Is my Swelling After TT Normal? (photo)

Had tummy tuck 13 days ago. Day after surgery I looked fabulous. Then swelling began. Drain removed on day 7. I look very thick from side and have some swelling right above belly button and I look like I have a tire below belly button to scar. I look worse than before. Is this normal? My doctor did not put me in a compression garment, so I bought and have been wearing spanx.

Doctor Answers 10

Normal Postop Swelling

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Congratulations you have an excellent result. The swelling you are experiencing is normal and will continue for about 3-4 months until it resolves completely. A compression garment will help to reduce it and give you comfort but will not affect the final aesthetic result.  Eventually your body will heal itself and return to that excellent contour you noticed immediately after surgery. Best wishes on your recovery.

Swelling after tummy tuck is normal.

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Hi, there.  It is normal to have swelling after any surgery, including tummy tuck.  As you have described, you were flatter immediately after surgery.  For the following 1-2 weeks, you would see more swelling set in.  Then, your body will slowly get rid of the excess fluid and swelling.  You will most likely see your final contour in 2-3 months.  It is important to wear binder or compression garment and massaging the areas of liposuction.  Although Spanx is good, it may not give you sufficient compression for this time.

Is my Swelling After TT Normal?

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I don't know what you looked like before surgery, but this looks like a really nice outcome so far.

Swelling is not something that resolves in a linear manner, and often as activity increases, so does the swelling. Patience. By 8 weeks, most swelling is gone in most patients. 

Although there is not a lot of clinical evidence on use of compression, I favor use of garments, and like Spanx after the first week or so.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Abdominoplasty - Swelling after TT

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Thank you for the question and the photos. It is normal to experience some degree of swelling following surgery; on average it takes 4 to 6 weeks to settle. However if you feel that the swelling is not showing signs of improvement and it is possibly slowly increasing, you might be experiencing a seroma, collection of clear fluid under the flap of the abdominoplasty. Should this be the case, it can be easily addressed by needle aspiration.

I  would advice you to contact your surgeon to be assessed again and see it this is the case. I agree with the other colleagues in recommending compression following abdominoplasty; my patients wear a supportive garment/corset for 4 yo 6 weeks.

Best of luck

Andrea Marando

Andrea Marando, MD
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 128 reviews

Postoperative Swelling after Tummy Tuck

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With a tummy tuck, the swelling will take 6-8 weeks to resolve.   It is far too early to judge the result and the fact that you loved the result the day after is a very positive sign.  

In terms of compression, there are a lot of different opinions on whether it offers longterm benefit.   I prefer to use it in my patients because I feel the swelling goes down quicker and patients enjoy the comfort of compression/support as they heal.  I wish you a safe recovery and fantastic result.

Dr. Gill  

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews


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Swelling after tummy tuck surgery is part of the healing process and usually peaks within the first week after surgery. As you begin to do more of your regular activities, the swelling can increase. As the body heals, swelling will go down and usually takes approx 6-8 weeks. Wearing a compression garment like SPANX is absolutely necessary. I advise my patient to wear it day and night except when showering for a minimum of 6 weeks after surgery. Gentle massage with your normal body lotion over the areas of swelling will help increase circulation, which will also help improve swelling. You should have a great result! 

R. Michael Koch, MD
Tarrytown Plastic Surgeon

Average swelling after abdominoplasty in this picture.

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From the photograph it looks as though you're on your way through good result. This is an average amount of swelling and will get better with time. Make sure your surgeon approves of the compression garment.

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

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Yes 13 days after a tummy tuck is still early.  While you had the drains in place they were removing the swelling fluid.  Now that they are out that no longer occurs.  Instead it is good and well advised that you begin wearing a compression girdle.  Not just a spanks or other exercise spandex outfit, but a thick, tough real girdle that is snug.  This will help keep the swelling down and most women actually say it feels more comfortable on. I like to have my patients were one for 6 weeks day and night.  Only take it off to shower and bathe.  You can expect to have some swelling for up to 6 months.

Randy Proffitt, MD
Mobile Plastic Surgeon

Normal to have swelling after an abdominoplasty

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I would suspect that this is just post operative swelling and not unusual.  Seek the advice of your plastic surgeon concerning wearing of your post operative compression garment. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Is my Swelling After TT Normal?

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Sorry to say I do not see the swelling you are describing in the posted photos. Best to have very close follow up with your surgeon. 

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.