Why is Waist Bigger After Tummy Tuck?

I had a tummy tuch with muscle tightening, a lot of skin was removed and also a bit of fat. My waist is bigger then before, what is the reason for this?

Doctor Answers 13

Waist after tummy tuck

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You may still be in the healing process. As time goes by, hopefully your waist will be much smaller. If your plastic surgeon used an "internal corset" you should expect a smaller waistline. The permanent sutures that are used to flatten and tighten the abdominal wall are typically placed in the midline. The rectus abdominis muscles, prior to pregnancy, are lined up immediately side-by-side. Expansion of the abdominal wall during pregnancy allows the muscles to stretch apart, leaving a weak layer of fascia (connective tissue) spanning the gap between the two muscles – the medical term for which is diastasis. The midline tightening sutures correct the diastasis and bring the rectus muscles back into a 'side-by-side' configuration, flattening the abdominal wall in the process.

Although this midline tightening dramatically enhances the abdominal profile, it often does adequately address the fact that pregnancy can also wreak havoc on the waist, turning what was formerly an 'hourglass' figure into something that is more cylindrical in shape. For several years now I have been using permanent 'internal corset' sutures, placed laterally in the abdominal wall, that draw the waist inward and restore some of the hourglass effect of abdominal concavity at the waistline in frontal view. The addition of these sutures to midline tightening, and in some cases in place of midline tightening, has allowed me to achieve even more impressive postoperative results.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Can the waist be bigger after tummy tuck

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Without weight gain to explain the situation, it is difficult to understand how your waist could be bigger after a tummy tuck. Ordinarily, the muscle repair will narrow the waist, and fat removal or liposuction in the waist and flank will also address the area nicely. Ask your surgeon for a photo both before and after, and put a tape measure to the test. It is hard to imagine that you can't be better off after tummy tuck.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Waist bigger after tummy tuck

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As you can see from the responses below, anything from fat accumulation, to fluid accumulation that needs to be drained, swelling that might require compression, to surgical readjustment of tissues (particularly with body lift type procedures), to a surgical mishap.

Seeing a few board certified plastic surgeons may be a reasonable option.

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

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Tummy Tuck Results

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When was your surgery? If recently, it could be due to swelling.  I would suggest contacting your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for an evaluation. Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Why is Waist Bigger After Tummy Tuck

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If it is soon after your surgery, this could be due to swelling.  If it is more than 6 weeks after surgery, it is possible that you have gained weight.  Another possibility is if you had liposuction of multiple areas and not your waist, your waist may now look larger comparitively speaking.  I recommend seeing your surgeon and discussing this concern.

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Tummy tuck and waist

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If your surgery was recently, the waist may be larger because of swelling. If longer than a year, sometimes intraabdominal fat pushes out to the sides and causes the waist line to be larger.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Bigger waist after tummy tuck

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If you are still only a couple of weeks after your surgery, it is too early to judge your result. The other reason is that the waist is a cinched in part of the torso. If you had a extended tummy tuck with the scars going around to thre side, the tightening of the soft tissue tends to obliterate the cinched in area because the tightness creates a straightening of the torse p contour. Thus you can lose the hourglass appearance and have a straighter, hence greater circumference, waist line.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Waist bigger after tummy tuck

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If it is still early after your tummy tuck, then the changes may be due to swelling. It would be best to see your surgeon to look things over.

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

Bigger waist after a tummy tuck - Michelin man syndrome

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One other possibility is that you might have had some rolls and folds preop and put the waist of your garment in the narrowest one.  During the surgery, the rolls and folds are released and the deepest fold is gone, hence the larger waist size in some folks. 

Abdomen is more swollen after a tummy tuck VIDEO (CLICK HERE & BELOW)

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IT is most likely swelling but it could be a hematoma or seroma., You will not be able to determine this and you should seek your surgeon's evaluation.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.