Edema fluid collection after tummy tuck? (photos)

Hello, today I went in for a appointment with my surgeon I was seen for swelling on my stomach after tummy tuck. It has been 6 weeks since my surgery and I am experiencing swelling the Dr clearly told me I do not have seroma (fluid collection under the skin) he said I have Edema witch is fluid collection under my muscle ? He said to not worry about it and that it will go away with time. Should I be concerned ? Is this normal ? Would it go away ?

Doctor Answers 4

Oedema after Tummy Tuck

Hello there, 

Thanks for the photos, looks like great results. It is very normal to have general oedema and swelling in the first 3 months after surgery. The vast majority of this settles down, helped with a compression garment if you have one. Patience is the key and I am confident it will get better. 

Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Seroma vs Edema

You are confused by the terms you are hearing. When we do a TT the skin and fat areraised off the muscle, pulled down and cut off. There are raw surfaces exposed that ooze just like a rug burn does into the space   between the muscle and the flap. This is what you saw in your drains right after surgery. Once the drains are removed if this fluid builds up under the flap we call it a seroma. Edema, on the other hand, is fluid inside the tissues around the cells. This is the response to the trauma of surgery or any sort of injury. That cannot be aspirated. It will last for months and eventually disappear. It always seems to be in the lower abdomen that it is the greatest perhaps because of gravity and the disturbed lymphatics. Lymphatic    massage is a gentle technique that helps open the lymphatics that drain away the fluid from within the tissues. I have patients do this about a week after surgery to get things moving. You might try a session or two or you can wait. It will, as your surgeon said, go away with time and i completely normal. I tell my patients that it will be one and a half to two years before they see the absolute final result of the TT. Patience and time will show you what looks like is going to be a great result.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Edema after TT

Thanks for your questions and photos. Congratulations your TT looks great. Edema is fluid within your tissue and can't be "drained." After a TT it can take up to 2-3 months for the edema to completly resolve. If you are not wearing compression garment I would start. Keep following your surgeon's recommendations. Good luck. 

Mehdi K. Mazaheri, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Edema Post Op


The edema which your surgeon refers to is typical swelling and quite normal at 6 weeks. It is important that you not increase calorie intake over the next few months and continue to follow up with your surgeon. It looks as though you have an excellent result so far,

All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 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.