Is It Normal to Have Swelling Around the Lower Back and Thighs After a Tummy Tuck?

I have a tummy tuck and breast lift 11 days ago and am still quite swollen around my entire mid section (including lower back) and my inner and outer thighs. Is this normal this long after the procedures I've had? I have also noticed that I will occasionally get swelling all the way down my legs and very swollen ankles....again, is this normal?

Doctor Answers 10

Swelling In the Extremities After a Tummy Tuck

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It is very normal to have swelling in any areas of the body where liposuction has been performed. Make sure to always wear your garments and it should decrease. Getting a small amount of light activity is important to help prevent getting a blood clot. Good Luck!

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

You do get swelling in the back after an abdominoplasty

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You had two large operations on the front side of your body and are undoubtedly lying on your back.  The swelling will follow gravity and move around to your back and down your legs when you stand.  This will take several months to resolve.  After my own abdominoplasty it was at least 6 months before I felt all the swelling was gone from everywhere.  Even my shoes felt a little snug for awhile.  I have done many body surgeries and see all the time.  I tell my patients it will be more than a year before you will finish healing completely ( scars and all).  Be patient.  It's worth it! 

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling in lower extremities after tummy tuck.

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It is common to have swelling in the lower back and thighs after tummy tuck.   You are only 11 days after tummy tuck.  Patients normally have swelling at least 1-3 weeks.  If you had liposuction of the flanks, the swelling can persist longer.

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Swelling After Tummy Tuck?

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Did you have any liposuctioning of your waist at the time of your tummy tuck or did you have an extended tummy tuck? If so, it is very common to have swelling in these areas. Visit with your plastic surgeon for a postop evaluation.

Profound swelling following tummy tuck, breast lift

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Swelling effecting your entire trunk and lower extremity is extremely common after an extensive procedure such as yours and is typically worse if liposuction was performed on the hips as an adjunct to the tummy tuck.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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It is quite common to have swelling of the mid section after a tummy tuck.    Having swelling as well in the legs can happen but is not as common.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling common after tummy tuck

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Everyone has some degree of swelling after surgery. This will resolve slowly over the next several weeks. As long as the swelling is relatively even from side to side and gradually improving, be patient.

Lawrence Iteld, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Swelling after a Tummy Tuck and Breast Lift

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Plastic surgery remains the most effective treatment for loose skin. Loose skin of the abdomen and breast is treated with abdominoplasty and breast lift surgeries respectively. Swelling is normal for several months after surgery, and swelling in the area of surgery is understandable to most patients.

While swelling of the back and legs may seem odd, it is also common, especially after abdominoplasty. The fluid in the abdomen normally drains downward to the groin. In the groin are lymphatic vessels that allow the fluid to return to the circulatory system. These channels are shared by the legs and the lower back, so the fluid from the abdomen causes a bit of a traffic jam, and fluid can back-up into the legs and back too.

With breast reduction, additional fluid is channeled to the arm pits and the abdomen. This can sometimes cause swelling of the arms, hands and abdomen also. As your body heals, the amount of fluid in your surgical sites' lymphatic circulation decreases. Your swelling will reduce and you will appear thinner too. Significant improvement can occur in a few weeks, but it normally takes months for the majority of the swelling to resolve. Hang in there.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Post tummy tuck swelling

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This is typical in fact. Most swelling as it diddipates will travel to other parts of the body due to gravity (i.e. lying on your back and standing up) This will account for the swelling in the lower back, waist, legs and even ankles.

Timothy Fee, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Tummy tuck

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Without photos it is difficult to give a good reply; however, swelling is a normal part of any surgery.  Swelling of the back, generally does not occur with a routine tummy tuck, unless liposuction was done of the hips as well.  Swelling of the thighs and legs can occur following a tummy tuck.  I recommend a follow-up with your plastic surgeon to make certain that a complication has not occurred.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 6 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.