Had Tummy Tuck 27 Days Ago Swelling Never Decreases? (photo)

I had a Tummy Tuck with Lipo to Abd Flanks with Breast Lift on June 27th. From the first time I took my Binder off till today I have a round belly. It is not flat and has never been. People talk about swelling and that its better in the AM but mine stays the same all day. I wear my CG all the time. It is tight. I had a drain for 8 days post op and it was only draining about 25cc last 3-4 days. When I saw my PS about 2 weeks ago he thought there was a seroma and attempted to drain but no fluid.

Doctor Answers 12

Healing process lasts up to 1 year!

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The wound healing process following abdominoplasty lasts for over a year.  Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year.  The procedure inevitably interrupts the abdominal lymphatic drainage, and this takes time to re-establish itself.  Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on physical activity levels.  It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing, and should resolve with time.

            Significant swelling four weeks following abdominoplasty should be evaluated by your plastic surgeon.  In the vast majority of cases, this swelling is probably normal, but in a small percentage of patients it might represent a problem.  Seroma formation, low grade infection and separation of the muscle closure might be possible explanations for this swelling.  In some cases, a CT scan may be necessary to resolve this issue.  If you have concerns about persistent swelling, make sure you discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.


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Swelling is not uncommon after a tummy tuck and typically lasts quite a while. 80% has resolved by 3 months and the rest takes up to a year to resolve. You have to be patient with the healing process.Enjoy your new look!Sheila Nazarian

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Swelling after a tummy tuck

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More than likely you just have soft tissue swelling.  This can persist for up to 3 months after surgery.  The other possibility is a missed seroma.  If you feel like a water bag then a seroma is present and your plastic surgeon should be able to drain this in the office.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Mommy makeover and swelling

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  It is possible that the tissue of the upper abdomen had some thickness such that when redraped, it still would maintain some thickness and fluid. 

  Your fluid drainage is quite small in the post op period so the possibility of a seroma always needs to be ruled out.  If your doctor stuck a needle through the lower tissue and did not get any fluid (serum), then it is possible that you have a lot of fluid in the tissue itself.  You will  notice that the swelling is more at night than in the morning.  This is usual for even up to a year as your body builds new vessels to the muscles for drainage of the redraped tissue.

  Be patient.  However, if I am reading this right, you had your surgery 8 months ago.  If this is the case, then you have had a reasonable post op recovery time and it may be that the tissue is actual fat and would need some liposuction to get you the result that you want.

  Discuss this with your doctor and see what your options are at this point and in the future.

Postop Abdominal Swelling

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I am sorry to hear about your prolonged swelling.   Unfortunately lower abdominal swelling can take up to 3 months to resolve.   It would be helpful to see your before photos to assess where you started.   An ultrasound may be helpful if the swelling increases or does not improve to exclude any seroma pockets.


I wish you a safe and healthy recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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It can take at least 6 months for tummy tuck swelling to completely go away, and sometimes it can take a year. So since you're only 4 weeks out from surgery, you definitely have swelling.  And since your plastic surgeon was unable to drain any fluid, it's very unlikely that you have a seroma.

I know it's easier said than done, but try to be patient, continue wearing your compression garment, massage your abdomen daily, and keep your appointments with your surgeon. I hope that helps and wish you all the best!


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Without a examining you personally it’s hard to see what it can possible be. Swelling after surgery takes 6-9 months to see final results. If you’re using your compression garment that’s good that helps. Keep your follow up appointments and give your body time to heal.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS (in memoriam)
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Postoperative Swelling from Tummy Tuck

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From your photo, it does appear that there is a significant abdominal wall bulge, but this is difficult to see.  You could have postoperative swelling of the tissues, a recurrent seroma or fluid collection or an incomplete correction of the abdomen. Without seeing you pre-op and in person, we cannot tell. Revisit with your surgeon to get a better opinon or re-post more and better quality photos for more insight.

Best of luck,

Vincent Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tough to tell

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It is difficult to tell what you undesired contour could be but as the other doctors alluded to, it could simply be swelling fluid (edema).  However one possibility that has not been mentioned is a disruption of your diastasis repair or no facial plication at all.  If you do not trust your surgeon to give you an honest answer, they you may want to request a copy of the operative report which may give some clues as to what was exactly done.

However, my best guess at this point is that your swelling is normal and just takes time to come down to normal.  June 27 is still very recent.  I would not expect your swelling to go down for another 1-2 months.

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Had Tummy Tuck 27 Days Ago Swelling Never Decreases? (

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Thanks for your question and for the attached photo. Without a pre-op photo to compare, it is not easy to guess the cause.

Persistent fullness can be due to 

  • Incomplete abdominal wall correction (or loss of that correction)
  • Fluid collection-hematoma (blood) or seroma (fluid)
  • Incomplete thinning of the lower abdominal skin
  • Swelling

At this point in time you would do well to see your surgeon again, and if a seroma or hematoma is suspected, another try at aspiration is in order. With the limited information I have, this seems the likeliest. 

Continue with your compression garment and other post-op instructions from your surgeon. 

Thanks and best wishes.



Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle 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.