How Can I Tell If I Have Weight Gain or If It's Just Swelling After Tummy Tuck?

I had a full tummy tuck,lipo of flanks,thighs on1/20/11. I had low swelling but from 3 to 6 months I was swelling face, hands, legs tummy. went down for a short time.I had a revision not able to exercise for 1 week. swell was almost gone.I started exercising again and swelled allover again, I am up 15 or so lbs from surgery weight, but eating better, 2 hours exercise daily. My PS says I am not swelling, I need to lose 15 to get him to do my revision. what could be going on, what can I do to lose the weight? Is it fat or swell?

Doctor Answers 8

Swelling Versus Weight Gain

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This far out from surgery a 15 pound increase in weight is weight gain, not swelling.  Most patients find that they have lost weight by 3-4 months; certainly by 6 months.  There is something else going on that is not a result of your surgery.  You may want to see a nutritionist if you are exercising 2 hours a day and still not losing weight.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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Swelling should be resolved by nine months after abdominoplasty. Look for other causes of fullness if it persists.

Steve Laverson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Concerned about 15 pound weight gain 8 months after tummy tuck and liposuction

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Swelling from your procedures can take up to a year to maximally resolve. You are 8 months postoperatively from the primary procedures so at this point in time, there should be a negligible amount of weight associated with the swelling. If everything were constant, you should at worst weight your preoperative weight minus the weight of the tissue removed. Therefore, you have put on additional weight of in excess of 15 pounds since then which you will have to lose.

In order to address this, you will have to both diet in a serioius fashion as well as burn off substantially more calories per day. Good luck!


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

Swelling or weight gain after tummy tuck

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At 6 months or more postop, there still may be slight swelling but not 15#.  You might consider asking your surgeon to show you your preop photos and postops, if you had any taken, and compare the pictures to current ones.  Sometimes that helps show if you have any changes elsewhere on your body from weight gain, since we all tend to forget how we looked months ago.

Weight gain probably due to lack of exercise

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To experience such weight gain this many months after your tummy tuck and liposuction, I would think that it is due to lack of proper dieting and exercise.  You should not have 15 pounds weight gain from post op swelling at this point.  I recommend controlling your diet and getting plenty of exercise at this point.

James Tang, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
3.4 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Weight gain vs swelling after tummy tuck

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Swelling can last up to six months after a tummy tuck but most of it is usually subsided by three to four months.  It is not likely that more than six months later that swelling will account for more than five pounds.  A fiftteen pound excess is likely due to weight gain.  

Body contouring surgery including tummy tucks and liposuction are not alternatives to a healthy lifestyle.  I often recommend consulting a nutritionist and trainer after surgery in order to maintain the results and establish new habit for healthy and beautiful living.

Adam Hamawy, MD
Princeton Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Swelling versus weight gain

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It is difficult to know without examination or photos.  Certainly could be a little of both.  If you weigh the same or more now than you did before surgery than there is a weight gain component to the issue.  Your weight 6 months after surgery should be less than your weight before your surgery by the amount of fat removed by liposuction and through removal of tissue during the tummy tuck.

All the best,

Dr Repta

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


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It's normal for swelling to last six months, a year, or even more in some cases.  Weight changes can cause some of what you're describing as well.  It's hard to advise you without an exam and, if you're concerned, then there's nothing wrong sith getting someone else's opinion.  Good Luck!  Scott Newman, MD FACS

Scott E. Newman, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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.