Normal swelling, residual fat or seroma? (Photo)

I am plus size and had a mommy makeover. I tried everything I could to lose more weight but cannot so chose to be happy where I am. I have a bit of a belly and am wondering if this is swelling or residual fat or if I should be concerned about a seroma. I had drain until 7 weeks due to consistent high drainage. When I tap it, it does wave but so does fat? I have tapped my thighs and they seem to move the same. But I took a bath and feel like it floats and moves with the water. Should I see dr?

Doctor Answers 9

Seeing your plastic surgeon always a good choice

Thank you for the question and photos.  If you are concerned about a seroma you should see your plastic surgeon or at least get an ultrasound or CT scan to see if there is fluid present.  If there is a seroma present it will be beneficial to have it drained either by placing a needle in it or re-placing a drain.  Until then, you may want to wear an abdominal binder or other compression garment.  Other sources of fullness in that area included residual excess fat and/or loose abdominal wall.  Your plastic surgeon will be the best person to determine which of these may be the case.All the best,
Dr. Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 166 reviews


Yes, see your doctor. A seroma is easy to diagnose and to drain with a needle in the office.  You are probably swollen as well so be patient for the final results.  If there is residual fat I often treat that with a local anesthetic and a small amount of liposuction.  Good luck, Jane

Jane M. Rowley, MD
Lubbock Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Sweeling after Mommy Makeover in Melbourne, FL.

Thank you for your question about swelling after your Mommy Makeover.  I would definitely recommend you see your board certified plastic surgeon to evaluate this concern.  It is possible that you could have some edema versus actual fluid collection below the skin such as a seroma.  Your doctor will determine whether this is present and if so, whether it may need to be drained.  I hope this is helpful.  Best of luck!

Amy Ortega, MD
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Healing and Recovery after a Mommy Makeover

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain.
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

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

Is this normal?

It very well could just be normal swelling.  Believe it or not, swelling can linger for 6 months to a year following a tummy tuck.  I think that you should still check with your physician, though, to rule anything out.  Best of luck!

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

I think the only reasonable course of action would be to see your plastic surgeon for an evaluation. The situations you mentioned above are treated differently, and maybe some intervention is warranted at this point.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Pot Operative Swelling

Thank you for your question. I recommend discussing your concerns with your surgeon. A seroma is easy to diagnose and can be treated. There will be residual swelling and you will not see the final result until a year from your surgery. I always recommend seeing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Normal swelling, residual fat or seroma? (Photo)

Thank you for your question and series of photographs.  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. Hope this helps.

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

Normal swelling, residual fat or seroma?

Thanks for your question and pictures.  Congratulations on your surgery!  If you are concerned about a fluid collection, please contact your surgeon to be evaluated.

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 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.