I Have an Uneven Waistline After my Tummy Tuck? (photo)

I am 9 days post op, ( and I realize that this is early) but each day that goes by I see a pronounced difference between the left and right side of my waistline. (horrible). Is this permanent? Is there something that can be done to fix this? what causes this?

Doctor Answers 9

The easiest fix if needed will be liposuction

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Thank you for the question and photo.  It is early and more changes are likely to occur.  The most common source for asymmetry for you will likely be fat which can be repaired by liposuction.  Of course pre op asymmetry must be evaluated and the possibility of asymmetric abdominal wall tightening or other issues can still be present.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta 

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Time is the Great Equalizer

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The other experts are correct that swelling and fluid build up may be a factor.  My question to you is did you have a full tummy tuck?  I do not see any sutures in the belly button.  Time will be your ally

Uneven 9 days after tummy tuck!

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At 9 days, you may have fluid on one side and not the other, and every patient swells more on one side than the other. Your photograph shows a good early result (certainly not horrible!), and I would gently advise taking a deep breath and give yourself time to heal, soften, and settle things as they certainly will over the next 6-12 months.

Don't be too hard on your surgeon (yet); keep in contact to ensure you don't have a collection of fluid or blood that can be aspirated. Otherwise, wear your binder, stay out of ultraviolet exposure as your scars mature, and watch diet and exercise (follow your surgeon's recommendations).

I really think you will turn out just fine, but you and your surgeon have the best visibility as to how things are really healing! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Tummy Tuck post op

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It is way to early to make any determination about the difference between your left and right side.  Healing from a tummy tuck can take weeks.  Be sure to wear your compression garment, and follow up with your Plastic Surgeon for the best results.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Uneven waistline after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question and for the photo. It is fairly early in the recovery course from your tummy tuck, and while you are starting to see some results, your belly will continue to evolve and change. It is far to early to know the final result, and things like fluid, swelling, scar tissue, ect. will continue to change over the next couple of weeks. 

I would suggest that you try to be patient during this time. I realize that it is difficult, and that concern during the healing process is quite normal However, Many of these issues resolve on their own as the belly heals. If there are any questions or concerns, you should contact your plastic surgeon and have them evaluate your belly.

Best of luck with the rest of your recovery.

Jeff Rockmore

9 Days Post TT - Why Are My Sides Uneven?

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Congratulations.  It looks like you picked a great plastic surgeon and that he did a very aesthetic TT on you.  As to why the two sides are uneven, the answer is at this stage, they are never even. 

I find the most common reason for significant difference of the two sides at the waistline in a tummy tuck is that they were uneven before surgery, but the fat and extra skin camouflaged the uneveness.  Very possibly, you have some level of scoliosis.  To check this, have someone take a black magic marker and draw along the most prominent part of the vertebrae from between your shoulders down to your hip bone.  I'll bet the line curves to the side with the bigger dent. 

If scoliosis if not the answer, then asymmetric swelling is the second most common cause.  In my practice, I would use therapeutic ultrasound (the kind physical therapists use for sore muscles) to decrease the swelling at your waistline. 

Give yourself a break and give your surgeon a break.  It appears you have an incredible result.  Just give time, time, and don't forget, there is a depression built in to the first couple weeks after cosmetic surgery.  During this depression, most of my patients feel they have chosen the wrong surgeon and the surgery went bad.  By the third week, they think maybe I know what I am doing.  By the fourth week, they think I could be a genius.  Wait a couple weeks and see where your head is at. 

N Uneven Waistline After my Tummy Tuck

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Thanks for your question and for the photo. Although I see no pre-op photo, what I do see looks like an excellent result.

Asymmetry is common, especially early on. Swelling is usually not even from one side to another. The commonest cause for post-op asymmetry is pre-op asymmetry, and without a pre-op photo, I cannot judge that. 

You seem to be rather hard on yourself and on your surgeon. Patience is your best ally, allowing for the swelling to dissipate, and this a a 6 month process. If it persists, an actual physical exam will be needed to determine the fix, but most likely it would be liposuction.

Best wishes. 


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

I Have an Uneven Waistline After my Tummy Tuck?

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No one body is "perfectly symmetrical"! So I see the wait indentations are differing. Only additional lipo can correct after 6 months post op. 

Concerned about Waistline Asymmetry after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question and picture.

 As you know, it is much too early to evaluate the results of your procedure. At this point, there are many variables involved that can cause asymmetry of the abdominal wall or waistline area.  Factors such as swelling and/or other types of fluid buildup may be involved. This may  be especially true if liposuctioning of the waistline was done during the time of the procedure.

 At least viewing your picture, I do not see anything “horrible”.  I would suggest that you continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon and express your questions/concerns in a calm  fashion understanding that significant emotional “ups and downs” are very frequent after this type of surgery.

 Hopefully you will be very please with the end results of surgery;  I would suggest that you do not evaluate these results on a daily basis.

 Best wishes.

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.