How much swelling is normal post tummy tuck?

I'm 10 days post op and im concerned with the amount of swelling. I get so swollen that I can't keep on my compression garment and it's hard to get comfortable enough to sleep. Im bigger than was before the surgery. Which is discouraging b/c I looked at other 1 week post op reviews and they are smaller and flatter then before surgery. Both drains are out but still leaking so I wear a pad over them. the nurse said it was Normal.

Doctor Answers 15

Swelling is highly variable after an abdominoplasty or tummy tuck.

Swelling can vary a great deal in patients who have had an abdominoplasty. However one possibility is the collection of blood or fluid in the space between the abdominal flap and abdominal wall. This should be checked on by your surgeon.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

How much swelling is normal post tummy tuck?

Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. What you describe is commonly encountered after this procedure. Patients will like their “flatness” immediately after surgery; then, these same patients are disappointed for a period of time once swelling of the tissues occurs. In the longer term (this may take several months and even up to one year), the swelling dissipates and the skin of the abdominal wall "redrapes"  over the smaller underlying  musculoskeletal framework (where the abdominal wall muscles have been brought together again in the midline).

Sometimes, fluid accumulations (seroma or hematoma)  may cause the appearance of increased swelling; best to have your plastic surgeon evaluate you if you have noticed significant changes and/or have concerns. I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with long-term.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews


Thank you for your question. It is very normal to have swelling in this phase of the process. It is very important to keep close communication with your surgeon. Best of luck

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

It is normal to have swelling after a tummy tuck.  But given your still having problems it would be very wise to call your surgeon and make sure he is aware of what's going on and takes a look at you. Best of luck.

William J. Hedden, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 319 reviews

10 days post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (10 days post-po) the swelling have to be minimal.
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.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emma Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 256 reviews


Hello dear, thanks for your post. Is really normal to be swollen after a tummy tuck. Some of my patients have had success in reducing the swelling by having lymphatic drainage massage treatments and using the compression garment.  Be patient-it takes a good 3 months for swelling to go down. But I recommend to follow you PS instructions. Good luck :)

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 398 reviews

Tummy tuck and swelling

It is quite common for swelling to occur after surgery. Most swelling will come down in 4 months or so. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

How much swelling is normal post tummy tuck?

Thank you for the question. It is difficult to advice you without seeing photos and even more important an exam. It is not unusual to have swelling for 3-6 months post op. It is best to wear a garment which can help. I would have your board certified plastic surgeon to examine you to rule out a seroma. Also if you are constipated you will have distention of the abdomen. Good luck.

Himansu Shah, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Post-op swelling

Thanks for your inquiry, but without an exam it is impossible to advise.  You may have normal swelling or could have a seroma, a fluid collection.  I know you saw the nurse, but maybe ask if you can be seen by the surgeon to confirm. Good Luck.  

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 197 reviews

How much swelling is normal post tummy tuck?

Thank you for sharing your question and congratulations on your surgery.  Without a full series of photographs or an in-person examination it is difficult to offer definite advice as swelling is common after surgery.  In most cases this is swelling that will spontaneously resolve, and can be assisted with a well-fitting compression garment, but it may be wise to rule out other factors, such as a discrete fluid collection, termed a seroma.  Voice your concerns to your surgeon, they are in the best position to provide reassurance. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 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.