We have collected the questions and answers in this article to give you some guidance. If you have additional questions or discovered better solutions please let us know and we will add them to this list.
How long is the swelling?
It is normal to have swelling after a tummy tuck or liposuction. And it can continue for some months (for liposuction) to a year (for abdominoplasty) before you see the final results. So don’t panic, it’s a normal part of the healing process. But in most cases you see results for liposuction and tummy tuck within 3 to 6 months. Everybody heals differently.
4-8 weeks post-surgery
After the surgery the surgeon places the compression garment on you. As a consequence you cannot see the actual results of the operation. Then when you leave the clinic and after a few days you travel home you have more time to shower and observe your body.
For the first 2 months it looks more swollen as much as before the operation. And in some cases the swelling can look worse after 4 to 8 weeks post surgery. This is normal as your body fills the areas affected by the surgery with lymphatic fluids to promote healing. The swelling is part of the healing process. The compression garment prevents the excessive build up of fluids and pushes them to circulate rather than accumulate in one area. So keep wearing the garment!
Just be patient and give time to your body to heal. You will eventually see the results of the surgery.
Where is the swelling?
The swelling comes from the lymphatic fluids that cannot be drained. The tummy tuck or liposuction has disrupted the flow of lymphatic fluid in the areas where the surgery took place.
Why does it change during the day?
The swelling is more noticeable during the day when you are more active. At night when you rest and lie horizontal the swelling will go down. It is normal and will resolve itself as the flow of lymphatic fluids is redirected to be evacuated from the body. The lymphatic system that drains fluid actually needs several months sometimes to fully heal and re-direct lymph channels after a surgical procedure.
What can I do to help?
- Wearing the compression garment for up to 2 months after the surgery helps a lot. It stops the lymphatic fluid from accumulating in areas and pushes it to drain out of the body.
- A gentle lymphatic drainage massage helps the fluids circulate and prevents the accumulation in the areas where the surgery took place. Its a very light massage on the surface of the skin like caressing. Check on YouTube for video tutorials for “lymphatic drainage massage post surgery”.
- Massage Arnica cream into the affected areas. It helps healing, resorb bruising and stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluids.
- If you have any areas where there are lumps massage them gently and regularly with cream. It will help your body break them down and evacuate these calcified fluids.
- Combine light physical activity with lying down on your back to rest regularly during the day. Place a big pillow under your knees to elevate your legs. It helps the blood and lymph circulate throughout your body. By comparison sitting down is not very good as your legs struggle to push the fluids back up towards the heart.
- Walking stimulates the muscles and the lymphatic system to help the lymphatic fluid circulate and be evacuated from the body.
- Following a healthy diet helps you get the best results and supports your body in its healing process.
Both liposuction and tummy tuck are surgical interventions that have an impact on your body. They create trauma. And it is normal that there is an accumulation of fluids as the lymphatic system finds creates new channels to drain them.