9 Weeks After Tummy Tuck and Upper Abs Are Still Big (Photo)

I am 9 weeks PO and the top of my stomach is still big. My PS states that this is just swollen. I don't believe that it is, my stomach does not get any bigger or smaller. I have attached a pic let me know please what you think!

Doctor Answers 4

Upper abdominal bulge after tummy tuck

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Hi there-

Without formally examining you, it would be very difficult to say for sure, but it does look like either your muscle repair failed, or you have a seroma (fluid collection).

Your best bet is an utrasound or CT scan to get the definitive answer, followed by appropriate treatment depending on the findings.

Several causes of upper abdomen enlarged after tummy tuck

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Thank you for providing the photo.  There are several possible causes.  First, you could be swollen but I think this is less likely.  Second, the muscle repair was not done or not done tight enough.  Third there could be a fluid collection, seroma; examination and/or ultrasound can rule this out.  Fourth you might have needed a little or more liposuction in this area.  You might not have been pulled tight enough and/or you needed some sutures for extra traction on the upper abdominal skin to pull it further down.  However, the degree of skin tightening can really affect the quality of the scar.  Give it some more time to heal and make sure you don't have a seroma.  If at 6 months it looks the same, talk to your surgeon about possible remedies.  Hope this helps. 

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

9 weeks after tummy tuck and upper abs are still big

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Thanks for the photo. You have a failed upper recti repair or it was never done or done poorly. You chose. The only way is to re operate. Sorry.


Disapppointing Tummy Tuck Results VS USUAL Panniculectomy Results

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The most important point that needs to be cleared is ; Did you have a Panniculectomy (removal of the overhanging skin apron) OR a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty? People interchange these operations and yet they are completely different procedures with different results.

If you had undergone a PANNICULECTOMY (insurance covered) - this SHOULD BE the look produced by this operation. Same holds with a poorly chosen Mini-Tummy Tuck in women with excess skin and muscle laxity. On the other hand, if you had a true Full Tummy Tuck, I would agree with you. This does not constitute a good Full Tummy Tuck result.

Moreover,when photographs are obtained with the arms raised there is further artificial flattening of the abdomen.  In your picture, the tummy tuck scar appears high and there is little flattening of the abdominal wall. As you stated, there appears to be a prominence of the upper abdominal muscle laxity.  Without a BEFORE picture, it is hard to comment on the degree of improvement gained by your surgery. But,I agree with your concerns.  If you had a full Tummy Tuck, I would agree that your Tummy Tuck muscle repair APPEARS like it could have been done much tighter.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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