I am a 54 type 2 diabetic, swelling after 6 months of surgery. Abdominoplasty and repairs to muscle wall, is this normal?(photo)

I have considerable swelling above the incision line on my right and left side. I suffer from stiffness in that area, difficulty laying in bed and when I turn over it's not painful but certainly a discomfort. The same occurs when I try to stand up after sitting for more than 2 hours. I don't think that these are the results I anticipated. My belly is still extended. PS states it can take a year. How long does the lymphatic system take to repair?

Doctor Answers 8

Post op TT

Hi and thanks for the question and photos. I suggest going for a second opinion. The amount of distension that you currently have may not be normal. Your best option is to be examined by a board certified PS. Best of Luck- Dr. Hardy...

Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Swelling at 6 months

This may be swelling, but it may be a serum at this point. You might want to consider an ultrasound to see if there is fluid and a capsule.  Swelling will fluctuate with time and with activity. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Persistent swelling after Tummy tuck

It does appear you still have swelling. However its been only 2 months since the surgery. It does take time for the lymphatic vessles to repair and cross the scar to give you normal drainge. At this time the swelling will be reduced. It can take 6 months or so. Try sleeping completely flat with a pillow or two under your bottom, this will help the swelling track toward your breasts and back to your heart. If you had liposuction at the same time it can prolong the swelling. Also its always good to look at your before and after pictures to see how far you have come.

Eric Weiss MD

Eric Weiss, MD, FACS
Orange Park Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

I am a 54 type 2 diabetic, swelling after 6 months of surgery. Abdominoplasty and repairs to muscle wall, is this normal?

Please seek a scan or US to rule out seroma/hematoma residual in abdomen. Also seek in person paid second opinions.

Swelling after 6 months of Abdominoplasty surgery...

Generally speaking, it may take up to one year, and in some cases even longer, for lymphatics and venous  drainage systems to function normally.  Although I understand your concerns, time and patience may be your "best friends". Evaluate the outcome of the procedure performed one year or so post op.  Best wishes.

Swelling after Tummy Tuck

Swelling after a tummy tuck can sometimes last 6 months-1year, so be patient. Some patients will have persistent protuberance after a tummy tuck for a few reasons that can be seen on exam before the surgery. For example, if a person has a thick central fatty layer above the belly button, it can't be thinned too much during surgery for circulation reasons, so it remains the same thickness even though it is pulled down over a greater surface area. Some patients also have what is called "intraabdominal" fat that cause protuberance. In these cases, when muscles are tightened, there is no way for sutures (think of cotton thread or yarn)  to hold all that outward tension in. So some residual bulging is to be expected in those types of patients after a tummy tuck. If you discuss with your plastic surgeon, he or she will be able to tell you what to expect as far as your final outcome as you continue to heal over the next 6 months. Also, maintain your weight,as any small amounts of weight gain will cause more protuberance.

After tummy tuck

It's important to look at your pictures before surgery and see the change now.  After 6 months, alot of swelling has subsided but there can still be more depending on the individual.  Scar tissue can sometimes contract leaving the need for correction.  I recommend to stay in touch with your surgeon to evaluate this further.

John McFate, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews


It can take up to a year for all the swelling to go away.  You are right, the lymphatics must also repair to drain fluid from your legs.  Diabetes makes the healing process harder and you should tightly control your blood sugar.  Ultimately, after all the swelling is gone, you could elect to have more skin removed. 

Tyler C. Street, MD
Napa Plastic Surgeon

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.