Post-Tummy Tuck Bulge

I had a tummy tuck approx 6 months ago. My upper abdomen is perfect, but right underneath my belly button on the right side, there is a bulge. I have no idea what this is from. I went to get a second opinion in the US, since I had my surgery in another country and the surgeon said that could sometimes happen and maybe my muscles are weak. I had a full tuck and I am very thin. He said since I am pretty small, it is just easier to see any imperfections. That doesn't sound right to me. What could it possibly be? Also, my tummy below my navel is not as flat as I thought it would be, when I sit down and after a meal, it sometimes look like it did, pre-tummy tuck.

Doctor Answers 11

Yout tummy muscles have loosened...

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Tummy tuck surgery results vary with the specifications of the patient's tissues, general capacity to heal and the surgeon's technique. At times the tummy wall (muscle) will bulge out after it has been tightened. This is less likely with multiple suture line muscular repairs, but all this varies.

The bulge could also represent fat plus or minus excess skin. Re-operative tummy tuck surgery can be hard for these reasons. Sometimes we don't know what we will need to do until we get in there.

Orange Plastic Surgeon

Get a second opinion

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As previiously stated this could be the result of numerous conditions:

Seroma, pseudo bursa

Hernia/muscle weakness

Disruption of muscle repair or no muscle repair

previous scars on that side (appendectomy)

localized fat

Resolving hematoma

Skin redundancy

Separation of the SFS repair

Underlying mass (fibroid)


However, this is nearly impossible for you to discern and it may even require a CT scan. As you can see it may not even be related to the surgery and you may bnenefit from consulting with your OB-Gyne or a general surgeon.

I hope this helps!

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

Get another opinion

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This bulge could represent:

a seroma
a hematoma
a hernia
inadequate or disrupted abdominal plication
asymmetric skin excision

The good news is most of these problems can be corrected relatively easily.

Seek the advice of a board certified plastic surgeon.

Steven Williams, MD

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Further evaluation by another Plastic Surgeon is necessary.

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A small bulge in this area is not normal. I would agree that it is something that could be corrected. The most common cause of a fullness in this area is a residual seroma. After drains are removed following a tummy tuck, they can leave an area with some fluid. If this fluid does not resolve in a short time, the body creates a wall to close this area off. This becomes permanent unless drained or removed. An ultrasound or CT scan could easily detect such a fluid filled area. If detected, it can be drained thru a small needle in the skin. If the fluid returns, a minor procedure can be done thru your incision to remove the seroma wall and eliminate the bulge.

If there is no fluid detected, then it may be muscle asymmetry or fatty tissue. If this is the case, a procedure slightly larger than the one mentioned above may be needed. This would be similar to mini tummy tuck. A portion of the incision would need to be opened and the fullnes corrected. It could be done as an outpatient and the recovery would be very quick. Another Board Certified Plastic Surgeon should be able to help you with this problem.

You should get another opinion.

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It is hard to tell from just one picture. However, you should not have an asymmetric bulge as you are describing. There are several causes for a bulge after abdominoplasty. You could have a seroma (a fluid collection under the skin), a hematoma (a blood collection under the skin), retained fat, inadequate or asymmetrical skin excision, or breakdown of your muscle plication (tightening). You should seek out another surgical consultation/opinion. While it will likely take another surgery to fix what you are describing, it can likely be done through a mini abdominoplasty approach through your same incision.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York City

Make an appointment with your PS.

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The presence of a significant abdominal bulge several months following abdominoplasty surgery should be investigated. Especially if the bulge wasn’t present in the immediate post-operative period.This type of bulge could occur for a variety of reasons including swelling, seroma formation, encapsulated hematoma, residual muscle weakness, recurrent separation of the muscles, hernia formation, intra-abdominal fat, excess subcutaneous fat and possibly fat necrosis.
Under these circumstances, it’s appropriate to obtain ultra-sound and possibly MRI studies.Depending upon the results, revisional surgery may be indicated.For these reasons, it’s important to consult a board certified plastic surgeon.This surgeon should be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Stomach should be flat 6 months after a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).

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Although there is still healing underway 6 months after a tummy tuck, major contour problems should not exist.  You picture is difficult to interpret.  The abdominal wall may have been poorly repaired or perhaps not addressed at all.  You might have had an untreated seroma that has become organized and hard.  I would press a good board certified surgeon for a specific answer.

Tummy tuck results post 6 months surgery

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At this point in time of your recovery, post tummy tuck surgery, swelling should have subsided and any complications may be corrected by your plastic surgeon. I recommend consulting witha  board certified plastic surgeon to discuss the best and safest possible option for your case. If you need revisionary surgery or any procedure to correct the complication or issue it will improve the bulge in that area. Unfortunately the photo you provided makes it difficult to diagnose the issue or cause of the bulge. It may be various issues such as, an acumulation of fluid, known as a seroma, a hematoma, irregularty in fat distribution, or muscle diastasis. Consult your plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Take care and good luck.

Bulge after tummy tuck

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Tummy tucks are extremely popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. After a tummy tuck, patients should expect a significant recovery process. In our practice, we provide two compression garments to all our patients. These garments compress the treated areas and help resolve the swelling. At six months, you should be seeing your final results. If you continue to have a bulge, you should be evaluated by a board-certified plastic surgeon. They will be able to determine if this fullness is swelling, asymmetry, or a bulge of muscle caused by the loosening of suture.
To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Post tummy tuck issues

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Without examining you it is dificult to tell, but it may be some normal asymmetry with some excess fat on the right side that may be amenable to liposuction. It could also be fluid. If you feel that the belly is a bit protuberant, it may mean that the muscles may need a bit more tightening.

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