I had the mommy makeover 12 weeks ago. Why am I still so big? Will I go down? (Photo)

Doctor Answers 8


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Swelling can persist for months after surgery.  From your photos it appears that you may have excess fat behind the abdominal muscles in addition to some swelling.  Any fat behind the muscle wall can only be addressed through diet and exercise.  It is best to contact your surgeon for an evaluation.  He/She is most familiar with the details of your surgery and how you've been progressing through recovery. 

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Swelling 12 Weeks After MMO

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Most likely you are experiencing a lot swelling and inflammation. Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake.  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 116 reviews

Still looking big

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Congratulations on your recent surgery! First swelling can last anywhere from 3-12 months post-op.  However looking at your photos it seemed as though you had a significant amount of intra dermal fat, which is fat under the muscle wall that can only be resolved with diet and exercise. Best of luck!

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I had the mommy makeover 12 weeks ago. Why am I still so big? Will I go down?

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Technically you will have ongoing healing for up to one year after surgery. At 3 months you look pretty similar to how you are going to look forever minus intermittent swelling as long as your post op course did not have any complications. From looking at your pre-op photos I have a few concerns. First of all, you had a lot of your excess weight in your abdomen. If this excess fat was actually inside your abdomen (visceral fat) then your abdomen will still look full post op and will only flatten with weight loss. If the fat was subcutaneous then how flat your abdomen will look is dependent on how much liposuction your surgeon felt comfortable doing at the time of the tummy tuck. You are a perfect example of why most PS recommend that patients are at their ideal body weight or very close to their ideal body weight at the time of a tummy tuck. Lastly, if the fullness is secondary to muscle diastasis, then improper repair, no repair or failed repair will lead to fullness post op. This can happen when patient have N/V post op and vomit or return to physical activity too soon (this includes sexual intercourse). Either way, you have to wait 6 months to undergo any sort of revision, so try to be patient and discuss all of your concerns with your PS.

Presence of intra-abdominal fat

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Thank you for the question and photos.  There are a variety of different reasons to have "abdominal fullness" after a tummy tuck including:

-intra-abdominal fat (fat on the organs)

-subcutaneous fat (under the skin)

-loose abdominal muscles



As you can see, your plastic surgeon will be the best to evaluate you and discuss which of these sources is present.  All of the above sources can be addressed by plastic surgery except intra-abdominal fat.  Intra-abdominal fat or fat around the organs can only be addressed through diet and exercise.

Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Big after tummy tuck

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Thanks for your question. Between 6-12 weeks after surgery there is often a lot of swelling particularly above the scar, and this can take a number of months to go down. Check in with your PS just to be sure there are no underlying fluid collections. Tummy tuck can not make people thin, but generally more streamlined. Check in with your PS about what is realistic to expect going forward.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Tummy Tuck - Post Op Swelling?

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Thank you for your question. You should expect to have swelling for three to six months following tummy tuck surgery. Use of a properly fitted compression garment will help decrease the length and severity of the post-operative swelling. As the swelling decreases, the contour of your abdomen, flanks, and hips will dramatically improve. Please follow your plastic surgeons specific advice regarding your level of physical activity. Hope this helps and good luck with your recovery.

Mommy Makeover Recovery

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Willa.   I appreciate your concern, but I usually advise my Mommy Makeover patients that full recovery, including complete swelling improvement, lasts 3-6 months. So try to stay patient and positive and continue followup with your surgeon. Good Luck!

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 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.