Swelling of Hips with Abdominoplasty Normal?

7 1/2 weeks ago I had an abdominoplasty with muscle tightening and lipo of the flanks. I'm still seeing swelling of the flanks with no real contour showing yet. But the skin on one hip is also swollen and numb for about a four inch vertical area. Is this normal? What would cause it when no lipo was done there?

Doctor Answers 10

Swelling afterTummy Tuck can last for months

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Swelling is a normal part of the healing process and can last for months after a cosmetic surgery.  With a Tummy Tuck, the swelling can be prounounced for several weeks and improve over the next several months. It can take 9-12 months to really see the final results of your cosmetic surgery. You are specifically asking about the swelling in your hips.  You need to check with your surgeon to see eactly what he did during the surgery.  I routinely perform liposuction of the hips and flanks during my tummy tucks and this can result in swelling of this area that will take some time to improve.  If your surgeon did this, this may explain some of the things you are complaining about.  You may need to be a little more patient and give it a few more months before you decide you are "unhappy."  In reare instances, revision surgery may be needed to get the shape you want.  Make sure to keep an open dialogue with your surgeon during the healing process so you can discuss what is normal and what is not normal.

Swelling and numbness after tummy tuck is normal

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What you are experiencing is entirely normal so don't worry. You are still quite early in the healing process during which you will still be having swelling as well as numbness. It can take up to a year for the swelling to maximally subside and even longer for any areas of numbness to maximally improve.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

7 and 1/2 weeks is not a long time...

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As the other surgeons have pointed out, swelling and numbness can occur and last for several months after a tummy tuck.  We would expect you to be swollen, and without a lot of definition in the flanks, if you just had liposuction there.  Understand that none of us know exactly what procedures you had in the operating room.  The numbness could be explained by the liposuction or the tummy tuck, and is likely temporary.  However, I would suggest that you check with your surgeon to find out if the leg numbness makes sense at this point.   It may be that message therapy or a compression garment could help if you are not already wearing one.  Good Luck!!!

Daniel Sherick, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Swelling after abdominoplasty

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Your still swollen at this time. It takes about 3 months for the swelling to go away. Be carefull with your clothes as tight fitting waistbands can sometimes leave you a little lopsided early on though this usually goes away. Try to avoid salt as well. The numbness is also normal for now. Try to massage the area as it will help the nerves to grow back more normally. Good luck.

Tummy tuck recovery

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Swelling and numbness is to be expected at this point in your recovery. This may take several more months (possibly over a year) to improve. The numbness is related to the dissection that has been done (and division of sensory nerves). The swelling is also likely related to surgical trauma/inflammation etc.

If you have localized swelling you may want to see your surgeon for evaluation to rule out seroma (a fluid collection that may require drainage).

Best wishes.

Post TT recovery

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Dear KylieB,

Sounds like your right where we should be on your recovery.  The swelling and numbness is not unusual at this stage.  Some of my patients enjoy Endermologie which seems to help some of the swelling and soreness resolve sooner.  Keep your follow up appointments and remember the worst is behind you.  Best wishes

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after surgery

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Swelling is normal after surgery.  Some people have more and some people have less.  Without seeing before and after pictures or examining you in person, it is impossible to give you specific recommendations.  If you have a localized fullness, then you may have a seroma or fluid collection that can be drained in the office.


Good Luck.

Swelling is Expected After Tummy Tuck And Liposuction

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It takes three to six months for your surgical results to settle after a tummy tuck and flank liposuction. The scar can take three months to two years to reach it's best quality. Patience is required so as not to worry excessively.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck and liposuction

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Swelling after a tummy tuck can take 3 to 4 months to resolve. It can take up to six months to see a noticable difference after liposuction, so patience is needed. Numbness in most cases will also resolve with time. Occasionally massage around the flank area will help resolve the swelling.


Isolde Hertess, MD
Gold Coast Plastic Surgeon

Swelling and Numbness after a Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

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Dear KylieB,  Given that you are only 7 1/2 weeks out from your tummy tuck procedure, it is very common to have both swelling and numbness at this stage.  There is always some swelling after trauma including surgery but after an abdominoplasty, the swelling in the lower abdomen and hips lasts a bit longer than other surgeries.  This is because during an tummy tuck, the incision divides many of the lymphatic vessels that drain the abdominal fat and skin.  Until these vessels recover, it is very common to have some puffiness and swelling above the incision and over the hips.  This is a process that can take weeks to months but will go away with time as long a there are  no other problems such as a seroma. I agree with Dr. Schuster in that massage can help with your symptoms.  I would suggest finding a skilled lymphatic massage therapist who can help you with this problem.

Numbness after a tummy tuck is also common since some of the sensory nerves are divided and others are under tension.  With time, the nerves will heal and your numbness will decrease.  Nerves heal very slowly so this process may take months to years.   Good Luck.

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 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.