How Do I Treat Swelling after Abdominoplasty?

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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Some amount of swelling after abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is normal, but there are ways to minimize it. You should wear a compression garment as recommended by your doctor. Drink plenty of water, while avoiding liquids containing caffeine. Eat a healthy diet, and make an effort to limit your sodium intake, as excess sodium can lead to fluid retention. Avoid certain types of activity that can irritate the surgical site, but also make sure to get some exercise to improve circulation. If your doctor approves it, get a massage, as this can also increase circulation and bring down swelling.

After surgery, your doctor will likely have you wear a special compression garment designed to support the surgical site and reduce swelling after abdominoplasty. These are specially made medical garments which put targeted pressure on key areas after the operation to promote healing. Follow your doctor's instructions, as wearing the garment is an important part of recovery and may be your best tool for keeping swelling down.

Another way to reduce swelling after abdominoplasty is to get plenty of fluids, particularly water, to stay well hydrated. This will help decrease the chance of constipation, which is a problem for many people after surgery and can cause abdominal bloating. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea should be avoided, however, as they typically have a diuretic effect which can actually lead to dehydration.


A good diet is another way you can help minimize swelling after abdominoplasty. Eating a balanced diet that provides all of the necessary nutrients gives the body what it needs to heal. One particular step you can take is to decrease the amount of sodium you consume, as too much can encourage fluid retention, which can in turn lead to bloating and swelling.

Being careful about the amount and type of activities you engage in can help limit swelling after abdominoplasty. You should try to avoid things that put pressure on your abdomen, like lifting too much weight or bending over. Light exercise like walking may actually help keep fluid from pooling and improve circulation, though, so ask your doctor what exercise and how soon after your operation is appropriate.

Swelling after abdominoplasty may also be reduced with massage. It can improve blood flow as well as lymph drainage near the surgical site. Talk to your doctor to ensure it is safe for you, and make sure to let your massage therapist know about your recent surgery so he or she can take it into consideration.


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Post 3

@fify-- I highly recommend lymphatic drainage massage. I went for several sessions during my tummy tuck recovery. My surgeon actually recommended them to me and they really made a difference.

Post 2

@fify-- Have you seen your doctor for a check up since the surgery? If your recovery is going fine, if you're doing everything you're supposed to and avoiding what you're supposed to avoid, don't worry. Swelling after a tummy tuck can last for a long time.

My friend and I both got tummy tucks at the same time. Her swelling went down after a month, whereas mine took three months. My doctor said that he has patients who experienced swelling for up to six months after the surgery.

Just make sure that you are taking it easy, keep wearing your compression belt and use cold compresses.

Post 1

I had abdominoplasty three weeks ago. I wear the compression garment as advised by my doctor but I still have immense abdominoplasty swelling. The swelling hasn't gone down at all since the surgery. I eat healthy and drink plenty of water. I don't know what else to do.

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