Tummy Tuck Swelling 1 year Post?

Is it abnormal to still have swelling in my abdomen after a year of surgery? My tummy swell and it looks like I'm a few months pregnant. At the same time, I feel very tire as it occurs, normally around 1:00 or 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Isn't weird for my stomach to swell at the same time everyday? I would greatly appreciated your timely response. Thank you in advance for your advice.

Doctor Answers 13

#TummyTuck Swelling 1 year Post? ANS:

You haven't stated your age but I have had a few patients over 50 that have had bloating and swelling for years!!! But I know that can be an issue for women in general so I have never been able to tell if it was because of the TT or just that it is easier to notice know that the tummy is flat...But yes, I have seen it...

Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tummy Tuck Swelling 1 year Post?

Most swelling is resolved by 3 to 6 months, occasionally longer. I hesitate to guess here without at least a photo, and some info such as age, height and weight. 

The intermittent nature suggests something within the abdominal cavity itself. It is hard to imagine anything in the abdominal skin or muscle that can change regularly this late. 

A word with your surgeon would be a good starting point, and you might expect to be referred to your primary physician if nothing obvious is found.

Thanks for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Very Unlikely For There to be Swelling 1 Year After Tummy Tuck

It is very unlikely for there to be any appreciable swelling 1 year after tummy tuck surgery. 

In most cases, the majority of post-operative swelling is resolved between 3 and 6 months after surgery

Possible causes for swelling after tummy tuck could be a seroma (collection of fluid between the skin and abdominal wall) or a weakening or break in the sutures that were used to tighten the abdominal wall during the procedure. 

An evaluation with your surgeon would be best and would likely provide you with a quick answer to your question.

David P. Stapenhorst, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Not Likely to be Swelling!

At this point it would be extremely difficult to blame your appearance on "post-operative swelling".  Your surgeon should investigate what is going on with a sonogram first possibly followed by a CT scan.  It is likely that you have a residual collection of fluid beneath your abdominal wall or less likely separation of the rectus muscles or an actual hernia.  In any case, once the diagnosis is made fixing the situation shouldn't be too difficult. 

Eric Sadeh, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Swelling one year after abdominoplasty

Swelling one year after abdominoplasty /(remaining bulky tummy)

Usually, visible postoperative edema is resolved after one year. 

Possible causes: Seroma, Hernia, other possibility: Lymph edema, 
or even fat tissue . I suggest  an ABDOMINAL WALL ULTRASOUND and that you return to your plastic surgeon for followup but also consult with your primary doctor. 

Ricardo Vega, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Swelling after tummy-tuck

Swelling after tumy-tuck can last up to four months but anything beyond that is simply not swelling. Accordingly it need to be investigated. Whitout more information, pictures and examination whatever anyone says is a guess.

M. Vincent Makhlouf, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


It would be extremely unusual to have swelling that long after an abdominoplasty. If you had sutures tear/break early on this could cause bulging, but it should have been present earlier. I suggest you see your surgeon again. A CT scan might be helpful to delineate cause or rule out seroma or hernia.

Good luck.

Gregory A. Sexton, M.D.

Columbia, S.C.

Gregory Sexton, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Swelling one year after abdominoplasty

Unless you have a seroma which has not resolved or an uncorrected hernia, the symptoms you described would not be related to the tummy tuck. I suggest that you return to your plastic surgeon for followup but also consult with your internist and gynecologist. You may need a medical workup for a completely different problem.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Tummy tuck swelling can last for 6 months

It is not unusual to have swelling from a tummy tuck for at least 6 months.  The healing process can last up to a year and it is possible to still see some swelling after 6 months.  It sounds like the swelling you are describing is different since it comes and goes.  You should see your plastic surgeon.

Good Luck

Dev Wali, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Prolonged swelling after tummy tuck

It's always more helpful to have photos but just based on your description it's still unusual to have significant swelling 1 year after surgery. You need to go back to the surgeon and look for the reason why it's intermittently swollen. Do you have a fluid collect (seroma)? Do you still have some residual fat?  Do you have a weakened muscle or broken muscle repair? Do you have a hernia? Your surgeon should be able to sort it out for you.

Best Wishes,

Stewart Wang, MD FACS, Wang Plastic Surgery

Stewart Wang, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 28 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.