3 month post-op Tummy tuck, any suggestions? (photos)

I had a TT 3 months ago. It might be a little hard to see from the pictures but around the scar area and below look swollen. It's especially easily seen when I'm wearing tighter clothes, almost like I have a pregnancy belly. I thought it could be extra fluid build up or just normal swelling due to the surgery, but I saw my surgeon yesterday because I was concerned, and he told me it was FLAT and that everything looked GOOD. He said it didn't appear to be swollen at all. 2nd opinion please!?!?!

Doctor Answers 11

3 months post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (3 months post-po) the swelling have to be minimal.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.

Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 270 reviews

Still puffy 3 months post tt

Hi Heather

Overall, you have a nice result.  I know however that you still have swelling in place and it can take up to a year or longer to naturally resolve.  If it is OK with your doctor, ask him if you can wear Spanx or similar compression garment to help bring the swelling down.

Best of luck.


Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question and pictures.  I tend to agree with your surgeon.  You seem to have a very nice result so far although you are still healing.  This amount of modest swelling is very normal.

Ramiro Morales, Jr., MD
Pembroke Pines Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

month post-op Tummy tuck, any suggestions?

The lymphatic channels in the tissue take many months to reconnect which causes the persistent swelling. It may take up to a year for all of your swelling to resolve. I don't see anything out of the ordinary in your photos, so I just think it is a matter of allowing more time for healing. 

Don W. Griffin, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Tummy tuck - will it improve

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck.

  • If the area is around the pubic area, I see the swelling.
  • You are still swollen and this may improve over the next 3 months.
  • If it does not, liposuction of the mons pubis will reduce the fullness but it is too early to know if you will need it.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

3 month post-op Tummy tuck, any suggestions?

Without seeing your "before" pictures and an in person evaluation, it is hard to offer an opinion. If there is still some fullness after 1 year, a little liposuction in the office may help. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Still Could Be Swelling

At 3 months post op you could have some swelling.  Sometimes the fat layer can retain fluid within the tissue, kind of the way a sponge absorbs and retains water.  One way to tell is how does it change during the course of a day.  Is it flatter in the morning when you get up and then at the end of the day is it more bulging?  This would be evidence of tissue fluid retention which will improve with more time.  However, if it feels swollen all day long, then it might be just the amount or thickness of fat you had in your subcutaneous layer at the time of your surgery and what got pulled down during your surgery is what you had to start with.  Your pre-operative photos could give you information about that.


Dr. Telepun

Decatur, AL

Gordon M. Telepun, MD
Decatur Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

3 month post-op Tummy tuck, any suggestions?

Thank you for your question and series of photographs and I am sorry that your results have not been what you anticipated.  I see your area of concern and it is difficult without an in-person examination to determine what may be taking place.  Most commonly this is residual swelling from surgery which will spontaneously resolve but it would be important to voice your concerns to your surgeon to ensure that other issues are not taking place - discrete fluid collection, muscle laxity, or residual adipose tissue. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

3 months post TT

Thank you for the question and sorry for your concerns. 

You appear to have a very nice result. 3 months post op is still early for that particular area you are concerned with.  It often takes many more months for the tissue to heal fully and smooth out.  Best of luck and enjoy the improvement you have already achieved.  

J. Brad Turner, MD
Lexington Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Swelling 3 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. Frequently the pubic area can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It may 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.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

While you are still in the healing period, it is best to visit your surgeon if you find yourself concerned or worried about swelling or your incisions and scars. You can have an examination to ensure that healing is progressing well. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 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.