Bloated stomach after tummy tuck is a common side effect after surgery. As your body heals and you start to eat more, your stomach may swell. The swelling is usually temporary, but if you notice a persistent increase in bloating, it may be time to discuss the issue with your surgeon. Here’s what you need to know about bloating after tummy tuck surgery.
What Causes Bloating After Tummy Tuck Surgery? Bloating after tummy tuck surgery is caused by excess fluid trapped in your abdomen. This can happen when there’s an injury or inflammation around an abdominal incision site, which might occur if your skin has been pulled too tightly or if stitches were placed too close together in the area near your navel. In addition, some patients are prone to fluid retention due to low levels of potassium or sodium in their blood stream or because of other medical conditions like heart failure or kidney disease that affect their ability to eliminate excess fluids from their bodies .
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Bloated stomach after tummy tuck
One common question tummy tuck patients ask is “How long will the swelling last post surgery?” This procedure removes excess skin and fat from the abdominal area (stomach) and will cause swelling for a period of time afterwards, which is normal. Of course every body heals at a different rate hence the swelling will resolve at different rates too. In this blog I’ll discuss the factors that contribute to the swelling and give you an idea of how long it may take for the swelling to go down.
In general, most patients notice a significant improvement within 12 weeks. The swelling will continue to improve for up to 12 months, with the area directly above the incision line remaining slightly swollen.
Swelling following tummy tuck is due to many factors. When a tummy tuck is performed the skin of the abdomen is lifted, then pulled down, and the excess skin is removed. This disrupts some of the lymphatic drainage temporarily. The chemical mediators released by the body in response to surgery – together with temporary disruption of lymphatic drainage – causes the swelling. Post-surgical binders or compression garments can assist with the removal of fluid until new lymphatic vessel connections form. Post operative drains are also inserted to drain the fluid and help avoid seroma. Seroma, is a build up of fluid in the area where the surgery was performed due to lymphatic vessels being damaged or bruised during the procedure.
For a few weeks after surgery the lower abdomen may appear bloated. This is because a common side effect of pain management medication is bloating and constipation.
The amount of swelling, and how long it lasts, is determined on a case-by-case basis. These time periods mentioned are general time frames and it depends on each individuals circumstances and healing as to how long their tummy tuck swelling will last. The degree of the swelling also depends on things such as whether or not liposuction was included in the procedure, the amount of salt in their diet (which causes fluid retention), how often the compression garment was worn, and how much physical activity they engaged in after the surgery. If you’re thinking about having a tummy tuck it’s best to discuss with your plastic surgeon in what time frame you can expect swelling to disappear.
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Pictures swelling after tummy tuck
- An extended tummy tuck is similar to a abdominoplasty, but the procedure also targets fat on the flanks and lower back.
- The incision wraps from the low pelvis to the lower back.
- Extended tummy tucks are generally considered safe. As with all surgeries, there are risks involved.
- Risks include swelling, fluid accumulation, reaction to anesthesia, and numbness after surgery.
- Tummy tucks are an in-hospital procedure where patients are put under anesthesia.
- If the procedure is elective, as most are, it will not be covered by insurance.
- It’s important to find a trained, board-certified plastic surgeon whose work you trust.
- The cost for a tummy tuck varies widely based on where you live, the procedure itself, and the size of the area.
- It will usually fall between $4,000 and $18,000.
- Extended tummy tucks are very effective with studies reporting that the majority of those who elect to have this procedure are satisfied by the results.
What is an extended tummy tuck?
An extended tummy tuck is very similar to a regular tummy tuck — sometimes called an abdominoplasty — but instead of just reducing excess skin and fat on the stomach, it also targets the flank area, or love handles, between the waist and hips. In some cases, an extended tummy tuck will also target excess skin on the lateral thigh.
The ideal candidates for an extended tummy tuck include people who have lost a lot of weight and have excess skin, and those who want to slim the appearance of their stomach and flanks.
How much does an extended tummy tuck cost?
The cost of an extended tummy will vary depending on the surgeon, the volume of fat, and the size of the area. The price range for a tummy tuck generally falls between $4,000 and $18,000.
In 2019, the average cost of a tummy tuck (not extended) was $6,092 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Because there is more involved in an extended tummy tuck, the cost will likely be more. In addition, this cost is only for the procedure and does not take into account anesthesia, operating room facilities, or other related expenses.
Because tummy tucks are usually done for aesthetic reasons only, the procedure will not be covered by insurance. In some cases, a tummy tuck may relieve back pain and incontinence. You will also likely have to take several days off from work for recovery.
How does an extended tummy tuck work?
Extended tummy tucks work by removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and repairing any muscles that have become loosened or torn. Through an incision above the pubic hairline that wraps around to the lower back, skin and fat are removed from the stomach and flank area. The skin is laid flat, and the belly button is reattached, giving the skin a smoother, flatter appearance.
In a 2012 studyTrusted Source of 25 individuals who underwent extended tummy tuck surgery, all 25 were “extremely satisfied” with the results.
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Procedure for extended tummy tuck
- During an extended tummy tuck, the surgeon will typically make an incision between your hip bones, low in the pubic area. If you’re having a tummy tuck after a C-section, they may reopen the same scar.
- Any muscles that have been separated, such as from pregnancy, will be sewn together so they appear taut. Full tummy tucks can fix diastasis recti, which is a splitting of the abdominal muscles.
- The belly button will be cut away, and liposuction may be performed if there is extra fat.
- Excess skin is removed from the tummy and flank area, and the skin will be pulled taut.
- Finally, the belly button is sutured in its original place, unless you and your surgeon decide to change its shape.
Targeted areas for extended tummy tuck
Extended tummy tucks target the upper and lower stomach, waist, flanks, and sometimes the uppermost lateral portion of the thigh.
Are there any risks or side effects?
As with all surgery, there are some risks and side effects associated with extended tummy tucks. One study found that 8.5 percentTrusted Source of people who underwent tummy tuck surgery were re-administered into the hospital because of some kind of complication. These complications and side effects may include:
- numbness after surgery, which is typically temporary
- excess fluid or blood pooling in the belly
- swelling and redness
- internal organ puncture — while rare, could be caused by cannula (a tube that removes excess fluids from the body) penetrating too deeply and potentially puncturing an organ
What to expect after an extended tummy tuck
Your surgeon or nurse should brief you on what to expect after surgery including:
- what activities to avoid and how long
- if and when you can consume alcohol and certain medications or supplements
- how long to wear your compression garment
- how to manage your drainage tubes, if your surgeon uses them
- when to schedule a follow-up appointment
You will be able to see some results immediately, though your abdominal area will be swollen and bandaged. For the first few weeks, you will likely be advised to rest at an angle and avoid strenuous activity or lifting heavy things.
Around the 2- to 3-month mark, most of the swelling will likely have gone down, though you may still see some scarring, which should lighten over time. After 6 months to a year, you will see the full results, which should be permanent unless you gain weight quickly or have a pregnancy.
Before and after pictures
It’s helpful to see photos from people who have had extended tummy tucks when deciding if the procedure is right for you. Check out before and after photos below:VIEW GALLERY5
Preparing for an extended tummy tuck
Before your extended tummy tuck, you’ll likely need to get a blood panel to make sure you’re in good health. You will also want to meet with your surgeon to discuss what to expect. Also, you will need to arrange a ride home.
You may also be told to:
- stop smoking
- limit alcohol
- stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin) and certain herbal supplements, which could potentially worsen bleeding or prevent proper clotting
Extended tummy tuck vs. traditional tummy tuck
An extended tummy tuck and a traditional tummy tuck are very similar procedures. The main difference is that an extended tummy tuck addresses the flanks, also known as love handles, between the waist and hip. Because of the additional procedure, an extended tummy tuck is often more expensive, takes longer to complete, and may require a longer recovery time post-surgery.
How to find a provider
An extended tummy tuck should only be performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. You can use the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Find a Surgeon Tool tool to find a list of board-certified plastic surgeons near you.
Bloating 1 year after tummy tuck
Swelling after a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is quite typical for a surgery this extensive. How long swelling lasts after a tummy tuck depends on many different factors. Understanding why swelling occurs may help you to better prepare mentally and have more realistic expectations for your recovery and results.
Swelling after a Tummy Tuck Is Normal
Swelling in the abdominal area is perfectly normal and expected after a tummy tuck. In this area of the body, the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels work as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut. Because of this, the body removes fluid in the area a lot slower, resulting in fluid buildup known as edema or swelling.
Swelling is typically at its worst for the first 2 months following a tummy tuck, though everyone is a little bit different. As the body repairs blood and lymphatic vessels, the swelling should continue to resolve. This healing process can take up to a year or longer to complete, so it is common to see minor swelling in that time.
The amount of swelling experienced after your tummy tuck surgery can also vary depending on the treatment plan you choose. A mini tummy tuck or a drainless tummy tuck typically results in less recovery time and swelling than a traditional tummy tuck. Alternatively, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck can produce swelling in other areas of the body as well.
Swelling Can Fluctuate throughout the Day
After your initial swelling goes down, minor swelling continues and can be affected by your daily activity. This is because gravity is not your friend. For instance, long hours standing up can increase swelling in the abdomen, but this usually goes down after a good night of sleep. Once you start exercising, you may also notice increased swelling following workouts.
Tips to Help Reduce Swelling
Although swelling is a natural part of the healing process, there are some things you can do to help reduce the level of severity.
The best thing you can do to help minimize swelling is to follow your post-op instructions for tummy tuck recovery. You’ll be instructed to wear a compression garment for the first few weeks. Other tips to help reduce swelling include:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Staying hydrated
- Eating a healthy diet low in sodium
- Elevating your lower legs