Big Round Belly 3 Month Post Op Tumy Tuck? (photo)

Hello,I had a tummy tuck and, lipo on flanks 3 months ago, I was very flat before but for the las 2 weeks my tummy is getting bigger and bigger and round my doctor said is normal swelling, im really depressed rigth now. is this sound normal to you?

Doctor Answers 7

Big Round Belly 3 Month Post Op Tummy Tuck?

I would not consider swelling that begins 10 weeks after surgery to be normal. Without a side view it is not easy to see this swelling.

The likely possibilities include fluid collections--seroma (serum collection) or hematoma (blood collection), or a failure of the suturing of the abdominal wall. I think another visit to your surgeon is in order to review these possibilities, or a consultation for a second opinion with another surgeon if no satisfactory resolution occurs, though I would almost always be correct in guessing that your own surgeon will want to sort through this with you.

Thanks for your question, and best wishes. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.
As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.
Abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:
1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Abdominal swelling after tummy tuck

A normal post operative course should have decreased swelling over time. At 3 months after surgery, I would expect very minimal swelling around the abdomen. It's very important that you have your plastic surgeon evaluate your abdomen and see what's causing the swelling. Is it due to weight gain? Is it fluid collection (seroma)? Is it loss of abdominal muscle repair? Find out what's causing it and then you will know how to go about correcting or treating it.

Best Wishes,

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Big Round Belly 3 Month Post Op Tumy Tuck?

Normal swelling a few weeks following surgery, IS NOT NORMAL! Seek second opinions from boarded PSs in your city. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews


Without an exam it's very hard to see what can be going on. Swelling is normal for 6-9 months. You should be wearing your compression garment.

Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Late swelling not that common


Thank you for the question and the photos.  If your weight is stable and you are noticing an increase in the roundness of your abdomen we must consider whether you have developed a seroma or pseudo bursa or perhaps the abdominal wall muscle tightening has become undone or relaxed.  Swelling should consistently improve with time and at 3 months most of the swelling should have resolved.  Discuss these issues with your plastic surgeon and have/him take a look at you to make sure that a seroma is in fact not the case.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Abdominal swelling following tummy tuck and lipo

I am sorry that you are having this bout of swelling.  Did your ps evaluate you for a seroma?  What is the time course of the swelling?  Is your belly flat in the morning and then fuller throughout the course of the day?  If that is the case it is just prolonged swelling.  If it has become full and stayed that way it could be a late seroma. Has your weight remained stable?  Also you should consider where you are in your cycle.  I hope that this resolves quickly for you.

Stephen M. Chen, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 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.