Why Is my stomach swollen above my navel after my Tummy tuck? (photo)

I had a tummy tuck 8 weeks ago and I understand my lower abdomen is swollen but why would my upper abdomen above the navel be swollen 8 weeks later? My dr assures me it will flatten out in a few months and I know everyone heals differently and in different times. I just felt and looked flatter right after surgery?? My dr. did the full tummy tuck on me with lipo everywhere except above my navel. He assures me I didn't need it. But I do notice no more love handles and my bra size is smaller/girth.

Doctor Answers 5

8 weeks post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (8 weeks post-po) the swelling is normal.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Swelling Above Navel Post-Op

Most patients will be placed in an abdominal binder, which they will wear the first week. There is usually a fair amount of swelling and the binder should be opened several times a day so that there are no pressure points. After the first 7 to 10 days the patient is placed in an elastic garment for compression over the next six weeks. You can return to full activity without restrictions at 6 weeks.

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Swelling of abdomen

Swelling of the abdomen is normal and there can be swelling around your umbilicus as well. Be patient with the results, it will take more time to settle.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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Difficult to tell without PE

This is a tough one to figure out, based upon the story maybe there is a fluid collections up there, your plication below the BB may be tighter than above which can cause some bulging of the abdomen above the BB. Really only your surgeon would know these details of your operation. At 8 weeks, you still have lots of healing to do if he/she did lots of lipo of your abdomen, things should continue to improve.

Fullness above the belly button

Great question.  If you were flatter above your belly button earlier on in your recovery than you are now it may be worthwhile to consider the possibility that there is some fluid up there.  A CT scan, UltraSound, or an exam may be helpful.  If the area is flat when you wake up and progressively gets worse during the day it may just be swelling.  Swelling should improve with time.  Fluid (seroma) may not and may form scar tissue so it should identified and drained if present.  If there is excess fat above your belly button then this can be liposuctioned.  Some plastic surgeons are ok with liposuctioning that area during the tummy tuck while others are not.  Liposuction of that area now can be done without any concerns for blood supply issues.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 153 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.