"Spare Tire" like swelling after TT!!!!???!

I had a tummy tuck 4 days ago. I had a large ammount of loose skin from a 110lb weight loss. I had a HUGE pannus removed that humg over my pubic region. My doctor did not perform muscle tightening, but did perform lipo on my sides and then tightened my tummy and removed my pannus. But i now have this odd spare tire look on my sides. The center has flattened out nicely but the sides are very bruised and have a weird bump and look awful. I haven't seen or heard of anyone looking like this after. Will lthis smooth out? Will I always have that weird side indent/muffin top/spare tire? Have other patients had a similar look when coming out? Is it jsut swelling or a bad shape? Please help!    

Doctor Answers 10

Yes, no, yes, neither.

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It appears that you have either a hematoma (collection of blood under the skin) or a seroma (collection of tissue fluid under the skin).  In either case the blood and/or fluid needs to be removed. This can be aspirated or it may reqire opening you up again to fix it.  It should not look this way.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon

Bulge four days after tummy tuck

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Abdominoplasty after massive weight loss is a much harder procedure than most give credit.  Skin laxity is not just in the vertical direction but also substantially in the horizontal direction.  This usually means that a better result will be gained with the addition of a vertical scar to enable the surgeon to pull in the tissues from the side.  Four days is certainly too soon to judge the final result.  My concern is that you may well have a hematoma, or blood collection, under the skin.  I would strongly advise you to go see you surgeon as soon as possible to have this looked at. 

Jeffrey E. Kyllo, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

"Spare Tire" like swelling after TT!!!!???!

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It is always hard to tell for sure with only a picture, but my concern is that you have a fluid collection in the area.  This can either be a hematoma (blood) or seroma (serum fluid).  It should be addressed soon.

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Spare tire after TT

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with the amount of bruising you see, I bet it's simply bruising/swelling that will resolve over time. you need to be examined to r/o a drainable hematoma or seroma. BTW a fleur de lis incision leaves you with a vertical incision and an Upside down T of scar frought with problems. It is not a panacea and should be considered only in the most loose abdomens. if your surgeon thinks you need it later, it can always be revised. 

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Spare tire

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I would suggest you discuss your concerns with your surgeon.  He/she would best be suited to answer.  There may be a need to extend the incision laterally or consider a vertical component.

David A. Lickstein, MD
Palm Beach Gardens Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Swelling following tummy tuck

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I agree, you do have quite a bit of fullness around your scar.  The best advice will come from your surgeon as they will know what it looked like at the end of the operation.  This could be swelling from retained blood or fluid, in which case if it was drained, things will improve.  However, this could be excess tissue that was not excised, in which case, as Dr Jugenburg says, a vertical incision could have helped to bring this in. 

Go and see your surgeon and see what they say.  Good luck.

Tummy tuck swlling

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It is very early after your tummy tuck with the usual swelling.  Thing will definitely change over ime as the swelling decreases.  It appears that you had a large skin excess throughout.  Sometimes a circumferential abdominoplasty is indicated.  This may be done at a separate time.  With the procedure you had the incision had to stop somewhere and often there will be some extra on the sides.  However as I said you must wait until the swelling has gone down.

Lateral swelling after tummy tuck

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Four days as FAR too early to judge the results of a tummy tuck or any other aesthetic procedure. Keep in close contact with your surgeon, listen to what he says, obey his instructions and be patient!

J. Brian Boyd, MD
Rolling Hills Estates Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Bulging after a tummy tuck

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It would seem that you had a large weight loss and most likely a large pannus removed.  You had excess skin horizontally and transversely.  To address this problem a vertical incision would have been helpful to bring in the sides and flatten the 'spare tire'.  Is this something you discussed with your plastic surgeon as an option during the tummy tuck?


Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 519 reviews

Spare-tire-like swelling after tummy tuck

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Thanks for the photo.  It's a little hard to be sure, but I do see the fullness at the sides, and it looks like you have a bulge on either side of your belly-button area that may be 6 inches or so in diameter.

Fullness at the sides is to be expected when a patient with a large pannus has the pannus removed without removing the tissue on the sides or back (as is done with a circumferential abdominoplasty or lower body lift).  Not a complication, just the expected result.

However, the two large bulges in front (if that's what they are) almost look like fluid collections.  This is truly not the kind of thing we can help you with on the Internet.  You need to call your surgeon and ask if this is a problem.

James Nachbar, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

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.