5 months post op tummy tuck

5mo post op tummy tuck ! Why on occasional days my belly swells up? Then it will go down??? But it gets big after I drink water or juice and it feels very big, bloated, and uncomfortable?! Any suggestions or answers as to why?

Doctor Answers 6

Swelling after Tummy Tuck

There are many physiological changes that occur with surgery. Your diet may need to be modified as well to provide some relief. This is a common complaint that many women do share following a tummy tuck so you should not be overly concerned. The muscle repair often makes this worse due to the tightness of the repair which can make this more uncomfortable. Sometimes this is related to the antibiotics and a course of probiotics may help. Learning which foods provoke the condition is useful. In most instances this will resolve.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Bloating after TT

Bloating is very common after tummy tuck, particularly if muscle repair was performed. Watch out for foods that exacerbate this. Also do your best to remain physically active - this will help bowel motility. You should alert your doctor if you are experiencing any problems with your bowels - constipation, nausea, etc. Benign bloat takes about a year to resolve in my experience.

Best of luck!

Michele A. Shermak, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

Thanks for the question.  Swelling that comes and goes with activity is very common after tummy tucks.  With a standard tummy tuck, the lymphatics (internal vessels that drain swelling from tissue) are divided which leads to swelling which may take up to one year to resolve.  This can get worse with intense physical activity.  Eventually the body develops new channels which drain the fluid and the swelling resolves.  An abdominal plication (tightening of the muscles) can also lead to some abdominal discomfort with intake.  I can tell you that over time these issues will resolve and the symptoms will subside.

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question.

It is not uncommon to get bloating following abdominoplasty as your intestines are still trying to "figure out" how to function after they are in a smaller space following muscle plication.  The good news is that this resolves with time (almost always), but can take a while.  Hang in there, and congratulations on your abdominoplasty!


Dr. Dan Krochmal

MAE Plastic Surgery

Northbrook, IL

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Abdominoplasty Swelling?

It is not unusual for abdominoplasty patients to have swelling that increases throughout the day, or swelling that happens with food or liquid ingestion.  This can take quite awhile to stop occurring.  When you have removed skin/fat and tightened the abdominal wall, you are more likely to see little swelling changes much more than you would have before.  Everyone's abdominal wall stretch a little after eating/ drinking.  This is normal.  However, when you have an abdominal wall that is tight and still trying to get used to things, you will notice this much more.  Just be patient and these things generally work themselves out.  I hope this helps.

Swelling 5 Months Post-Op

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It also may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

Now, if you find yourself concerned about swelling while you continue healing it would be good to visit your surgeon for an examination. This will help determine whether the healing process is progressing well. Best of luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 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.