Swelling after tummy tucks can be considerable. Mine was enormous as can be seen in the photographs on this page. My first hint should have been the day following surgery when I weighed myself and found that the surgery actually added a few pounds to my weight. I was expecting to see a 5 lb. loss from all the skin that was removed. Instead I found I gained weight.

I attribute the weight gain to all the swelling, all the fluids that they pumped into me during the operation and the weight of my compression garment. It took a long time for it to go down as evidenced by the following photographs. I was told that swelling around the wound or incision area should peak at about 3 days and that most of it (80%) should be gone in 2 – 6 weeks and the remainder should be gone in 3 – 6 months.

Swelling After Tummy Tuck

Swelling (also know as anasarca and edema) is the enlargement of body structures in the abdominal area causes by excessive buildup of fluid in the tissues. A rapid increase of weight also is common.

Swelling in the Groin Area

At one of my pre-surgery meetings, the nurse make a brief comment that there may be some swelling in the lower areas (I forget how she actually put it) but I gave it no thought. I didn’t know how “low” she meant. Now I do. Apparently the body fluids that were not drained off by the surgical drains made their way “downhill” towards the groin area causing noticeable swelling down there. An amusing thought came to me – “I paid $11,000 for a Tummy Tuck and got a “male enhancement” thrown in for free. Unfortunately it only lasted a month, then it went down and everything was “back to normal”.

Tips To Reduce Swelling

  1. By resting and sleeping in a reclining position with your head and legs elevated for at least 2 weeks after surgery.
  2. By sleeping on your back and not on your side.
  3. By avoiding salt in your diet.
  4. By wearing a compression garment.
  5. By drinking plenty of water and fluids.
  6. By proper nutrition and plenty of exercise.
  7. By tissue Massage (per doctor’s instructions).

How long does swelling after Surgery last?

It varies with the type and extent of the surgery and the patients healing ability. In some patients it is gone in 3 – 5 weeks for some patients, other’s take several weeks or months.

I was told that around the wound or incision area it should peak at about 3 days and that most of it (80%) should be gone in 2 – 6 weeks and the remainder should be gone in 3 – 6 months. See my pictures after one day, two days, one week, two weeks and two months following surgery.

How can I tell if I Am Still Swollen?

Aside from looking into the mirror another way to tell if you are still swollen is to look at the incision area of your surgical wound. If the incision is red or pinkish swelling is still present. A white incision area or scar would indicate most if not all of it is gone.

Are Swollen Legs common after a Tummy Tuck?

Some leg swelling is common and temporary after surgery. To reduce the swelling, lay down and elevate your legs above the level of your heart. Decrease the amount of walking and physical activity placed on the legs. Other suggestions include decreasing your salt intake and wearing support hose. If it persists see your doctors as it is sometimes a symptom of blood clots in leg veins (which is a risk associated with TT surgery).

Feedback Messages


Bloated After A Tummy Tuck

December 2011
I have & I still are experiencing this problem. I really feel a tightness around my belly button & I sometime through my back. I can’t even drink 9oz of water without getting bloated. I fell like I want to tale a stick pin &I deflate my stomach. I want to go to a gastrointestinal doc but I’m fear I might cause further complications. What have u found out?

Response – Kim, Why not go back to your surgeon and explain your symptoms to him/her? Your surgeon is the only one that can really giver you answers. Tanner

Follow-up: I did go back to him and he suggested that I see a gastro Md. I’m trying to set up an appoint now. Thank you for responding. Kim



September 09, 2010
Hey bro well done on your recovery and thanks for your detailed explanation but how long did it take for your swelling to go down completely? Devin


Response – Devin, It’s hard to tell exactly how long it takes for swelling to go down. After your operation, your not quite sure about how much of that protruding area is swelling, extra pounds that you should have lost before the operation or what is “normal” for you after the operation.

3-5 weeks is the commonly accepted time it takes for tummy tuck swelling to go down. In my case I would have to guess my swelling went away in two to three months but I had a thigh lift as well as an abdominoplasty done (way more than normal). Tanner


Swelling After Abdominoplasty

August 15, 2010
Hello: It’s been 2 months since my abdominalplasty with lipo. When I wake up in the morning my stomach is flat but throughout the day every time I eat my stomach blows up. Is this normal? I feel like I look pregnant all over again. I know I still have a little but I didn’t think this would happen with a bowl of oatmeal. I hope nothing’s wrong. Please advise.

Response – Rika, When you say your stomach “blows up”, can you actually see a difference when looking in the mirror (before and after eating) or is it just a feeling of being bloated?

I can sort of relate to what you feel. I remember soon after my tummy tuck I noticed that I seemed to get fuller much faster when I ate. I took this as a good thing and assumed that since my skin and stomach muscles were “tighter”, my stomach did not have as much room to expand when I ate. It also served as a reminder and incentive not to eat too much. Every time I got that feeling I would think “I don’t want to overeat and cause my skin to stretch again or pull at the stomach stitches”. Even today, over two years later I get that same feeling. If it’s not just a feeling of being too full and you can actually see bloating and swelling every time you eat it might be time to go back to the doctor to check it out. Good luck. Tanner

Thx. I go see my doc on Wednesday. I don’t feel bloated. I can actually see it. Is this a complication? Rika

I have never heard of anyone having that problem in relation to a tummy tuck, but I don’t know if it is a complication or not.


July 21, 2010
Good journey and experience! mbt