8mm Separation in Upper Abdomen After Tummy Tuck

I had a full tummy tuck with muscle repair and no liposuction 6 weeks ago. Im 5"2 and 90lb so my surgeon felt there was no need for lipo.

Since the day my bandages came off there has been a bulge in my upper abdomen but my lower tummy is flat. My surgeon said this is swelling or a fat deposit. I did a scan of my upper abdomen which showed a separation of muscles of 8mm and a fat deposit. Will i need another tummy tuck and muscle repair to fix this bulge? Or would lipo be enough? Pl advise.

Doctor Answers 5

Bulge in upper abdomen after tummy tuck

If your surgeon tightened the muscles all the way to the xiphoid, then all you can really do is wait.  Hopefully compression will help.

If the tightening was either not performed or performed to an area just above the belly button, or if for some reason the repair failed and sutures broke, you may require a revision; typically you would wait six months for that so tissues can soften and gain strength.

Without seeing your before pictures, it is tough to tell exactly what is going on.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Tummy Tuck Results?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

The fullness you have in the upper abdominal wall  area is either muscle laxity, adipose tissue, or seroma ( fluid collection). Exactly what is going on should be determined by direct physical examination ( examining you in the upright, supine and flexed positions).  

Depending on the diagnosis and what your appearances one year after surgery,  revisionary surgery may involve liposuction and/or additional tightening of the abdominal wall muscles.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Bulge at the superior aspect of the abdomen following a tummy tuck

At 5' 2" it is unlikely that you had a significant fat deposit at the superior aspect of the abdomen. From your photos it is more likely that this bulge either represents a muscle repair that was not adequate (or extending superior enough) or that there could have been a disruption somewhere in the postoperative course (such as from sneezing, coughing or straining). A too tight binder can sometimes cause swelling higher up in the abdomen. A physical exam could better determine the true issue here.

My recommendation would be to point this out to your plastic surgeon then give it at least 6 months to see is this area subsides in prominence and becomes acceptable in appearance. If it doesn't then surgery would be necessary to address the prominence.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Too soon to worry about your Tummy Tuck results.

It is normal to have questions for your surgeon after surgery but it is way too soon to worry about the final results. An 8 mm separation of the muscles is only less than 1/2" so this is irrelevant. Follow your surgeons advice and let everything heal over the next 3 months. At that time it will be possible to determine if there is anything to gain with further surgery.

Dr. Mosher

Mathew C. Mosher, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

8mm Separation in Upper Abdomen After Tummy Tuck

Thanks for the photos. Very hard to be sure but it appears as a loss of repair in the superior abdomen. Only therapy is re operation. Sorry. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.