I Had a Tummy Tuck 5 Days Ago. I Have No Drain Coming out my Stomach Isnt Flat. Is This My Final Result? (photo)

well today is day 5 i feel worst then day two, my stomach is huge i have more strtech marks on my side then i did before.as well as my draining tube isnt draining an i feel like im having muscle spasms i will be sleeping an its when your where sleeping your leg moves without you realizing it that is what is happening inside my stomach it hurts im 11 pounds heavier an i look an feel awful i feel like there is a baby moving around in my stomach :( please help

Doctor Answers 9

Final result after TT

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Your result will not be final until probably a year after your surgery so please don't worry now about how you look; it's much too early. However, it sounds as if you have some specific concerns that you should discuss with your surgeon and if your drain isn't draining, you probably need to visit your surgeon so it can be checked. So call the office and set up an appointment soon.

Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

Issues 5 days after a tummy tuck

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Five days is extremely early in the healing process. It can take up to a year for the swelling to fully resolve though by 4 - 6 months you will have a better idea regarding your situation. The weight gain is a result of both fluid retention from swelling as well as what was given to you during surgery. Given your comments, another concern may be an accumulation of fluid deep to the skin flap, known as a seroma.

You should contact your plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns as well as make sure that he/she are keeping a relatively close eye on you.

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

Tummy Tuck Results after 5 Days

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After 5 days, it is too early to judge the results. It will take a few weeks to months for the swelling to resolve.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery?

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Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to follow up with your plastic surgeon with specific questions and concerns. For example, he/she may want to evaluate the drain with no output.

I hope some general words of advice will be helpful...

It is not uncommon for patients who undergo the procedure to experience severe “mood swings”. These emotions may range from depression ( “why did I do this to myself”) to elation (which may lead to over activity). I think it is helpful to be aware that these emotional swings do occur postoperatively. 

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.

In regards to your weight gain It is normal for patients to “retain” fluid after surgery. This will throw off your weight calculations until the fluid is mobilized ( and excreted). This may take a few weeks to complete.

Again, it will be in your best interest to see a plastic surgeon for evaluation and probable reassurance ( much more effectively than can be accomplished online).

Best wishes.


Is This My Final Result? (photo)

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You absolutely need to call your surgeon's office to raise each of these issues.  You are in the very early post-surgical period.  Please thank your surgeon for getting you through a major procedure safely.  Be sure you follow all instructions to avoid medical complications.  Do not even concern yourself with the aesthetic result until at least one month following the procedure.  At that time, write down any concerns you have, and review at the next appointment with your surgeon.

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

Drains and Tummy Tucks

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Thank you for your post. Whenever there is a potential space in your body, your body tends to fill that space with serous fluid (the yellow type of fluid that also comes out of a 'weeping wound'. This is similar to when you get a blister: the layers of skin separate and fluid is deposited in to the space. In a tummy tuck, the space is in between the skin/fat layer and the muscle layer. Most surgeons will place a drain to remove this fluid while your body is secreting it until the fat layer grows back together with the muscle layer. At that point, no more fluid is secreted into the area, because there is no more space for fluid. The length of time that this takes varies from patient to patient. Some patients heal much faster, thus the layers seal together much faster. Also, the more twisting motion you have in your belly area, the slower the two layers grow back together because they are moving in relation to each other. The fluid coming through the drain can be initially dark red, and eventually clears to pink then yellow. This is because it takes just a little bit of blood to make the fluid dark red. Also, initially, there can be a large amount of fluid (few hundred cc's in the first day is not out of the range of normal) and this should slow down substantially over next few days. Once the fluid slows down to the amount that your surgeon is comfortable with (usually 25-50 cc in 24 hours) then they will be pulled. There is minimal discomfort in pulling the drain in most patients.
More recently, 'drain free' surgery has become more popular. Fat layer is sutured down to the muscle layer starting at the ribs and progressively down to the lower incision. This makes the space for the fluid to collect much smaller, and in many patients can have surgery without drains. However, I have seen multiple patients come from other surgeons because they developed a seroma despite the suturing of the tissue. This is not the surgeon's fault, but some patients just do not heal fast enough or put out too much fluid for the body to absorb.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

5 days out from tummy tuck...is this the final result?

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Following a tummy tuck, it is not uncommon to weigh more than you did prior to the procedure.  The tummy tuck causes trauma to the surrounding tissue and your body responds by inflammation (swelling) to start the process of repair.  You will be swollen for weeks and it takes months for the swelling to resolve.  The stretch marks that you can see on your flanks is the result of the tissue being removed from the anterior abdominal wall and the subsequent swelling ie, there is no room in the front for the swelling, so it goes to the point of least resistance, your flanks.  Do not worry, if you follow a sensible diet after the tummy tuck, all of this additional weight will go away.  Let us know how you are doing several months and one year out so that others can hear about the longer term results.

Swelling 5 days after tummy tuck is normal

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Hi Christina. Swelling 5 days after a tummy tuck is completely normal. Swelling can last as long as 3-6 months. I strongly advise you to continue wearing your compression garment, follow your board certified plastic surgeon's recommendations, and keep all your appointments with your surgeon.

I hope you're doing well and wish you all the best!

Tummy tuck recovery

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It is vital for patients to remember that even though tummy tucks are done for cosmetic reasons, they are still invasive surgical procedures.  There are risks and, in many cases uncomfortable recovery periods.  All patients who undergo a tummy tuck can expect to experience pain, swelling, bruising, weight gain, and some difficulty with activities of daily living for at least a few days.  Most plastic surgeons still prefer to use drains, and leave them in place until the daily output is less than 30cc per 24 hour period.  It takes roughly 4-6 weeks for all of the swelling to subside, and a year for the scars to take on their final appearance.  Thus, five days is much too early to make any judgements about the final results.  If your drainage has stopped and you sense that you abdominal shape is changing, your drains may be clogged.  You should discuss this situation with your plastic surgeon immediately to clarify that you are not developing a fluid collection called a seroma.



Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City 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.