10 days post op, 2 days after drains out. So much bloating! Is it fixable? Is it normal? (Photos)

My appt isn't until Thurs, but I'm worried now! (Sat). 10 days post TT, drains removed 2 days ago. Fluid was 5-15ml every 24h. I'm a very active person and have been so busy the past couple days. My belly feels bloated, puffy and uncomfortable. I was so happy with my results before and my tummy was flat and now I'm puffy, and uncomfortable. Should I be concerned? Swelling isn't as bad in morning. Is it Normal to be like this all day long?Is it swelling or fluid, maybe damaged the muscle repair?

Doctor Answers 10

I'm sorry you're having anxiety over this

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but you should have 24/7 access to your surgeon so you can have these questions and concerns addressed to your satisfaction.  Swelling and bloating is normal, especially when you say its better in the morning, suggesting swelling.  Fluid collections create a fluid wave on your tummy which is what you see when you plop on a waterbed.  With your surgeon's reassurances, you can focus on healing and you should adhere to all restrictions on your activities as instructed.

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Bloating after a tummy tuck

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Bloating is common after a tummy tuck.  our surgeon probably will advise you not to be too active after surgery so that fluid doesn't form below the skin, especially if the drains have just come out, causing a seroma.  Make sure to communicate your concerns with your surgeon.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

10 days post op, 2 days after drains out. So much bloating! Is it fixable? Is it normal?

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Congratulations on a nice result. It is normal for some swelling to increase in the lower abdomen after the drains are removed. Swelling of the lower abdominal tissues is common, but it's important to make sure that it's not a result of some fluid that is trapped under the skin. Schedule an appointment with your plastic surgeon, so that you can be examined. Congratulations on your recent surgery.


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You will need to be examined, but this is the classic presentation of a seroma, which is very common after drains are removed (that is why I don't use drains anymore). Go visit your surgeon for an examination. Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Swelling after tummy tuck

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You have a beautiful early result- congratulations. It is normal for swelling to increase with more activity and after drain removal, especially in the evening. It is possible to accumulate some fluid after drain removal- best to move your appointment up so that your surgeon can examine you and make sure there is no fluid to remove. I recommend that my patients wear a compression girdle for two weeks following surgery and limit any twisting at the waist as much as possible. The more you allow yourself to hear in the earlier phases the quicker you will reach your final result. Best wishes, Dr. Meghan Nadeau, Seattle, WA

Meghan Nadeau, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after tummy tuck

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Everything looks as though it is healing nicely and it looks like you are going to get a very good result from your surgery.  Swelling at this stage is completely normal.  There will be some extra fluid in the skin above the main scar just a bit like legs can get swollen after standing for a long time.  There may even be a little bit of fluid in the pocket where the drains were.  This swelling normally settles with time.  If you have any concerns please discuss with your surgeon.  Best wishes.

Swelling after tummy tuck

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It is very normal for you to have an increase in swelling after the drains are removed, especially when you have become more active. It will take some time for this to stop recurring, you will be nice and flat in the mornings and as the day progresses you will get bloated if you will. As long as the bloating/swelling goes down, it should be fine; if you can visibly see fluid accumulation in your tummy visit your surgeon's office.

Clayton L. Moliver, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Post-Op Healing, Swelling or Fluid

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Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

You can return to full activity without restrictions at 6 weeks.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

The best thing to do is to visit your surgeon with questions and concerns and make sure that healing is progressing as it should. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

10 days post op, some advices:

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Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (10 days post-po) the swelling is normal.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.

Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 367 reviews

10 days post op, 2 days after drains out. So much bloating!

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure.  Yes, longer-term swelling after tummy tuck surgery is quite common; swelling may persist for many months and even up to one year after the procedure is performed. Often, patients will report that the swelling increases as their activity level increases and gets worse later on in the day. Sometimes, the use of compressive garments may be helpful to control the edema. 

I would suggest that you continue to follow up with your plastic surgeon, who will be in the best position to assess your situation and provide you with specific recommendations. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term care.

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.