2 Weeks Post Tummy Tuck and Increased Swelling, Is this Normal When Taking off Compression Garment?

I had a full TT a little over 2 weeks ago and was taken out of the compression garment 3 days ago. Since then I have had increased swelling throughout my stomach. I also have some increased pain. Is this something that normally happens when the compression garment comes off or should I be worried?

Doctor Answers 10

Swelling after tummy tuck

Every plastic surgeon manages their patients a little differently after surgery.  Because it takes roughly 4-6 weeks for all the swelling to resolve after a tummy tuck, I generally have my patients wear their abdominal binders for up to six weeks.  If you've noticed a dramatic change in the appearance of your abdomen since removing the garment, you may be dealing with residual swelling or you may have developed a fluid collection called a seroma.  Seromas are somewhat common and can sometimes require aspiration of the fluid in the office.  It's probably best for you discuss any changes you've noticed with your plastic surgeon.

Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Swelling 2 Weeks after Tummy Tuck

It is common to have swelling after a tummy tuck. At this point you should have followed up with your surgeon. If it is getting worse, give your surgeon a call.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Most swelling to resolve in 6-8 weeks...

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 levels.It’s important to remember that swelling is a normal part of wound healing and should resolve with time.
It’s not unusual for patients to develop increased swelling when they discontinue their support garments.When this situation arises it’s reasonable to continue the use of compression garments for longer periods of time.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Recovery Process and Swelling

Less than one month after surgery, the recovery process is still early, but concerns as to any minimal nature of your procedure should be discussed with your surgeon. Continue to allow the full 3-6 months for swelling to reduce and muscles to recover and then determine the need for revision. Best of luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Swelling after removing compression garment

It is common for swelling to become very apparent once you've removed your compression garment. This swelling will subside gradually over the months following surgery. You can always start wearing your compression garment again but talk to your surgeon for their advice. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Increased swelling of the abdominal wall a two weeks after a tummy tuck

It is quite common to have some increased swelling several weeks after a tummy tuck and this may be further exacerbated by discontinuing wearing the binder and with greater activity levels. Some sporadic discomfort and isolated pains are also common. What you need to be sure of is that the swelling is related to intrinsic swelling of the tissues (skin and fat) and not as a result of fluid accumulation on the abdominal wall.

Make sure that your plastic surgeon is aware of the situation as you may need to be examined to determine the exact etiology of this swelling. 

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

As always, it is best to be seen in person ( by your plastic surgeon) for precise diagnosis and treatment.

Abdominal wall "swelling" after tummy tuck may be related to:

1. Swelling in the soft tissues.  This may take several months to resolve and may worsen with increased activity  or at the end of the day.   Patience  is required to allow for resolution of the swelling. The swelling occurs because of the interruption of venous and lymphatic channels that occurs during the tummy tuck operation.
2. Fluid accumulation in the space between the skin and the abdominal wall muscle.  this may consist of blood ( hematoma)  or serum (seroma).  This fluid accumulation can generally be diagnosed by physical examination ( occasionally ultrasound  may be helpful).  Treatment consists of aspiration;  several episodes of aspiration may be necessary. 
3. Separation of the abdominal wall muscle repair may lead to a swelling/bulge appearance. This may be diagnosed on physical examination  with your surgeon examining you in different bodily positions. One of the steps of a tummy tuck procedure involves reapproximation (plication)  of the rectus muscles.  These muscles have spread apart during pregnancy and/or weight gain. Bringing them together again in the midline helps to “tighten” the abdominal wall as well as to narrow the waistline.
4. Residual adipose tissue may be confused for swelling. Again this is most easily diagnosed by physical examination. Additional liposuction surgery maybe necessary to improve the results of surgery.
Generally, it takes many months for swelling to resolve after tummy tuck surgery and it may take up to one year  (or greater)  a complete skin redraping  to occur.
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,501 reviews

Post tummy tuck swelling

It is common for swelling in the early post op period after tummy tuck.  Most of it resolves at 6 weeks but a little will persist until 6 months post op.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Increased swelling two weeks post TT after removing Compression Garment

It is normal that you have increased swelling  after  removing your compression garment this soon after surgery.

If you feel more comfortable in the garment, speak to your surgeon and ask permission to wear the garment a little longer for support.

Rondi Kathleen Walker, MD
Washington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Swelling can get worse without garment

This is common. If you feel more comfortable with the compression garment, you can put it back on. However, tell your surgeon about the pain, just in case it needs to be checked out.

Michael Constantin Gartner, DO
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 140 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.