Is This Swelling? How to Minimize? (photo)

I have had crazy swelling when I have no compression garment on (very rare that I don't have it showering, washing it, etc.) but after a put my feet up for 20-30 minutes it is basically gone. Is this normal and any advice as to how to minimize it??

Doctor Answers 4

Is This Swelling? How to Minimize?

Something is WRONG! You need immediate evaluation in person. Seek either your surgeon or find a boarded PS in your city for care. 

Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

Unusual swelling, could be fluid or hernia.  Need to see pre-op photos.

Should be evaluated by a Plastic Surgeon

Malcolm D. Paul, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Is This Swelling after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Thank you for the question and pictures. Your pictures do demonstrate significant/impressive prominence of the abdominal wall thatis best evaluated in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

  Generally speaking, 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.

 Again, given the impressive “prominence” of your abdominal wall, best to be evaluated in the near future by your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

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

Is This Swelling?

I am not sure that i see much difference between the two photos. 

The causes can be 

  • swelling
  • fluid (blood or serum)
  • hernia
  • incomplete muscle repair
  • intra-abdominal contents

I don't have much of an idea about why this would change so quickly with compression unless there was an unrecognized hernial. Check with your surgeon. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.