Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck? (Photo)

Even after thousands of crunches and a year of healing, I still have a bloated looking stomach. The photos are midday, and it looks a little better first thing in the morning, a little worse at night. There is zero fat on my stomach ever since the procedure. I don't understand why the bulge is still there. Is there anything (short of more surgery) I can do about it?

Doctor Answers 7

Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck?

The bulge that is shown in this one photo seems to me very slight.  It is hard to make a determination of the cause without knowing details of the surgery including whether muscle plication was performed.  Also, there are occasions in which visceral fat (internal fat) can cause protrusion of the abdomen even after a tummy tuck.  An exam by a plastic surgeon can help determine the etiology and give you some direction.  Good luck and be safe.

John T. Nguyen, MD, FACS, FICS
Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Bulge after tummy tuck

It looks like the bulge is from muscle protrusion. You can try working on your core, perhaps with a personal trainer. if that doesn't work than I think that the muscle could be tightened more. Good luck.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck?

Thank you for your question and photos.  I agree with Dr. Pousti.  I also think you should ask your surgeon if he/she repaired your abdominal muscles during surgery.  Occasionally during an abdominoplasty the muscle repair is not performed- if that is your case, it might be necessary to have a secondary procedure to have the muscle repair.  Good luck!

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck?

Whether or not the “bulge” of your abdominal wall will improve with time will depend on exactly what the cause of the “bulge” is. If the cause is ongoing abdominal wall laxity, it is unlikely that the appearance of the abdominal wall will improve with time, exercise… If the cause of the abdominal wall “bulge” is prolonged swelling (which can occasionally occur), ongoing time will help improve the appearance of the abdominal wall.  I tell my patients that sometimes it takes one year for the abdominal wall skin to fully “bounce back” after tummy tuck surgery. Best to be evaluated by your plastic surgeon, who after direct physical examination will be able to provide you with the most precise answer to your question. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,502 reviews

Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck? (Photo)

There appears to be a slight bulge on your abdomen following a tummy tuck. This could be from recurrent laxity of the fascia or intra abdominal fat although you appear very thin. A secondary tightening procedure is probably indicated to obtain a flatter stomach. I don't think working out more will improve this.

Kurtis Martin, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Is this bulge normal a year after tummy tuck?

Photos not really showing the "bulge"!!! Best to seek IN PERSON opinions after an examination of the abdomen..// 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Is it on one side only?

What does your surgeon say?

Please find an experienced Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and member of the Aesthetic Society using the Smart Beauty Guide. These Plastic Surgeons can guide you on all aspects of facial surgery, breast augmentation and body procedures including tummy tucks or mommy makeovers!

A tummy tuck can be done as a solitary procedure. Many times the results are enhanced by adding liposuction to the hip and love handle area. A tummy tuck is also done in combination with a breast augmentation in a mommy makeover.

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.