Why Do I Have A Full Upper Stomach After My Tummy Tuck?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I had a tummy tuck six months ago but am not happy with the result. My lower stomach area around the incision is flat but my upper stomach below my breasts bulges out. Is this swelling, fat or something else? Why isn’t it flat like my lower stomach?

Tummy Tuck with Pubic Liposuction results oblique view Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisA: It is not rare after a tummy tuck to have the upper stomach area above the belly button remain than the shape of the stomach below the belly button. This can occur in those patients who have thick fat layer to their stomach initially. Because most plastic surgeons avoid debulking the upper stomach area during a full tummy tuck by extensive lipsouction, and repositioning of the upper abdominal flap downward over the excised area is done to ls close the wound, can create a mismatch in fullness of the tissues above and below the belly button. What you have is not swollen or bloated but the natural thickness of the upper abdominal fat layer which has largely been undisturbed. This is why liposuction of the upper abdominal area six months or more after a tummy tuck can reduce this fullness and put the finishing touches on a tummy tuck effort.

I always make it a point of emphasis in presurgical discussions to point out this exact issue in patients that have naturally convex abdominal shapes and thick fat layers on their abdomen. There are many tummy tucks who can not achieve a completely flat abdomen and this is important to point out beforehand.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana