Is This Swelling or is This my Final Result After TT? (photo)

I am 19 days post-abdominoplasty, which I did to improve my appearance after a 95 lb weight loss. If it's relevant, I also had a small umbilical hernia repair during the surgery. The swelling in the area I'm pointing to in the pictures, either lower abdomen or upper pubic region, is still quite significant to me. I'm wondering if this is normal, is this actually just swelling, or is this as "flat" as I should expect to get. Thank you for your opinions!

Doctor Answers 11

Swelling after tummy tuck (photos)

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Great to hear from someone in my hometown of Bowie, MD!  Your lower abdominal fullness 19 days after abdominoplasty is normal.  This swelling represents soft tissue fluid from transection of primary lymphatic drainage routes by the lower abdominal scar, seroma (fluid collection beneath the abdominoplasty flap), or both of the above.  You can count on a flatter lower abdomen with further healing and passage of time.  Your final result develops over six months or longer.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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It generally takes a minimum of 4-6 weeks for all of the swelling to resolve after a tummy tuck.  For some patients it can take a few months particularly if there are any wound healing issues.  It is much too early to make any judgements about your results right now.  Typically the final regions to lose their swelling are the lower abdomen and pubic regions.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon

Appearance 19 days after tummy tuck is not final outcome

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Hi there-

It is difficult to say how much the specific are you are concerned about will change over time, but I can confidently tell you that at 19 days you have still not achieved the final result.

There is undoubtedly some residual swelling and healing that needs to occur before you should be concerned about any imperfections.

Follow your surgeons instructions and try not to panic about what you see until he tells you you have reached full healing.

Tummy Tuck Results?

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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.

Swelling takes time to go down after a tummy tuck

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At 19 days after surgery, it is way too early to be worried about your final result. You definitely have some residual swelling from surgery that will take several months to completely go down.  It takes 3-4 months for most of the swelling to completely subside after abdominoplasty surgery and some patients will take even longer. Continue to wear your garment as instructed by your surgeon.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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It appears that you still have some swelling. I tell my patients that they may be swollen for several months after surgery. You should continue to wear a compression garment or even Spanks to help reduce the swelling. It is also a good idea to have your surgeon take a look at things on your next visit to make sure everything is healing well.

Abdominal swelling after a Tummy Tuck

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If you are only 19 days, you are still swollen and your abdomen will continue to shrink.  The lower area of the abdomen tends to swell the most and for the longest.  Typically this is most prominent just above the scar line as well as in the pubic region.  Compression typically helps to minimize this.  But it usually takes at least 3 months for the swelling to be  mostly gone.   You should also be sure to check with your Plastic Surgeon to be sure that you don't have a fluid collection called a seroma.

Daniel P. Markmann, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Concerned about swelling of abdomne at 19 days postoperatively

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AT 19 days post tummy tuck you are still extremely early in the healing and maturation. It can take 9 months to a years for most all of this swelling to subside and for you to see what the more long term result may be. Be patient!

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

Is This Swelling or is This my Final Result After TT? (photo)

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Only 19 days WAY to early to discuss residual swelling or tissue. Be patient and wait on the result for at least 3 months. 

You are early....

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At least some of what you are seeing is swelling at your early stage. You need to wait it out for at least a few months to start to see an early result. With lipo there is more swelling as well.



Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange 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.