Will this bulge go away on its own? What could the bulge be? If not on its own, how could I get it to go away? (Photo)

I am a little over 2 months post op tummy tuck muscle repair I've had this persistent bulge that has yet to flatten I've had an exam my muscle repair is fine my doctor checked for fluid there was none an it's upsetting because I don't know what it is or if it's apart of my final result

Doctor Answers 7

Bulge after tummy tuck surgery?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. As you likely know, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource for precise diagnosis...

Generally speaking, an abdominal wall "bulge" 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. 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. Separation of the abdominal wall plication is very unusual.


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.


Best wishes.

Post op tummy tuck bulge

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You are still in the early phase of recovery. It can take 6 months to 1 year to achieve your final results from a tummy tuck. Give it time, your results so far look good, you still can have some swelling even after 2 months post op. Follow up with your surgeon id you still have concerns.

Aras Tijunelis, MD
Libertyville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Bulge following tummy tuck

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First off you need to wait 6 months following your procedure for the swelling to resolve. This could be just swelling, fat, or recurrent laxity of the abdominal wall. Your surgeon will be able to figure this out once you are totally healed.

Bulge upper abdomen

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Very nice initial result! Give it time for the swelling to resolve. It's common to have a persistent upper abdominal bulge. After 3-6 months you can address it with your surgeon. Sometimes a little touch up liposuction in the area can soften the bulge. Ultimately though, if a bulge persists it's due to one of two things; fat around your organs pushing out or tightness of the fascia (muscle covering) where it attaches to your rib cage and is restricted from being tightened. 

You didn't include preoperative photos, but your results are nice. 


David Shifrin, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Will this bulge go away on its own?

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Your results look really good. I think that you are noticing this area because the rest of your tummy is so flat. It can take 6 to 12 months for all of the swelling to resolve, so be patient. Liposuction can improve it if you have excess fat in that area once the swelling is gone.

Bulge after abdominoplasty

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Overall your result looks good thus far. The upper abdominal bulge may be in part a limitation of the ability to get the muscle repair tight from top to bottom due to intra abdominal fat.  If the lower abdominal repair is a little tighter than the upper, then it can appear as a bulge in the upper abdomen.  Sometimes some supplemental liposuction in that area can improve it, and at two months out there may still be some swelling.  Without an exam and additional time for recovery, it is difficult to say what your best option is, but there is still time for it to improve ( I have seen swelling improve for up to 6 months)

Epigastric Fullness

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Hi Brook, Congratulations on your surgery I think it will turn out fabulously. The fullness is very common especially in an African-American woman. It is related to the site sway in your lower back. This pushes the upper belly forward. It is especially noticeable at this point because a little extra intestinal gas is making it look worse. It typically goes away in another few months. Keep working on your fitness as this is the only way to speed up the resolution. Below is an example of one of my patients that had the same issue and it resolved just fine. Max Gouverne

Max Gouverne, MD
Corpus Christi Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 36 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.