13 Weeks Post Op, Swelling After Cardio Sessions?

13 weeks ago I had mini tummy tuck with muscle repair and lipo to the flanks. About four weeks ago I started doing an hour of cardio 6 days a week. I look pudgy instead of flat like I did at week six post op. could my workouts be causing me to swell up again? If yes, should I stop working out so often? It's the same workout I did before surgery. Shouldn't most of my swelling be down by this point? I'm starting to lose motivation on achieving my toned midsection.

Doctor Answers 7

Swelling after Mini-Tummy Tuck

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Don't loose your motivation!  It could definitely be swelling... and it's not really a medical problem.  It is temporary.  The lymphatic channels that normally remove fluid from the tissues are "damaged" during surgery and have to regenerate.  This takes time.  So although you are healed enough to work out - you still keep that swelling in your tissues longer than you normally would after working out.  This will eventually stop and in the meantime you will be on your way to achieving your goal of great abs!  Good luck!

13 Weeks after Minitummy Tuck and Flanks Liposuction

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   In the absence of fluid collection, this swelling following working out is a normal body response.  The reestablishment of lymphovascular equilibrium following major surgery may take 6 months to a year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Swelling with Workout After Tummy Tuck

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Even as late as you are out from the tummy tuck, you can have some intermittent swelling with workouts.  As long as the swelling resolves in between workouts, I would not be concerned as this will improve over the next 6 months as your lymphatic system recovers from the surgery.  If the swelling does not resolve after a few days, then I would call your surgeon for an examination.

13 Weeks Post Op, Swelling After Cardio Sessions

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This could be swelling, but also could be fluid collection (seroma), the latter of which needs some attention. I would suggest a call to your surgeon who can decide over the phone based on some give and take conversation whether you should be seen. I would pass the question on work out to your surgeon--I hate discouraging healthy activities over the internet!

Thanks for your question, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after cardio is common post-tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question. It is common after tummy tuck to have increased swelling after vigorous physical workouts. It is a combination of increased blood flow into the skin and reduced drainage out. Continue your workouts and your swelling should decrease with time as your blood vessels and drainage system return to normal.

Swelling after tummy tuck.

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It is certainly possible that you are swelling after your workouts. If the change is truly temporary (flat before, swollen after) then this is likely the case. However, keep an eye on your weight. More than once I've seen a patient gain a few pounds after a tummy tuck (going out to eat more, thinking that weight gain won't happen in the abdomen). If you believe that the cardio workouts are really the issue, try wearing a compression type garment (Spanks) during your workouts. By six months, any swelling should really have abated.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

13 weeks after tummy tuck

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Please keep exercising... if your pudginess is transient like I suspect it is, it should improve with time.  You are out enough away from your surgery that you are not anticipated to have any problems with resuming your activities.  And if your pudginess doesn't resolve, you should talk to your surgeon about this.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 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.