Swelling or Fat After Tummy Tuck?

I am about 4 months out from an extended tummy tuck with NO liposuction at all. I exercise 6 days/week and follow a rigorous diet. I was hoping to compete in a female bodybuilding contest, however my new shape seems oddly proportioned. My flanks and lower back above my incision seem puffy. That area is usually where I store fat, however I am at my lowest weight ever, and still looking puffy. Did extra fat cells grow there?? or could I still be swollen at four months post op?

Doctor Answers 6

Puffy after extended abdominoplasty

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It is not uncommon for patients to have some residual swelling 4-6 months after a tummy tuck. Give it more time to heal.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


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Photographs would be very helpful.  Bt by 4 months the majority of swelling should gone from your surgery. No, new fat cells do not usually occur until a patient is >100% over ideal body weight.


May I suggest you return to your surgeon and request the address your concerns. Some surgeons stage TT and Lipo as part of their practices. This is very common as it often reduces the cost, recovery time and risks of abdominoplastys. It is not always in the best interest of the patient. If you are not satisfied with their response consider a consult with a member of the ASAPS in your area. They are experts in corrective cosmetic surgery. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

Puffiness in flanks and lower back 4 months after tummy tuck

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You definitely can still have some swelling that is contributing to the puffiness but you also may have a little residual fat at the edges of the tummy tuck that need to either be liposuctioned or cut out.  A quick exam by your surgeon will tell the difference.  

Swelling or Fat After Tummy Tuck?

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Thanks for the question. It’s hard to imagine how you looked like before and how you look like now and therefore any answer will be futile. I can however notice that after an extended Tummy tuck the expectation to complete for female body building contest is little bit over ambitious and is a reflection of expectations beyond achievable results. I am sure you will continue to improve .You must consider either reposting your question with photos or remaining in touch with your PS.

Swelling or fat after tummy tuck

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You could still be swollen and this can continue for a few more months. An extended tummy tuck does not deal with all of your back,so without photos, I can't offer an opinion on that.

Swelling or Fat After Tummy Tuck?

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Your question really cannot be properly answered without photos, preferable from both before and after your surgery. Unless you had an extended tummy tuck or belt lipectomy, the flanks and back would be beyond any area of treatment assuming no liposuction.

Please consider reposting your question with photos.  All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle 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.