I am 6.5 months PO from Mommy Makeover. After exercise I experience major swelling after and I'm wondering, is this normal?

I am generally very satisfied with my MM results. I do still experience different degrees of swelling after even very light exercise. I have a roll over the top of my TT scar that is definitely noticeable even when I'm not swollen. It becomes very defined after exercise or sex. Is this normal? I've called my PS and they said I could experience swelling up to 1 year PO. They also suggested that I try wearing my CG for a few days. But I am very uncomfortable and mildly concerned.

Doctor Answers 7

Healing & Activity after a Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.    

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #Healing will continue for 2-3 months following your #Augmentation #Mastopexy procedure. There may be some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation will be abnormal. Scars will also be changing. But, it can be up to one year see your final result. Your doctor may require you to move or massage the implants within the breast pockets during the #postoperative period. #Textured implants do not require breast massage. You will be informed about this at your post-operative visit. 
Also, the two breasts commonly heal quite differently so #asymmetry is not unusual. One breast may swell more, feel more uncomfortable, or have a different initial shape. After complete #healing, they will be more similar and natural. You must have patience, but if this causes concern, ask questions of the doctor or the nursing staff.
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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Swelling can persist for many months after mommy makeover.

What your plastic surgeon tells you is absolutely true. Without a photograph it's impossible to comment more specifically on your situation. As long as the overall trend is favorable from month-to-month leave things alone.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

I am 6.5 months PO from Mommy Makeover. After exercise I experience major swelling after and I'm wondering, is this normal?

Congratulations on having undergone the mommy makeover surgery. Yes, significant swelling after exercise may occur after these operations;  this may persist  during the first year  postoperatively, sometimes longer, after tummy tuck surgery (it will dissipate once the lymphatic/venous drainage system has returned back to normal function). Sometimes, the use of a compressive garment may be helpful; hopefully, you will find one that you can utilize without  it being too much of a nuisance. Best wishes.

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

Swelling post-operatively

You can definitely experience swelling for up to one year after a mommy makeover. You could try to wear your CG while exercising and see if that helps. It should just be temporary. If you become more concerned or develop serious signs of infection contact your board certified plastic surgeon immediately or visit the closest emergency room. I believe you will heal fine!

Thank you for your question and happy healing!

Melinda Lirag Lacerna-Kimbrell, MD, FACS
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 74 reviews


Swelling is common at this point in your recovery and activity can definitely make it worse, but usually just temporarily.  It is not a sign of anything wrong.  At this point, it is common for the area above the scar to become swollen as this is the area that prone to swelling due to the interruption of lymphatic channels that normally drain this fluid.  Compression and massage may help.  This will get better over time and eventually not be a problem anymore. 

Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

Dear Cunninla,

Swelling after exercise is quite common after a tummy tuck.  This can last up to a year after the surgery as it takes a while for you to make new connections for drainage of lymph tissue across the scar.  You will find that it will improve slowly over the next six months.  Compression garments help control the swelling in the mean time. 

Luis H. Macias, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Prolonged Postop Swelling

Thank you for your question.  Prolonged swelling of the trunk after combined procedures is quite common.   This is certainly the case when liposuction is combined with a tummy tuck or body lift.  It is caused by disruption of the lymphatic drainage system, is cyclical an worsened by exercise.  A compression garment is usually effective in managing the swelling until it resolves on its own.  If the swelling is of the extremity, then lymphedema is a consideration.   Discuss this matter further with your surgeon. Best wishes on your recovery.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 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.