One side of tummy tuck more swollen, is this extra skin/fat or normal swelling? (photos)

I'm 4 months post op from a tummy tuck. From about 1 week post op I noticed more swelling on one side. My doctor keeps telling me it's swelling but I can't help but wonder can it be extra skin or fat? Or maybe it is indeed swelling? Thank you

Doctor Answers 11

Fullness on one side

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An exam in person is really the only way to tell. Also, preop photos may be helpful.  It may be normal anatomy asymmetry, it may be swelling, it may be something else.  Best of luck.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling or fat?

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Hello CurvyBeauty and thanks for your question. Your photos show a nice result, but are not helpful in determining the cause of more fullness on one side versus the other. Since you're only 4 months out since surgery, I suspect it is likely swelling or fluid in the tissues. Having an examination by your plastic surgeon can help determine the real cause and it is what I would suggest. Congratulations on an overall nice result! Best, Dr. ALDO

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 215 reviews

Post-op swelling

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Thanks for your question.  In general, after 3-4 months one can get a fairly good idea of the long term outcome.  However, there is still some chronic swelling that resolves slowly over the course of 6-12 months and often minor asymmetries will resolve with time.  Based on the amount of stretch marks present, I suspect you had a significant amount of loose skin present before surgery and overall have a nice result.  The only way to tell for sure is to be examined in person.  Minor post-op asymmetry can often be resolves with minor touch-up liposuction.  Good luck!

Brian A. Pinsky, MD
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Unevenness After Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your question and pictures. While you may have extra fat on the one side, you still have swelling at 4 months. I usually tell my patients to wait a minimum of 6 months before considering a revision. If you attempt to revise the area before the swelling has resolved, you can end up with even more unevenness. I recommend that you discuss you concerns with your plastic surgeon and give the healing process a little more time.

Tummy tuck

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There are always left to right differences in all body areas before and after any surgery. As such, healing may be different left to right as well.Close follow up with your plastic surgeon is recommended. 

Too early to judge outcome

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At this point in your recovery, it is much too soon to be worried about the outcome.  It takes time for the swelling to resolve.  It may be 6 months or more before the shape has reached its final look.  Be patient.   Watch your physical activity. Everyone is different.

4 months post op. some advices:

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Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (4months 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.
If the fter six months post-op, I recommend you send us your photos again, to give you more information about how we can solve this problem.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 369 reviews

Abdominoplasty swelling and asymmetry

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Thanks for your question and for the photos.
It is not uncommon to have asymmetries after an abdominoplasty, especially with the upper flap thicker than the lower one.  Many times this is due to the central abdominal fat which is thicker than the fat below the lower incision.  Sometimes this may just be swelling which can take up to a year to resolve or in few instances may represent a seroma (collection of fluid under the skin).  A physical exam would answer many of these questions.
You should follow up with your surgeon for their evaluation.
Best of luck.
Dr. T

Douglas Taranow, DO, FACOS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Post-Op Healing From Tummy Tuck

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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.Now, it is possible that swelling will continue for some more months, but proper care of the area will help with healing. If you have any concerns or questions about healing it would be a good idea to see your surgeon to have the area evaluated for proper healing. Best of luck to you!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

A little asymmetry only 4 months after tummytuck is ok

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tissues take up to a year to settle down completely after surgery, so you are still rather early in the process. few things in life are perfectly symmetrical, so you should not expect perfection.  minor revisions at a year can be easily done if appropriate. let mother nature continue to heal you and see your surgeon every few months for followup and far so good it would appear from the pix......

Bruce K. Barach, MD
Schenectady Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 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.