if the seroma enlarges or is persistent.  Swelling from procedures such as a TT often persists until 2-3 months post-operative. Fluid should not be present in a large quantity thus the needs for the drains. Whatever small fluid that persists should be reabsorbed. I would recommend that you continue to wear your abdominal support for another 2-3 weeks to help provide even pressure to your surgical sites. Also, follow up with your surgeon for the best advise.


Best of Luck.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Swelling is normal after a tummy tuck as is lymphedema

At four weeks post abdominoplasty your swelling should be starting to subside.  It generally takes 3 to 6 months for it to completely resolve.  There is no specific time schedule for each individual.  Gentle massage and time is about all you can do at this point. If it seems unusual to you then it is time to consult with your plastic surgeon.  Massage can help, at least temporarily, remove some of the swelling. Think of your scar as a dam.  The fluid is trapped above the level of your scar.  It takes at least 3 months for the lymphatic channels to hook up across the scar and to drain to the lymph nodes in your groin.  If you have a seroma you would feel a water baggy type sensation when you move from side to side.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

Swelling may take several months to resolve after a tummy tuck.  So, I would wait until then before coming to any final conclusions about your results.

Tummy Tuck Swelling

Swelling 4 weeks after a tummy tuck is quite normal. Small seromas are easily managed with needle aspiration if they are large enough and others are absorbed by the body. You should discuss your concerns further with your surgeon. Good luck on your recovery.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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