I Am 1 Week Post Op from Having a Full Tummy Tuck Along with BA. I Look Unusually Swollen Compared to Other Posts?

I am 5'4" 125 lbs 48yr old. I am one week post op to having a full tummy tuck including muscle along with BA implants 350cc silicone. I really like my PS, but my recovery isn't the same as most are describing. I had no drains and I am very swollen like I am pregnant. I was told to not touch my breasts or do any exercises and my waist wrap and support bra were removed on day 5. On my own I am wearing my workout pants to provide some support to my tummy. Should I be concerned?

Doctor Answers 10

Pregnant appearance after TT ?

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Swelling after tummy tuck is certainly normal, but  you have to ask your PS what is normal or not.  You need to evaluated in person.  Seromas (fluid collections between the skin flap and the abdominal wall) are not infrequent.  They are probably more frequent in patients when drains are not utilized. Seromas are easily treatable and something I, as a surgeon, would want to know about in my own patients. Compression is helpful, but not manditory in all situations.  Sometimes fluid is within the tissues and will dissipate with time, or perhaps a diuretic (water pill)will be helpful in some situations.  I would recommend seeing your surgeon for an eval, it may be readily fixable. 

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Wound healing lasts awhile...

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The wound healing process following abdominoplasty lasts for over a year.  Most of the swelling resolves in six to eight weeks, but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year.  The procedure inevitably interrupts the abdominal lymphatic drainage and this takes time to re-establish itself.  Patients can minimize swelling with compression garments, massage and limitations on activity level.  It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing, and should resolve with time.

            Significant swelling one week following abdominoplasty should be evaluated by your plastic surgeon.  In the vast majority of cases, this swelling is probably normal, but in a small percentage of patients it might represent a problem.  Seroma formation may be a possibility, especially since drains weren’t used.  This diagnosis can be made with physical examination in most cases.  In some cases CT scans or ultrasound studies may be necessary as well. 

            If you’re concerned about severe swelling and possible seroma formation, it’s important to discuss the situation with your plastic surgeon.  Your surgeon should be able to perform an evaluation and institute appropriate care.

Swelling Concern After a Mommy Makeover Procedure

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Healing will continue for 2-3 months for the early period. This includes some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation in the breasts may also be abnormal and scars will be evolve. Tingling, burning or shooting pains in the breasts will disappear with time and should not alarm you. It is simply a result of the regeneration of your sensory nerves. If these sensations cause pain, repeated, local self-massage per your surgeon's permission may help. The purpose of the post-procedure #garment is to provide some gentle #support and to reduce swelling following a #TummyTuck or #Abdominoplasty. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. Patients wear the #elastic garment for several weeks after surgery, as directed by their doctor. Some choose to wear it longer for several months for comfort.

If you have concerns about your #healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

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

Question about abnormal swelling after an abdominoplasty

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Swelling is obviously normal after an abdominoplasty.  This can be either soft tissue swelling or a collection of fluid under the skin.   It really requires an examination to understand the issue at hand.  This type of lower abdominal swelling can take up to 3 months to resolve.  If it is a seroma then you will require needle aspiration.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Cosmetic Surgery is an Art and a Science

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Without an exam it is hard to answer the question. Swelling after surgery is normal and may be due to several things. Keep your post op appointments with your doctor for follow up exams. good Luck  Thomas Narsete M.D.  Austin, Tx

Swelling after tummy tuck

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Without photos its hard to comment. The best person to answer your question is your surgeon. If you truly look pregnant, there is a high possibility that you have a seroma/fluid collection that will need to be drained. A seroma is not a rare complication and is usually easily treatable.

Paul Wigoda, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling after mommy makeover.

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you should ask these questions of your surgeon, who knows the details of your surgery, can examine you, and is responsible for your care.  At one week your swelling may normal, but that is a determination your surgeon will make. 

Harlan Pollock, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

. I Look Unusually Swollen

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Without photos I find it not possible to comment on the primary issue. Only a visit to your surgeon will get the right answer here. Swelling is universal


Each surgeon has his/her own post-op instructions. I have my patients wear compression for 4 weeks, but frankly the main reason is to hold dressings intact without having to tape them in the early period after surgery. 

I think asking your surgeon about the need for massage of the implants and about compression is your best approach. Consider posting a photo.

Thanks, all the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Postoperative Care after Mommy Makeover

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      Management of patients after mommy makeover does have variability.  Although most plastic surgeons place drains for the tummy tuck, nothing is wrong with not placing drains.  You should see your plastic surgeon if you are concerned about an abnormal amount of swelling.  You need to rule out fluid collection.   In addition, the plastic surgeon may or may not recommend a compression garment.  I use them for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery.  Kenneth Hughes, MD  Los Angeles, CA

Difficult to Evaluate Swelling Without Photos

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This question is difficult to answer without photos.  Swelling is normal after combined procedures and recovery varies by procedure and patient. Comparisons are not accurate.

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.