Why is my Stomach Gradually Bulging out After my Tummy Tuck with Muscle Repair? (photo)

I am 5'8'' and weigh 125 pounds. I have always been thin and my weight never changes. I had 3 babies, all between 8.5 and 10.5 pounds. I had a big gap down the middle of my stomach. I had a tummy tuck w/ muscle repair in June. Afterwards I felt very tight and everything seemed to heal great. After about 2 months I noticed my muscles were starting to bulge out again--it is not fat or skin and my muscles have not separated. I would like to know why this could be happening.

Doctor Answers 5

Bulging After Tummy Tuck

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There are several possible causes for your bulge.  You could have a fluid collection called a seroma.  This can usually be detected by a physical exam by your surgeon and/or by an ultrasound.  If present, the fluid collection can be drained or aspirated, but sometimes requires repeat sugery to correct.  If a seroma is not present, either your muscle plication has loosened or your abdominal wall musculature is still weak causing the bulge.  I would recommend that you let your surgeon see you again to evaluate. Good Luck

Protuberance caused by either muscle relaxation or weight increase

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Your protuberant abdomen must be caused by either an increase in intra-abdominal fat (you would know this just by checking your weight) or by stretching apart of the rectus muscles, which were sutured together at the time of your surgery.  If your muscles have stretched back out, consideration may be given to a secondary tightening procedure.  This would involve another operation of course.  First step would be checking your weight to be sure this is not the cause of the bulge.

Eric Swanson, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Gradual increasing protrusion of abdominal wall following a tummy tuck

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There can be some relaxation of the abdominal wall after a tummy tuck repair but your photos indicate far more than would typically occur. It is possible that there really is some separation of the muscles or relaxation of the repair. Fluid accumulation is less likely.

You should return to your plastic surgeon and discuss this occurrence. Another opinion may also be reasonable.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

You may have weak abdominal fascia

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Your surgeon did a good job based on the first post op pictures. You later picture indicates that you have weak fascia and may need to have Stratice or Alloderm for support. I would recommend to leave it alone.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Tummy Tuck Results?

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Thank you for the question and pictures.

At this stage in your “recovery”,  the most likely explanation of what has occurred is slight separation/relaxation of the abdominal wall muscle repair. Unfortunately, this can happen even in the best of hands.

I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon to address questions and concerns;  if abdominal wall laxity is the culprit,  this will be clear on physical examination ( when you are in the flexed/bent/diving positions).

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.