I had a tummy tuck 4 weeks ago and my top stomach is still bulging?

Doctor Answers 6

Bulge after tummy tuck

There are several possibilities for this bulge. Firstly, it could be related to a seroma(or fluid collection), which is a common issue after tummy tuck. This issue is better addressed sooner rather than later, so you should contact your surgeon to rule it out.. The next possibility is normal postoperative swelling, which usually takes 3-6 months to resolve. The last possibility is that this bulge is the intra-abdominal fat which coats your organs, and is not removed with a tummy tuck nor is corrected by muscle tightening. This fat becomes an issue when your BMI nears 30 or above. 


Rochester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Upper abdomen bulge

At 4 weeks the upper fullness may be related to swelling.  If you think it might be fluid (seroma) then it might need to be aspirated. Best to be seen in person.

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

A Bulge During Tummy Tuck Healing

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

You can return to full activity without restrictions at 6 weeks.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

If you find that you are worried at all about the healing process it would be best to schedule a follow-up with your surgeon to make sure that everything is moving along well. Best of luck to you.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

4 weeks post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (4 weeks post-po) the swelling is normal.
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. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Bulging after tummy tuck?

I'm sorry to hear about the concerns you have after tummy tuck surgery.  As you likely know, your plastic surgeon will be your best resource for precise diagnosis...


Generally speaking, an abdominal wall "bulge" 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.

 

 

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. 

I had a tummy tuck 4 weeks ago and my top stomach is still bulging?

In some cases if muscle repair was not done above the belly button or if the sutures have pulled out the upper abdomen above the belly button can protrude or bulge.  Please see your surgeon for an examination.

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.