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What Patients Should Know About Swelling After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy tuck surgery—or abdominoplasty—is an extremely effective way to reshape the abdomen. A healthy diet and regular exercise may not be enough to repair the damage caused by pregnancy or extreme weight changes. Pregnancy can also leave stretch marks and skin creases, and can result in a loss of skin elasticity.

Tummy tuck surgery resurfaces the abdomen. It is a body contouring surgery, not a weight loss surgery. The tummy tuck restores skin tone, and reverses the signs of aging, by removing the excess skin. When performing a tummy tuck, your plastic surgeon will tighten your stomach muscles and remove lose skin and fat.

Recovery after

As with all surgery, there is a period of recovery after a tummy tuck. Your plastic surgeon will explain exactly what to expect. Recovery period is at least 2 weeks, but you should wait at least 6 weeks before attempting exercise. You should not do any exercise—particularly abdominal exercises—without your plastic surgeon’s approval.

What causes swelling after a tummy tuck?

Swelling in the lower abdomen after tummy tuck surgery is normal, and is part of the recovery process. The swelling is due to changes in your lymphatic drainage system. With a tummy tuck, your abdominal skin has been relocated, in a process similar to a face lift. The skin is in a new position.

Because of this new position, the lymphatic drainage vessels are divided. These vessels normally drain fluid upwards. New lymphatic connections will form over time, but until then fluid is not drained through the lymphatic drainage vessels, but instead flows down with gravity. Scar tissue, also, stops the fluid migrating. This fluid causes the swelling.

Compression garments will help the fluid dissipate, and will help you feel more comfortable after surgery.

Swelling may also be caused by some pain medications. These pain medications may slow down the gastro-intestinal tract, leading to constipation and bloating. This is only temporary, and resolves when you no longer need the medications.

Most swelling goes away in the first 2 months after surgery, but you may experience swelling for up to a year. The area around your scar will probably be swollen the longest. This area will also gradually improve. Most patients see no swelling after 18 months.

Tummy tuck and liposuction

Many people choose to have liposuction with their tummy tuck procedure. This removes stubborn deposits of fat round the abdomen. Tummy tuck with liposuction resculpts the body, leaving a firmer, more pleasing silhouette. Many women find that it restores their pre-pregnancy body, and restores their confidence and self esteem too.

Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover is a popular combination of treatments to restore the pre-pregnancy body. The Mommy Makeover includes a tummy tuck, and can include an arm lift, breast lift, and liposuction from the abdomen and thighs.

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