Failed tummy tuck (muscle repair) or swelling? (Photo)

I'm concerned that my tummy tuck failed. I had a full TT with muscle repair and liposuction. I am 7 weeks PO right now my stomach is soft but still sensitive. Is it normal that my tummy is looking this big?

Doctor Answers 8

Tummy Tuck Failure or Swelling

Thank you very much for your question and photograph. At seven weeks’ post-op, you are still experiencing significant swelling, and this can be expected to potentially continue for six months or longer. However, without an in-person examination, it is hard to provide any more meaningful advice regarding your recovery. I recommend that you contact your operating surgeon with your concerns.


Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

#ASPS #Abdominoplasty #tummytuck

Hello Angellillah, Congratulations on your recent surgery and thank you for sharing your question about your post operative recovery and results after your surgery.  Final results can take 6-12 months for all the swelling to subside.  At our office here at CARE we actually see all of our surgery patients the very next day after surgery and then again at two weeks and beyond. We enjoy staying closely connected to our patients and enjoy giving the extra attention and service.  Your concerns are important to discuss directly with your board certified plastic surgeon.  He or she will appreciate the open communication and will want to help you. I hope this is helpful and wish you all the very best.  Sincerely, Brian S. Coan, MD, FACS
CARE Plastic Surgery

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Failed tummy tuck (muscle repair) or swelling?

It is difficult to determine based on your photos. You should continue to follow up with your surgeon who can best assess whether this is a seroma, swelling or just weakened muscle plication.

2 months post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (2 months post-po) the swelling can still be present.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.
If after six months post-op, I recommend you send us your photos again, to give you more information about how we can solve this problem.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Failed tummy tuck (muscle repair) or swelling?

It is impossibly to say at this point in your recovery. Only being 7 weeks post op, you will still have quite a bit of swelling. This swelling can last 6 months to a year. Make sure you are keeping all of you post op appointments with your surgeon and follow all of his/her instructions. 

Lawrence Bundrick, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tummy tuck at 7 weeks

First, it would be nice to see preop photos, second you are likely pretty swollen as well. Best to give it more time.

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

Failed tummy tuck (muscle repair) or swelling?

I am sorry to hear about your concerns. Online consultants will not be able to differentiate intra-abdominal adipose tissue,  muscle laxity,  residual subcutaneous adipose tissue, from persistent swelling…  


Generally speaking, 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. 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. 


Failed tummy tuck (muscle repair) or swelling?

Thank you for your question and series of photographs and I am sorry that your results have not been what you anticipated.  It is difficult without an in-person examination to determine what may be taking place.  Most commonly this is residual swelling from surgery which will spontaneously resolve but it would be important to voice your concerns to your surgeon to ensure that other issues are not taking place - discrete fluid collection, muscle laxity, or residual adipose tissue. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 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.