Is This Swelling, a Little Fat, or Muscle Repair Loosening?

I am 12 weeks post op mommy makeover. I had no liposuction. My belly has certainly improved, but I still have a "donut"-like bulge around my belly button. I know at least some of it is swelling, since it gets worse as the day goes on. But I am concerned that the plications may have loosened. These pictures were taken relatively early in the morning. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 5

Bulge around belly button at 12 weeks.

At 12 weeks swelling should be decreasing. I would continue to follow closely with your plastic surgeon. Pl relay your concerns to him/her. More often than not, the solution is time but onoy a physical exam can accurately guide you.

Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Still a lot of swelling 12 weeks after abdominoplasty.

12 weeks after abdominoplasty there's still a lot of swelling. I would be patient and follow the trend of the contour issues that you are describing.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

It's probably best to visit your plastic surgeon to make sure that you don't have a fluid collection or hematoma.  If you do have some loose stitches they can be repaired during a revision.

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.
As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.
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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,486 reviews

Is This Swelling, a Little Fat, or Muscle Repair Loosening?

Unfortunately, no photos accompany this question. Any of your proposed issues could be responsible, but add also the possibility of a fluid collection (seroma). Even were there photos, an actual exam would be of much more value in determining the cause, so a visit to your surgeon seems like a better approach.

Thanks for your question, 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.