Tummy Tuck Swelling After 10 Weeks

I want to know if this swelling looks normal for 10 weeks after tummy tuck my doctor says its not fluid he inserted a needle in my abdomen and nothing came out so im wondering if this is normal swelling is just in the lower abdomen?

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling after a tummy tuck

Without seeing more pictures as well as the progress you have made since surgery, it is difficult to tell what is "normal".  Residual swelling at 10 weeks is not uncommon, although the majority of swelling is gone by 6 weeks.  I tell my patients that they will not see their final results until at least the 3 month mark and sometimes as long as 6 months.  

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck

As was stated previously, the majority of the swelling following a tummy tuck resolves by 3-4 weeks, but in the lowest portion of the tummy tuck (right above the incision) it may persist for 6 months.  This is due to the fact that this area is the lowest part of the tummy tuck and all the fluid from the swelling in the tissues will fall down to the lowest area.  Also, during the surgery this area is the one that is furthest away from the untouched blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, so it takes the longest for the swelling to recede.  You can usually tell  by looking at and touching the skin and seeing that it is fuller than the surrounding areas and has a doughy or firm feel to it.  This will improve with time, and it sounds like your surgeon is following this concern closely with you.  Best wishes.

Luis Zapiach, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tummy tuck Swelling?

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 1,484 reviews

Persistent swelling 10 weeks after tummy tuck

Although most of the swelling after tummy tuck subside within 6 weeks, it can persist for a longer time period.  Due to gravity, the lower abdomen can have more swelling than the rest of the abdomen.  Be patient and follow your plastic surgeon's instructions.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Swelling 10 weeks Post Op

I would not get concerned yet.  I am certain your PS knows all about your specific case and can tell you what is normal and what is not. It may be to your benefit, if you still have a fair amount of swelling, to continue to wear your garment longer than you were planning.  That couldn't hurt one way or the other.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews


The persistence of swelling is very variable and can last over 10 weeks. Try and be patient with this and continue to follow up with your physician.

Marc Schneider, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling

It's difficult to say without examining you, but swelling 10 weeks after tummy tuck is common and to be expected. From your description it sounds as though your surgeon has considered the possibility of a seroma (a pocket of swelling fluid) and found none. Give it some more time. Good luck!

Mark Preston, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Swelling after tumm tuck

Swelling can persist in a tummy tuck for several months after surgery.  You have to be patient and give it more time.  Follow closely with your doctor. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling after 10 weeks

It is difficult to tell just from one picture without being able to examine you, but is not unusual to still have some residual swelling at 10 weeks.  It may be residual fluid which will eventually be absorbed.  The final results will not be fully reached until at least the 6 month mark. 

Lawrence C. Lin, MD
Long Island 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.