One Month Post Mini Tummy Tuck, Upper Abdomen is Huge? (photo)

I had my mini tummy tuck with lipo and muscle repair done exactly one month ago and my results dont look good. My upper abdomen looks bloated, not like swelling but actually bloated and is popped out like as though I am 5 months pregnant. My upper abdomen was pretty flat before but now it looks crazy. What could be wrong ? My PS is very nice person and I see him tomorrow. Hopefully I will know why tomorrow but thought I will ask the experts here. Thanks, Mia

Doctor Answers 6

Mini tuck and upper abdominal fullness

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Remember that you had a mini tuck.  You and your ps decided to approach the lower abdomen only.  This is what the mini tuck does.  With or without your muscles of the lower abdomen tightened with your minituck, there would be some improvement with the tissue removed from the lower abdomen.  Now you are seeing the "relative" nature of the improved lower abdomen compared to the upper.

  You may not have evaluated the remaining upper abdomen totally in trying to understand how it would look after the lower tissue was removed. 

  It is time to discuss your feelings with your ps and get the options to help improve your total abdominal contouring.  Be open with your thoughts and you will come up with the right ideas.

Bulging of upper abdomen following Mini Tummy Tuck

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 There can be more than one reason but the most common explanation is as follows:

Assuming that there was not procedure such as liposuction in the upper abdomen, the following is probably what occurred: When the muscles are tightened on the lower tummy, this compresses by pushing in the abdominal contents (e.g. your intestines and other abdominal organs). The volume has to go somewhere so if the upper muscles are not also tightened to the same tension as the lower ones they will bulge. Those patients with decreased muscle tone (non athletes) are more prone to have this occur.. A simple exam by your plastic surgeon will confirm this or identify 

Mini tummy tuck

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That is the problem with mini-tummy tucks. They often tighten the lower abdomen but do little to nothing for the upper.  If your surgeon did not tighten the upper abdominal wall, then it most likely is distended.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

One Month Post Mini Tummy Tuck, Upper Abdomen is Huge?

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Thanks for attempting to post photos. Unfortunately they are of no real help. I guess is you where not a great candidate for a mini TT with inferior muscle repair. With short time of healing and less cost the mini TT is gaining popularity. But you MUST be a GREAT candidate and that takes expert experience without regard to healing time and fees. The saying from my Plastic Surgery Professor was, "you can not steal from Peter to pay Paul." seems to apply. There are trade offs and I guess your tradeoff was not such a good one. Sorry. 

Bulging upper abdomen

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It would be helpful to see what you looked like before the surgery but assuming the bulge in the upper abdomen was not there before the surgery and nothing (liposuction etc) was done in that area, then most likely cause is the fact that you had muscle tightening done on the lower abdomen only.

For this exact reason I never perform 'partial' muscle tightening.  I either tighten the entire muscle, from the chest bone down to the bottom of the abdomen, or I don't tighten at all.  I don't believe doing only a part of the abdomen ever gives good results.  


Martin Jugenburg, MD, FRCSC

Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 517 reviews

Mini Tummy Tuck Results?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

Your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to advise you after examining you.

The most likely  cause of the “bloated” look is abdominal wall laxity  that was not addressed during  the mini tummy tuck operation.

Generally speaking, the mini tummy tuck is an  operation that  produces very limited results and is very rarely indicated. It involves a shorter incision but does not address the majority of the abdominal wall issues present for most patients who present consultation. For example, the area of skin excised is quite small. The abdominal wall musculature is addressed below the umbilicus leaving the upper number wall potentially lax. The appearance of the umbilicus is not necessarily addressed sufficiently.

For most patients who have had pregnancies and/or weight loss a full abdominoplasty is necessary to achieve the desired results. Of course, there are downsides (including a longer scar and probably a longer recovery time) but for most patients the benefits outweigh the downsides. It is not unusual to see patients who've had mini tummy tuck  surgery present for  revisionary surgery.

Best wishes.

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.