Excess Swelling After Tummy Tuck?

Day 10 after tummy tuck I've grown bigger than what I was when I was discharged from the hospital the swelling has made me look big . Is this normal

Doctor Answers 5

Excess Swelling After Tummy Tuck?

Hard to comment on whether this is normal without some photos. Swelling can increase in the days after surgery. But another possible cause is fluid--blood (hematoma) or serum (seroma), and if that is present, it should be addressed. So a call to your surgeon is in order. 

All the best. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Excessive swelling after abdominoplasty should be investigated for possible fluid collection.

Certainly there can be significant swelling after abdominoplasty. Nevertheless, the collection of fluid between the flap in the abdominal wall is a possibility and should be investigated.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

There are a few causes of swelling after a tummy tuck.  Sometimes it is just normal swelling and will subside.  It is possible to have a small hematoma (collection of blood) or a seroma (collection of fluid) under the abdominal flap.  You didn't mention if you still had drains and if they were functioning.  Not all plastic surgeons use drains and even if you have them they may not be working.

Don't be afraid to call your plastic surgeon and express your concerns.  We all want you to have a good results and be happy with your care.  If we don't know you are worried about something we can't either reassure you or correct the problem.  Good luck to you.

Al Rosenthal, MD
Lawrenceville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Post Tummy Tuck Swelling?

Thank you for your question. Swelling is not uncommon, and usually takes several weeks to resolve.  Have your surgeon evaluate you and be sure you are not accumulating fluid. I hope this helps.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.
As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.
Abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:
1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,500 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.