"Dangerous" Swelling during and after surgery.

Looking at MM or TT. Delivered babies via c section and gained 10-15lbs in fluid throughout body during delivery. Took 2 weeks to get it all out. Not sure why it happened - was told a few reasons (1) body is in survival mode (2) reaction to anethesia (3) Low iron. This is concerning to me when I think of sitting on an OR table for 3+ hours. What/ are the dangers of having/accumulating too much fluid? How is it controlled/monitored?

Doctor Answers 7

Very Concerned About Swelling After Mommy Makeover

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Most likely you are experiencing a lot swelling and inflammation. After all, a Mommy Makeover is a major procedure. Healing after the  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake.  Healing varies per person and will continue for 2-3 months for the early period. This includes some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation in the breasts may also be abnormal and scars will be evolve. Tingling, burning or shooting pains in the breasts will disappear with time and should not alarm you. It is simply a result of the regeneration of your sensory nerves. If these sensations cause pain, repeated, local self-massage per your surgeon's permission may help.

However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Also, the purpose of the post-procedure #garment is to provide some gentle #support and to reduce swelling following a #TummyTuck or #Abdominoplasty. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. Patients wear the #elastic garment for several weeks after surgery, as directed by their doctor. Some choose to wear it longer for several months for comfort.

Fluid Retention with Surgery in Melbourne, FL.

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Regarding your question about fluid retention after surgery, it is expected that the body will retain fluid for a period of time after a surgical procedure.  Your body will naturally filter this out and eliminate it normally in most circumstances.  You may want to check with your previous physicians to make sure there were no unusual circumstances in your prior situation that would need to be addressed before your next procedure.  I would mention it to your board-certified plastic surgeon as well.  I hope this information is helpful to you.  Best of luck!

Fluid Retention with Surgery

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In general, fluid retention is not an issue with a MM or TT. However, with your history I would be hesitant to have surgery until the details of your fluid retention are understood. If it was a normal side effect of pregnancy then you could probably proceed. There are some medical conditions that cause fluid retention that involve the heart or kidneys so this shouldn't be taken lightly. Confer with your doctors and make sure you let your surgeon know once you decide to have surgery.

Dr derby

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Thank you for your question. I would contact your gynecologist and the anesthesiologist  to see if anything very unusual happened during the last C section.And it is also important to mention to your plastic surgeon. Best of luck

Post op swelling

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Hi KSC17
It is normal after the trauma of surgery and childbirth for the body to retain fluid, which usually stays for about 10 days to two weeks.Swelling in and of itself is not usually "dangerous" in healthy people.  I would  check with your OB-GYN to see if you had an unusual reaction that should be looked into before more surgery, just to be safe.
Good luck.

Mommy make-over - how much swelling?

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Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over.
  • After pregnancy and after surgery, our bodies will tend to hold on to a lot fluid.
  • Whether your fluid retention after delivery was dangerous or abnormal, only your obstetrician can say.
  • If it was abnormal, your surgeon will probably want you evaluated and cleared before surgery.
  • But after any surgery, we can gain lots of weight in fluid that slowly subsides.
  • This is a normal biologic process.
  • So I suggest you first check with your obstetrician as to whether your fluid accumulation affected your health and was abnormal, or of a kind typically seen after pregnancy with C section delivery.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS


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Excessive fluid accumulation as you describe would be rare in MM or TT given proper fluid management which is the norm. It would be prudent for your surgeon to know more about the details of your prior case.

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.