Among the most common questions that patients ask when it comes to having a tummy tuck is what swelling they can expect and for how long. Swelling is a normal part of surgical procedures and it’s important to know what to watch out for. Every person will heal at his own rate so Dr. Ellen can give you the best idea of what to expect, but here are some things to know as you plan your recovery.
What Causes Swelling?
The swelling caused by a tummy tuck will depend on different factors. During the tummy tuck, your skin will be lifted and tightened. Extra skin can be removed and this may disrupt lymphatic drainage for some time. Chemical mediators which are released into the body to counteract the surgery and the affected lymphatic drainage are usually responsible for swelling. This is your body’s natural reaction to the change. The use of compression garments and post-surgical binders can assist with removing fluid up to the point that new blood vessel connection can develop. Dr. Ellen can also use post-operative drainage to get rid of the fluid and reduce the chance of seroma. Seroma is the buildup of fluid in the surgical site because of lymphatic vessels that may be bruised or damaged during the surgery.
How Long Does Swelling Last?
The level of swelling and how long it will last will be different from one patient to another. It can also depend on whether liposuction was performed with the tummy tuck or not since this can increase the fluid retention. Your recovery habits can also affect this, including wearing compression garments and avoiding too much physical activity.
Around 12 weeks after your surgery, there can be a dramatic improvement and the amount of swelling. However, swelling usually resolves completely within 18 months. You should keep in touch with Dr. Ellen and attend your follow-up appointments so that she can assess whether your recovery is successful or not. Be sure to let her know of any unusual pain or swelling, as these can be signs of complication.
To ask more questions about your tummy tuck recovery or schedule a consultation, contact our Bloomfield Hills office by calling or filling out our online form.