3 Weeks PO TT & BL/BA - Can I Expect Significant Changes for the Better? (photo)

I am three weeks PO - I had a TT and BL/BA and am not happy with the overall result. I realize it is early in the game, however, my PS said he would have to do a revision due to the saggy skin around/near my large belly button. We had discussed the outcome prior to surgery & we'd both agreed not to do a vertical incision, which in his opinion would have resulted in a flat stomach. Do you think my swelling is gone & this is my final product? He wants to do the revision next month. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 12

3 Weeks PO TT. Can I Expect Significant Changes for the Better?

No your swelling is not gone, and this is not your final product. However, as you and your surgeon have recognized, it is likely that you will need a revision operation to get you closer to an outcome you can both be pleased with. 

I see in the pre- and post-op photos a fair amount of horizontal excess. If your surgeon suggests a vertical incision the second time around, give it good consideration. 

Best wishes.

Post- Operative Changes Take At Least Three Months

It really does take at least three months for all of the post-operative changes to occur after a tummy-tuck, so just be patient.  However, I agree that you are still going to have loose skin around the belly button area, no mater how much time you give it.  I generally wait at least three months before any sort of revision.  That way, all of the swelling has gone down and you have a stable platform to work off in terms of surgical plan.

Is My Tummy Tuck Swelling Gone After 3 Weeks?

The good news is that your swelling is definitely not gone and things will continue to improve, but I agree with your surgeon this will probably not improve to a point where you would be satisfied.  A surgeon who offers to do a touch up is a concerned and responsible surgeon.  Since you felt it necessary to come to us for a second opinion, then you probably will do well with getting a hands on second opinion from a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area. 

There are several ways to improve the appearance of your post op abdomen.  Two of our responders have suggested a lower body lift which would lead to a high lateral tension abdominoplasty which tightens your abdomen side to side (this is a great idea).  Another suggestion was a flur di les tummy tuck which will give you a midline scar (not my favorite idea).  Whichever touch up you decide on, I would also suggest considering lowering your existing scar which appears to me to be not a difficult fix; however, I have not had the advantage of a hands on evaluation. 

Don't abandon ship

I agree that it is too early to worry about further surgery right now. You still have some swelling and are in the inflammation stage of healing. It takes at least 3-6 months before the swelling disipates.  At that point, I would reasess the results.  You may need further surgery, but you may not.  I am confident that your surgeon will do his/her best to get you your desired result. Don't abandon ship just yet and try to be patient.  (Easier said than done, I know).

Tummy Tuck

Analysis of the pictures before and after, you had skin laxity in the horizantal and vertical direction. The better choice of surgery and will give a better contour is flur di les tummy tuck. Though that will give you a verical scar on the abdomen, but this will give you flatter stomach and better waist.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Excess skin after Mommy Makeover

Many patients will not see their final results after abdominoplasty for many months after the procedure, be patient.  It still looks like you have a lot of swelling.  A light compression garment may help, but it is best to discuss this with your Plastic Surgeon first.  It can be difficult to obtain a flat tummy with a large amount of excess skin, without extending the incisions to the back (belt lipectomy).  

Jarrod Little, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Unhappy 3 weeks after Tummy Tuck

It is too early too worry about further surgery. It takes a good three months before you get close the final result. On the other hand I am concerned that the folds leading away from your navel may not flatten completely. I would recommend calmly discussing your concerns with your surgeon and then follow his/her instructions. I am optimistic that your surgeon will want to continue to help you get you the results that will make you happy.

What to Expect After a Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.    

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  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
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Revisional surgery should take place 3-6 months post-op.

It’s not unusual for Mommy Makeover patients to have significant swelling following this procedure.Most of this swelling resolves in 6-8 weeks but small amounts of swelling may persist for up to a year.There’s no question that you have residual swelling after your Mommy Makeover procedure.This swelling should gradually resolve over the next several months.Unfortunately, it probably won’t improve your aesthetic result.
Your pictures suggest significant amounts of saggy redundant skin and the resolution of swelling will probably make this worse.For this reason, it’s safe to say that you will probably require revisional surgery.This may require conversion to a fleur-de-leis abdominoplasty with a vertical incision to optimize your result.
It’s not unusual for patients who present with large amounts of saggy abdominal skin to require secondary surgery following abdominoplasty.Revisional surgery is usually delayed for at least 3 to 6 months.At this point in time, swelling has usually resolved enough to make aesthetic judgements possible.
It’s important to maintain close contact with your plastic surgeon.Your surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals.

3 weeks post tummy tuck

At 3 weeks postop, it is far too early to assess the final result.  I typically don't see the final contour from a tummy tuck until close to 6 months.   You will see the majority of your improvement in the first 3 months, at which point you can have an educated discussion with your plastic surgeon in regards to a revision procedure.   In the meantime, try to be patient, and carefully follow your surgeons postop instructions.


I wish you a safe and healthy recovery!!


Dr. Gill

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 82 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.