Is it possible to have muscle separation 6 months post op after tummy tuck? (photos)

I had my tummy tuck done 7 months ago and about a month or so ago I started noticing a bulge above my belly button. When I get up in the morning my stomach is flat, but as the day goes on I start getting the bulge. The area where I have the bulge is still sore. What could this be. My ps says that it's just inflammation and fat, that it will resolve with time and a liposuction. I had an ultrasound performed and he said that it was negative. I will appreciate your feedback.

Doctor Answers 3

Is it possible to have muscle separation 6 months post op after tummy tuck?

Your photos do not demonstrate  your area of concern. You need to submit a  good-full set of photos- clearly demonstrating the bulge. If the muscle was repaired , and one or two of the sutures have come undone- then you may experience a bulge. Only time, and repeated physical exams will determine this fact

Is it possible to have muscle separation 6 months post op after tummy tuck?

Yes, it is possible that abdominal wall laxity (not necessarily separation of muscle plication)  can be the cause of the "bulge".  On the other hand,  adipose tissue and/or redundant skin may also cause this concern, at this stage after tummy tuck surgery. 

 Generally, at this point, I would suggest that you continue to exercise patience.  Do your best, through healthy diet/exercise to maintain a long-term stable weight and continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon.   Repeat physical examination one year out of surgery will be helpful when it comes to differentiating the cause of any residual fulness.

 Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.

Possible Bulge at 7 Months Post-Op

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. It may also take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle. If you have incisions in the muscle that have come undone then it may not be swelling that is continuing. It would be best to have continued follow-up appointments with your surgeon to have the area examined to determine what may be causing this and if it still continues what can be done to resolve this issue. 

Note that revision surgery is unusual but may be desired for several reasons. Most revisions should be done after 9-12 months.  One cause for revision surgery are “dog ears” at the ends of the incisions. These are small folds of excess skin that do not flatten over time.  They can be excised, suctioned or both. Excess fat or loose skin may require liposuction and skin excision to obtain the best result. Good luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 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.