Swelling or extra tissue/fat/skin after Tummy Tuck? (photos)

I am 7 weeks post op from a tummy tuck with muscle repair. I was flat as a board at 2 weeks and was loving it!!! I am still flat standing up but when I sit down, I have a roll over the sides of my jeans and it's really embarassing because it's visible through any kind of semi-fitted shirt. I am 5'11" and was 165 day of surgery. I am 168 as I write this, so no weight gain to speak of. At my 6 week check, my surgeon told me I was "puffy" and I needed to be patient. Thoughts/advice?

Doctor Answers 12

7 weeks can still have a lot of swelling left


At 7 weeks, be patient, especially since the first few days after surgery you saw the flatness.  You are likely to have some swelling that developed, and that takes up to six months to resolve.

keep follow ups with your doctor.

Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Swelling from tummy tuck

 It appears from your photos that your abdominoplasty result is quite nice. It's okay at seven weeks to still be a little  "puffy". I would have my patients wait at least six months after surgery to decide if a small amount of touchup liposuction would be beneficial. Good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

HI Love_Gardening,

 I agree that you have a very nice result form your tummy tuck. It is normal to have some swelling , sometimes even for several months after a tummy tuck. When the swelling goes down, you might talk to your plastic surgeon about a little lipo in the hips area.
 You should watch your weight because even a 3 pound weight gain can cause swelling in certain areas.
It would be best for you to see your plastic surgeon and go over your concerns in a few weeks, if the swelling does not go down as much as you expect.

Dr. Christine Rodgers

Christine Rodgers, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Post tummy tuck swelling

Hello, thanks for your question.

You are still very early in the recovery process, so having swelling in your soft tissues is likely. As long as your surgeon has examined you and doesn't find any evidence of a seroma (fluid collection) then I would suggest giving it more time.

A tummy tuck can often not address the upper abdomen as well as the lower and so sitting may cause you to recognize some excess fat tissue around the upper abdomen that gets pushed downward. This can often be addressed with liposuction, but it would be best to wait at least 6 months after tummy tuck to see what your final result will be like. 

From the photos, it looks like you will have a really great result. Best of luck in the rest of your healing. 

Ross Blagg, M.D. 

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Swelling versus excess fat after tummy tuck

Thank you for the question and the photos.  At seven weeks there is still quite a bit of swelling to be expected following your tummy tuck.  The fullness or roll that you see when you sit down at the top edge of your pants may be swelling and/or excess fat.  Once all the swelling is gone you can entertain the possibility of liposuction to the abdomen and flank area to additionally thin out that area.  I hope this helps.  

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Normal swelling after tummy tuck/abdominoplasty

From your photos, I think you're still very much in the recovery phase of your operation. You have several months to go before you get even close to your final results. I think you'll be very pleased with your overall results, as I expect things to slim down quite a bit. Be patient, you will only get better!

Joubin Gabbay, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Swelling or extra tissue/fat/skin after tummy tuck?

Hi, there.
Congratulations on your tummy tuck.
From your photos, you have a good result from the procedure.
You are still early in your recovery process. 
You may experience fluctuating swelling for 3-6 months.  
If you are still concerned about your contour at 6 months, talk with your plastic surgeon.  You may need liposuction. Once you are cleared by your plastic surgeon, you should also return to exercising.
Best regards.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

7 weeks post tummy tuck

Swelling can last for several months after a tummy tuck so you will need to be patient before judging your final results.  Please continue to follow up with your PS.

Anh Lee, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Swelling or extra tissue/fat/skin after Tummy Tuck?

  Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. Your concerns are understandable but I think that your plastic surgeon has given you good advice. It may take several additional months and even up to one year before swelling fully resolves and for your skin to "bounce back" completely. In other words: patience and time will be your best friends here.

Continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon who will always be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, advice, and/or meaningful reassurance. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Swelling or extra tissue/fat/skin after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for your question and submitting your photos. From your pre-op photos it is clear that you have quite a bit of excess skin in your upper and lower abdomen. Your post operative photos are very impressive and shows a nice even scar line. As for the roll over your pants, this is residual skin laxity that is very difficult to remove secondary to the location of this skin over your flanks. A more comprehensive body lift may help eliminate this roll at the expense of a circumferential scar.

Robert Najera, MD
Frisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.