Could this be swelling or fluid after my tummy tuck? (Photo)

I am 17 days post op and my tummy appears to be extremely swollen. Do you think I have swelling or could this be fluid on my belly?

Doctor Answers 5

Swelling vs seroma

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Swelling is common up to 6-8 weeks post op depending on activity level and binder use. Drains usually reduce seroma (fluid) formation and are left in until the drainage decreases, typically 2 weeks.  Women that drink a lot of water or have low protein or anemia are more prone to fluid collection.  I recommend my patients have minimal activity and wear a tight binder for up to 6 weeks for maximum results.

Post Tummy Tuck

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It is common for your to have swelling and fluid retention this early in the healing process. It can easily take 3-6 months to see results. Follow up with your doctor for his advice and evaluation, fluid build up under the skin would require an in person examination. Good luck! Dean Vistnes.

M. Dean Vistnes, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Fluid or swelling 17 days after tummy tuck?

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Certainly at this point after tummy tuck you still have surgical swelling, but you could also have a seroma under your skin flaps. Either or both is possible, and examination by your surgeon is the only way to tell.

Did you have a drain or drains? Did your surgeon check you several days after your drain removal to see if any seroma accumulated? If not, make an appointment soon, as persistent seroma can inhibit healing and prevent adherence of the skin flaps to the underlying muscle layer.

Binders, girdles, or Spanx will not make a seroma go away, but your surgeon can aspirate it easily and painlessly (if indeed you have a seroma). If you do, it may take more than one aspiration, but the collection of fluid will gradually diminish and be done. BTW, this is why the drain(s) should not be removed too early, and why some surgeons who do not use drain(s) have seromas in their tummy tuck patients.

Call your surgeon and be seen; this is the only way to figure out what is going on, and plain old swelling could indeed be all that is happening. Go find out! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Swelling vs. Seroma after an abdominoplasty

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Difficult to know if this is swelling of your soft tissues or a seroma or collection of fluid under the skin.  If you feel fluid moving back and forth when you turn it may be a seroma.  Any questions see your plastic surgeon.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Could this be swelling or fluid after my tummy tuck?

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Only IN PERSON examination would allow a guess to if there is retained fluid... Also did you try weight loss prior? 

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.