Almost 5 Months Post Tummy Tuck and a Swollen Lower Abdomen. Is It Normal? (photo)

A month after TT all was good. On my 2 month post op visit the Dr thought I could have fluids so he drained but no water. Soon will be 5 months after TT but I'm more swollen on my mons than before. Evenings are worse. From belly up is fine. I wonder if fluid could accumulate even after Dr checked for fluids on the 2 month. Is it normal? When I lay down, it's pretty OK. I'm still wearing a girdle as it “holds” the swollen area. I will start lymphatic drainage massage next week as I heard it's good.

Doctor Answers 8

Almost 5 Months Post Tummy Tuck and a Swollen Lower Abdomen. Is It Normal?

Great posting of your photos, thanks. Issue of residual proturbence of lower abdomen has the following possible causes or etiologies; 1. seroma/hematoma fluids, 2. failed lower muscle repair, 3. prolapsed bladder/uterus, 4. combination. Start with a soft tissue scan for fluids or hernias or diastasis. Next consider re exploration surgical. Good luck. 

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Almost 5 Months Post Tummy Tuck and a Swollen Lower Abdomen. Is It Normal?

     Your pictures suggest either fluid collection or, more likely, return of laxity of abdominal wall if plication was performed.   I think an exam would be able to fairly easily sort the problem out.  From there, the collection could be drained or the plication could be attempted again.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

I suggest you return to your surgeon for further evaluation.  Make sure they "repaired your loose stomach muscles" during surgery, and if they did that this repair is still intact.  You also want to make sure that there truly is no seroma that needs  to be addressed.  Best wishes!

Brian Howard, MD (retired)
Alpharetta Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Significant Swelling 5 Months after a Tummy Tuck

The swelling you have at this point is not normal.  Discuss this with your doctor.  You may have a fluid collection called a seroma.  This can be drained in the office fairly easily.  However, late collections can get a thick area of scar tissue around them and form a mass called a pseudocyst.  This unfortunately, requires surgery.  Finally, it is unclear whether your fascial wall was plicated or has become disrupted.  This too would require revisional surgery.  Lymphatic massage is not going to help art this point, talk to your surgeon. Good Luck!

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Flattening of the abdomen after pregnancy most often requires repair of the abdominal wall at the time of abdominoplasty.

The incision in the photograph looks fairly short. I wonder if your abdominoplasty included repair of the fascia. Check with your surgeon to see if this was part of the operation. If it was it may need re-repair.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

When does swelling go after Abdominoplasty?

Swelling should subside regularly each month and by 5 to 6 months be 80 % there.   You are not 80% so what is wrong?   I agree with Dr Mark Schusterman that your rectus repair may have fallen apart.  It happens.  Any recollection of a ripping sensation.  Some claim they can even hear it.   This is the most likely event.   The rectus  diastasis must be repaired with 2 to 4 layers of very strong sutures.  If you have gained a lot of weight this could be a causation of your appearance so jump on the scale daily.   If you are eating a ton  of salt (Sodium Chloride) this too could cause your appearance, I suppose.  If it is sodium, it should vary greatly.   All these and more could be  causations.  Go and visit your doctor and have a one or one in depth discussion.  My Best,   Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Lower abdominal swelling 5 months after tummy tuck

You may have some persistent swelling but I doubt that is all that is going on.  From your series of photos I would be concerned that the suture imbrication repair of the abdominal wall has come apart.  Your surgeon should be able to discuss that with you.

Mark A. Schusterman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Almost 5 Months Post Tummy Tuck and a Swollen Lower Abdomen.

I can certainly see why you would be disappointed in the outcome so far. There may be fluid, but this will not be resolved online. Set up an appointment with your surgeon for evaluation and to see how to get this closer to both your expectations. 

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.