Swelling 5 Months Post TT? I Look a Couple Months Pregnant From the Side.

I had my tummy tuck almost exactly 5 month's ago... I have no pain, I exercise frequently 5+ days per week but I still have a slight bulge from a little above my navel down to the incision area.. I am a male and from the side I look a couple month's pregnant I called my doctor and he has said just let it "run its course" p.s. my job requires me to go over seas, so right now I won't be able to see my doctor for at least another 10 month's

Doctor Answers 5

Swelling after tummy tuck

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I think before and after photo will help... Your bulge may be due to the thickness of fatty layer, fluid collection, or stretching of muscle.  You should discuss with your plastic surgeon who can examine you in person and can come up with best method to address your bulge.

There are several potential sources for this

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Thank you for the question.  There are a handful of potential sources.  If your plastic surgeon performed abdominal wall tightening there is a chance that the top portion of the abdomen was tightened more than the bottom. If you experienced a seroma after your surgery it may be that you developed a pseudo bursa.  These would be my first bets on what is causing the issue of course there are a few others but a precise diagnosis would at least require evaluation of your before and  after photos.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta 

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews


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5 months post-surgery is too soon to see final results. You are still very swollen and wearing a compression garment can help reduce that. It takes 9-12 months for the swelling to completely subside specially on males.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

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Sweling 5 months after Tummy Tuck

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Your PS says "let it run its course" but when did he/she see you? Did he examine you in person? It is best to see your surgeon before you go overseas. You may have normal swelling, some residual fat, or a fluid collection (seroma) that needs to be drained. You should not accept that response from your surgeon without being examined first.

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

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It is unfortunate that you are not able to see your doctor for direct examination, to rule out complications, and to obtain the best advice or reassurance possible. Online  consultants cannot take the place of  in-person consultation.

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.
I hope this helps.

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.