Swelling upper abdomen / full mommy make over. What can I do to assist to get down? Arnica pills?

I have swelling in upper abdomen, below breast more so then lower. Had a full mommy maker over 3 weeks ago. What can I do to assist in getting swelling to go down? My doctor tried putting a needle in to drain and it was so painful. Nothing came out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Ty

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling Concern After a Mommy Makeover Procedure

Healing will continue for 2-3 months for the early period. This includes some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation in the breasts may also be abnormal and scars will be evolve. Tingling, burning or shooting pains in the breasts will disappear with time and should not alarm you. It is simply a result of the regeneration of your sensory nerves. If these sensations cause pain, repeated, local self-massage per your surgeon's permission may help. The purpose of the post-procedure #garment is to provide some gentle #support and to reduce swelling following a #TummyTuck or #Abdominoplasty. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. Patients wear the #elastic garment for several weeks after surgery, as directed by their doctor. Some choose to wear it longer for several months for comfort.

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.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Post Op Swelling at 3 Weeks


If your Plastic Surgeon determined that you do not have a seroma then you will need to wait for swelling to resolve on it's own. Swelling after a Tummy Tuck can last many months. I recommend that you follow post op instructions and try to be patient. Report any new or concerning changes.

All the best 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Upper tummy swelling after a mommy make-over

Thank you for asking about your mommy make-over.

  • Your photo strongly suggests that you ave normal post-operative swellling.
  • You cannot change this - it is how we all heal.
  • You can ask your surgeon about light massage - some people say it makes a difference.
  • Arnica will make no difference - 
  • Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

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

Swelling upper abdomen / full mommy make over.

Thank you for your question and picture.  Since your doctor stuck a needle in it and nothing came out, we can assume you don't have a seroma.   Usually it can take 4-6 weeks for most of the swelling goes away.  Typically I see more swelling in the lower abdomen than the upper due to gravity.  Make sure that your compression garment goes all the way up to the xyphoid process.  If it doesn't, it  can keep fluid trapped in the upper abdomen.  Did you have a full muscle repair?  I have seen a couple of patients that only had muscles repaired below the umbilicus and upper abdomen can them bulge a little.

Rigo Mendoza, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Likely swelling

At three weeks this likely is swelling that will gradually resolve.  It sounds like your surgeon ruled out a seroma (fluid collection) when he put a needle in so I think that your best bet would be time and compression.  I have sometimes found that binders and garments I put patients in postoperatively may put excellent compression on the lower and mid abdomen but may not do so well in the upper abdomen.  Therefore the swelling may last longer in this area.

Scott Thellman, MD
Lawrence Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling

Since your plastic surgeon has ruled out a seroma, I assume this is postoperative swelling and should resolve over time.  I assume they tightened the muscles all the way to the xyphoid process (point at bottom of breast bone).  Compression garments are your best bet for the first 6 weeks.  Stay in communication with your plastic surgeon and keep them posted on your progress.  Hang in there and thanks for your question. 

Daniel Kolder, MD
Camarillo Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Swelling upper abdomen/full MMO. What can I do to assist to get down?

Thank you for your questions and photograph.  Assuming that your surgeon was able to rule out a seroma, I would recommend compression garment use, arnica pills topically and orally, and bromelain.  This is most likely postoperative swelling which will resolve spontaneously with time.  Hang in there!

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Swelling in upper abdomen after mommy makeover

According to your picture, your results so far look good and appropriate.  Swelling after an abdominoplasty always takes more time to resolve in the upper abdomen and even longer if liposuction was also done.  You an expect several weeks to months before the swelling completely resolves, should be a gradual process.  
3 weeks is very early, so as hard as it is, try to stay patient.
Arnica can help, and I recommend a compressive garment which can significantly help with the swelling.
Stay in touch with your surgeon so they can follow your progress and good luck!!

John McFate, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tell me tuck question

 Dear Tara,Thank you for your question. There are several reasons for swelling in the abdomen. Your physician was trying to rule out a seroma however if there was no fluid it could be edema or excessive bruising. I would suggest frequent follow up with your physician as well as continuing to wear your garment which will keep compression for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Hope this helps and good luck!

Kailash Narasimhan, MD
Sherman Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.