Why Do I Look Pregnant 4.5 Weeks PO? (photo)

I am a little over 4 weeks PO a FTT/MR/ Lipo of flanks. Since PO day one I noticed a bulge above my bb and was told it was swelling, now that my swelling has gone down in the mornings, I can clearly see the bulge is still there. My belly is not flat at all even with my garment on? What happened? I know it is still early, but I am almost certain this development will not go away. I am 4'11" and weigh 118lbs (same as preop). Have you ever seen this? Can this be fixed?

Doctor Answers 8

Intra-Abdominal Fat

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Thank you for your question. A tummy tuck tightens the six pack muscles and removes hanging skin. Liposuction of the flansk can be added to help define the waist.  It does not treat the visceral or intra-abdominal fat around your organs.  Your photos suggest that you have some intra-abdominal fat preventing flattening of your stomack.  When the muscles are tightened during the tummy tuck the visceral fat is either pushed up above the belly button and to the sides.  In order to improve your results  you will need to lose the intra-abdominal fat with diet and exercise.  Your results should improve significantly.  All the best.

Bulge after tummy tuck

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So far so good.  The slight bulge above the umbilicus is not abnormal and usually has to do with soft tissues that are saved in that area to protect the blood supply to the belly button.  If the contour persists after a few months you may want to ask your surgeon about some touch-up liposuction.

Why Do I Look Pregnant 4.5 Weeks PO?

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To me the result appears very acceptable as seen in the posted photos. I can not see the issue. Best to obtain in person second opinions. 

Early swelling following an abdominoplasty

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You are still very early after your abdominoplasty.  Soft tissue swelling is not unusual and can take up to 3 months to resolve.  Follow your plastic surgeons advice and I would feel confident that you will get a nice final result.  

Swelling after

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Swelling and undesirable contour deformities are usually temporary and sometimes can take 6 months to a year to completely resolve. Occasionally, there are undesirable side affects and complications that can occur that may be permanent and may require a secondary procedure to remedy the situation. It is usually best to allow the healing process to evolve to help sort out whether or not the problem is temporary.  Furthermore, time is also important even when a secondary procedure may me necessary so that the operated tissue has an opportunity to become less inflamed  Finally, there are times when a situation comes up that may force the surgeon to operate sooner than is desirable because the benefits of operating sooner out weigh the downsides of waiting.  This decision is best made by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.

Tummy Tuck

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Hi there,

I think that it looks like you have had a nice result following surgery.  It is very early and you have to expect swelling and give it time to settle down.  I would expect that once you go back to your surgeon for your follow up appointments they will confirm everything is going well.  

Kind regards,



Why Do I Look Pregnant 4.5 Weeks PO

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For some reason these photos are not enlarging when clicked, and it is hard to interpret much due to the small size. 

I do see a nice improvement and what looks like a properly performed TT. I really cannot see enough detail of the upper abdomen to comment. I can say that there are limitations to how tight the abdominal muscles can be made--the abdominal contents cannot safely be compressed. 

All the best.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Healing after plastic surgery

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Healing takes one year.  You are absolutely normal at 4 weeks.  NORMAL is swelling.  There are so many swelling related questions on this site.  This is real and big time surgery.  Please listen carefully to your surgeons discussion pre op.   The surgeon does the surgery and YOU do the healing.  My Best    Dr C




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.