Why Am I Rounder at 9 Weeks Post Op Than I Was at 6 Weeks Post Op?

I had a full tummy tuck and muscle repair 9 wks ago. I weighed 135 going in and I now weigh 120. I would wake up flatter in the mornings & swell towards the end of the day now my tummy seems to be protruding all the time. The protruding is not above the incision its on top and right above my bb. My doctor checked my muscle repair and she said it was healing fine. I look like I'm pregnant! Why am I protruding at 9 weeks!! It's not going down. I have been watching my diet and included exercise.

Doctor Answers 8

More swelling two months after surgery

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Thanks for your question.  The causes for swelling immediately after swelling are numerous, but nine weeks ago the list gets smaller.  Some of my colleagues have listed some of these concerns including seroma or issues with the muscle repair.  It seems as though you are having good follow-up with your plastic surgeon and this should continue. You should ask your surgeon about compression garments if they may help.  I hope this improves for you.

Tummy Tuck Results Concerned?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure.

I am glad to hear that you are following up closely with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to advise you.

Occasionally, I have seen significant swelling of the subcutaneous tissue layer  after tummy tuck surgery ( that can cause significant concern for patient and surgeon). Once disruption of the abdominal wall muscle repair as well as the presence of a seroma has been ruled out then you can have some peace of mind that you are dealing with swelling ( which will resolve over the course of the next several months). It may take up to a year for the overlying skin to fully "redrape"  and for you to see the final results of the surgery.

Please continue close follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Swelling after a tummy tuck

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What you are experiencing above the belly button at 9 weeks after surgery especially with 15 pounds of weight loss is not normal.  Your doctor knows best what your anatomy and tissues are like so stick close to them for follow up.  It is possibly edema in the tissues but its specific location and not being generalized makes this less likely.  Most likely it is a fluid collection (seroma) that can be treated by aspiration.  An ultrasound can confirm its presence if this is in doubt.  This is also usually where the muscles are at their widest after pregnancy so it could be possible that the muscle repair disrupted.  This would be far more unusual than a seroma.

Protruding abdomen after tummy tuck

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There are a few possible causes of a fuller or more protruding abdomen after a tummy tuck at 9 weeks:

1) weight gain

2) abdominal wall repair disruption (muscle repair has let go)

3) seroma/pseudobursa

4) swelling

It sounds like #1 is not the case since you weigh less now then before.  The fluctuation of protrusion early on may indicate either #3 or #4.  Swelling is most common near the incision.  Therefore I am inclined to think that it may be a seroma or pseudobursa but this diagnosis, of course,  would require a thorough physical examination of your tummy tuck area.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Reason For Swelling

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Thank you for your  question. The best recommendation that i can give you is to fold a lipo foam in half, and place it on the lower bb area so that you can apply pressure to it. That will help you to reduce the swelling, Also do not remove your compression garment. The reason for using compression garments (which must be worn for several weeks) is to force the absorption of the blood-tinged anesthetic solution into the body's blood vessels. But please keep following up with your surgeon.

I wish you well through your procedures and recovery.

Dr McAdoo 

  • 32,000 procedures 
  • 20 years experience
  • AOA board certified plastic surgeon

Swelling after 9 months

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At this point in your healing you should be quite happy.  Some residual swelling and contour irregularities are normal and usually subside over the coming months.  However what you are describing may be more than residual swelling.  Others have outlined some possibilities.  I agree with colleagues and feel that you should also discussed this with your plastic surgeon.

Swelling 2 months after tummy tuck.

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Swelling in the abdominoplasty skin flap is common, but this decreases over time. At 9 weeks, you still have a ways to go before this is gone. If you haven't been in a compression garment, this process can take much longer. A focal area (usually near the incision line) of swelling can be a fluid collection. Close follow up with your surgeon is imperative. Sometimes, the muscle repair fails and fullness can be seen as a bulge in the upper abdomen. This can be more apparent if the repair below the belly button stays intact.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Not a good sign at nine weeks

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At nine weeks you should be very happy.  The issue that may be an issue is the muscle repair, seroma or a fluid pocket , prolonged swelling (less likely).   You need to continue to discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 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.