Had Tummy tuck, hernia repair and lipo 1 year ago - it is still a bulgy belly; normal? (Photos)

40 yr old, 115 lbs, 5'2" had surgery 11/12/2015. umbilical revision 8 weeks due to popping out. Exercise core regularly and eat healthy, but still have a bulgy belly. What do I do or tell my doctor? Is this ok? My muscles were in very bad shape before and I feel bad questioning outcome. Is this an end result expected for someone in my situation? He is a great doctor and so blessed that I didn't have any complications, but It has been "wait and see" type of checkups. Please advise?

Doctor Answers 3

Swelling or Bulging Belly One Year Post-Op

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

The best thing that you can do is visit your surgeon for an additional follow-up to help make sure whether it is swelling that will go down, or determine if something has gone wrong leaving the potential need for a revision. Since they would have the best detailed information on your case that is where the greatest advice would come from. Best of luck to you.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Bulge after tummy tuck


There is a great improvement in your shape, but you likely still have some abdominal wall laxity. Your surgeon may feel that he can tighten it more, which could be an option. However, sometimes to get from such laxity to a perfectly flat abdomen in one surgery is impossible given the huge defect you started with. Be sure to keep that line of communication open with your surgeon. 

Best wishes!

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

Ross Blagg, MD
Austin Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Bulge after tummy tuck...

Thank you for the question and pictures. Based on your photographs and description, I think that you have come a long way ( significant improvement achieved with your tummy tuck procedure). However, ongoing muscle laxity is most likely what is causing the "bulge".   If your plastic surgeon finds that this is the case (on exam), additional plication of the abdominal wall fascia  may be helpful when it comes to improving your outcome. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 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.