Will The Bulging Go Down In Time Following Muscles Repair?

I've just had my stomach muscles repaired 9 days ago. I have a large bulge at the top underneath where the stitches are. Will this bulge go down in time?

Doctor Answers 3

Bulge after Tummy Tuck

Most of the time, swelling can appear as a bulge in the first few days to weeks after a tummy tuck. However, check with your surgeon to make sure you don't have a seroma (fluid collection).

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews


Although we do not have pictures to review and we do not have a lot of information to go by, I think I know what you are asking.  If the bulge is up high in you tummy, just under your breast bone, then it is likely that it will go away.  I have seen this occur from lifting the skin which causes some swelling.  Often it resolves on its own in about 6-8 weeks.  This, however, would be a good question for your plastic surgeon.  I suspect they will be able to put your mind at ease.

Daniel Sherick, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal wall "swelling" 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. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. 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.

I hope this helps.

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