Tummy Tuck Gone Wrong? (photo)

Almost 5 months out and my tummy looks a hot mess.. Well let me start off like this I had a full Tt back in July 2012. I had my surgery that morning and I was home that evening with drains and pain meds... I was somewhat flat the first couple of days and then swell hell. and that was 5 months ago and I'm still dealing with it.. So I go in to see my ps and she tells me that I have gained 6 lbs and that's why my tummy looks this way ..... Advice please what is going on?

Doctor Answers 13

Sources for abdominal fullness after tummy tuck


Thank you for the question and photos.  There are several possible reasons for abdominal fullness after a tummy tuck including: weight gain, swelling, seroma/pseudobursa, abdominal wall laxity, excess fat.  It would be helpful to see your before photos as well as some type of insight into how you looked like during your recovery period.  At 5 months most of the swelling should be gone.  If you have gained weight I would encourage your to get back to your initial weight or lower and then you can further assess your tummy tuck result.  Excess fat can be liposuctioned while abdominal wall laxity and pseudobursa will have to be surgically repaired/removed.

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 153 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

Your tummy looks good for having had surgery, but your fullness is likely related to excess body weight and perhaps not aggressive enough muscle tightening.  I recommend weight loss and exercise to maximize your contours and if you still have a bulge consider a revision with more aggressive muscle plication.

Expectations following an abominoplasty

Most of your swelling should be gone by 5 months.  You have included only your post op photographs, seeing your pre-operative photos would be very helpful.  Some times an abdominplasty must be staged, in other words, you may need more aggressive liposuctioning of the trunk and then some secondary tightening of the skin.   It is just hard to say without seeing what you looked like prior to surgery.  Your plastic surgeon is in the best position to know what needs to be done to take you to a level of satisfaction with your surgery.   It is our task to guide our patients through the procedure and let give them reasonable expectations.  At the end of the day we want our patients to be able to look in the mirror and say I got what I thought I was going to get.   I hope you find yourself in that position.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Not Happy after Tummy Tuck...

I'm sorry to hear about your disappointment after tummy tucks surgery. 2 pieces of "information” will be very valuable then evaluating your situation:  your preoperative photographs as well as your current  physical examination should provide enough information as to figure out “what is going on” and what can be done to improve your situation.

 For your own peace of mind, it sounds like you may benefit from in-person consultation with other Board certified plastic surgeons as well.

 Best wishes.

Minimal Swelling Could Persist for 12 Months

Several conditions could explain your post-operative findings.These include weight gain, residual subcutaneous fat, residual intra-abdominal fat, muscle repair dehiscence, chronic seroma formation and residual swelling.Unfortunately, without pre-operative pictures or a physical examination it’s almost impossible to differentiate these conditions.
Even after five months residual swelling can still be a significant problem for post-operative abdominoplasty patients.It’s not unusual for patients to complain of fullness and swelling for several months following abdominoplasty. The wound healing process following this procedure lasts for over a year.Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amount of swelling may persist for up of a year.
Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on activity levels.It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time.
It important that you maintain close contact with your plastic surgeon until this situation resolves.If you’re not happy with his care, a second opinion is reasonable

Tummy Tuck Gone Wrong?

It is hard to render an opinion with only post-op photos. From the looks of the photos, there is probably a lot of intraabdominal excess fat, and that is not accessible to the plastic surgeon--only weight loss can resolve that. 

The skin contour looks OK, and the navel scar looks if anything better than average. Please consider adding some pre-surgery photos, and a better online evalutation will be possible.

By five months, most or all swelling is likely gone. 

Thanks, best wishes.

Unhappy after tummy tuck

There can be many causes for persistant lower abdominal fullness after tummy tuck, as swelling should be clear by five months. A second consultation might help you sort things out.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Tummy Tuck post-op

Based on your photos, I recommend you consult with your Plastic Surgeon.  It would also be helpful to see your before photos.  After 5 months, it is unusual to have swelling.  This is something you should discuss with your doctor, or seek a second opinion.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Swelling

   If there is a concern that someone looks the same before and after surgery, preop and postop photos may give some insight into this evaluation.

Tummy tuck

Pre operative photographs would be very helpful here. Your result looks good. You may require some lipo at a later time

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 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.