Tummy Not As Flat As After Mini-tummy Tuck Surgery?

I am 4 wks out from a mini tummy tuck. I had to have a drain inserted for a seroma that developed. I had the drain removed at the beginning of the week. Now it seems my stomach is not as flat as it was after surgery. Is this normal swelling? Should I give my recovery a full yr before I panic?

Doctor Answers 7

Swelling after surgery

Since you've had a seroma, you are still recovering and this may have contributed to swelling, which already existed since you're only 4 weeks out. Wait for a couple of months before you assess your results. Your body needs time to heal.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

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.

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

Mini tummy tuck swelling

Swelling is a common post-op occurrence for all surgeries. But, if you had a drain placed becasue of fluid collecting, this may contribute to your issues.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Results after a mini tummy tuck surgery

A mini tummy tuck is a safe and effective procedure that can create a more contoured abdomen, a tight waist and a beautiful figure.

Patients who receive the surgery should be aware of the significant recovery process afterwards. This may consist of swelling, bruising, and discomfort and the possibility of developing collections such as a seroma. It is likely that after your postoperative course your body will require a little more time to heal. Be sure that you relay your concerns with your plastic surgeon as they will want to assess you to determine that you are progressing as expected.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 102 reviews

Swelling after seroma drainage following mini tummy tuck

You may have a recurrence of the seroma or may have normal swelling. Your surgeon is best equipped to provide the answer.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Swelling after mini-tummy tuck

I wish I could see your pre-surgery photos. A mini tummy tuck will only address the lower part of your abdomen (the part below your belly button).  Therefore, if you had weak abdominal muscle or loose skin and fat above the umbilicus, they will not be corrected after a mini tummy tuck.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

? Recurrent seroma after a Mini Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tucks are NOT equivalent. A Mini Tummy Tuck flattens ONLY the skin BELOW the belly button NOT above it. Your Tummy may not appear flat to you because the area above the belly button has not been addressed by this operation. Alternatively, you may have re formed a seroma giving the appearance of fullness. You need to see your surgeon and discuss this with him.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 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.