Abdominal swelling 6 months after diep reconstruction

I had diep reconstruction on my right breast 6 months ago and a boob uplift and reduction on the other breast two months ago. For the past six months I’ve had abdominal swelling which refuses to go away. I’m a very active person and have done my best to try and carry on regardless but the swelling is very, very uncomfortable and is starting to get me down. I’m not in pain, I don’t have a temperature or any redness, but sometimes the swelling is so bad I feel like I’m going to burst.

Has anyone else experienced this and, if so, how was it resolved (if at all)?

Hi amd,

Sorry that you are suffering from this side effect, sounds to me that it could be a seroma, which is a known se of diep surgery. Have you contacted your plastic team or bcn, I think that is probably the best way to move forward and get it sorted. I have been sufferng from a swollen right leg/ foot and my plastic team have said that it is probably due to the dissection down into my groin to release the vein for the diep and that elevation of the limb when resting and keeping active should help the sitution. Following that advice, the foot is slightly less swollen, so contact with your team is important to help with appropriate treatment. Hope the problem resolves soon.
Take care,

Thanks Marjay,

I suspect you’re probably right about the seroma. Right too in your advice to contact the PS and my BCN. I did try, but unfortunately, both are on holiday at the moment and the most help that’s been offered is to arrange an appointment with the PS when he returns. As it turns out I already have an appointment arranged for a fortnight’s time so I suppose I’ll just have to struggle through ‘til then.

The mind boggles when I think about how I’ll manage to elevate my abdomen …

Hi amd

so interested to see your post as I have exactly the same problem and can’t seem to find any info out there at all. I feel like the only one with this problem. I had my reconstruction 7 weeks ago so not as far along as you, my new boob is fab but my supposedly ‘flat’ tummy is far from flat, in fact I am unable to do up any of my clothes despite having lost 1 stone in weight as well. I have lost the weight as I feel full up very quickly because of the swelling and although I am Ok pottering around the house I can’t walk any distance as I feel my tummy is pulling. I am feeling pressured to go back to work but I just don’t feel that I can whilst I feel so uncomfortable. every time I have metioned this to PS/nurses they have dismissed it.

i have an appointment on tuesday with PS who has been wonderful with everything else, so I am going to insist that I need someting to be done (not sure what though :))

I will post again after my appt and let you know as it may help you as well.

Hi ladies,
I had my DIEP surgery only four weeks and my abdominal drain lost it’s vacuum much too early and my abdomen has been gradually filling up with fluid ever since. my lovely flat tummy is also now quite distended. my PS insists it is nothing to worry about and that my body will eventually absorb all this fluid. Luckily I am i not in any pain at all and it isn’t stopping me doing anything.

Hi there,

I had my diep in February and still have a really tight tummy. It’s swollen just above the pubic area, it sounds really weird but it’s feels like a really blown up balloon, you push it in and it bounces back, very strange. I had my check up the other week, saw yet another different consultant and I really went on about the tightness but he just shrugged his shoulders and said there was nothing wrong. Like you all I haven’t been able to find out anything much, but am sure there must be something I could do to help, exercises etc. I even asked him if it would be worth me paying to go to a physiotherapist but he just said I’d be wasting my money.

Maybe we’re all being a bit impatient, I suppose it’s early days really and it is a huge operation, I just sometimes wish they could take the time to explain things a bit better to put our minds at rest. However I’m still really happy I had the op, just been on holiday and not having to worry about tops etc was fab!!

Best wishes to you all.

I had mine 6 weeks ago really pleased with my “new boob”,but really tight across stomach scar also feels like a rope across if you understand what I mean.
Saw ps registrar 2 weeks ago and said all was fine.
Just joined the forum and it is really reassuring to find others have same problems ,Also think I am too impatient and find it difficult to be reliant on people as still cannot drive ,hoover etc due to tightness of stomach.

Best wishes to you all x

I’m now about 5 weeks from surgery looby, so we’re at similar stage. I see PS on Friday for 6 week check up. Have you been given any idea just how much you can start doing? I am so bored of reading, watching tv and pottering around the house. I have been cooking and doing the laundry but otherwise hubby is doing all housework even though I feel that I could do it now. I have been walking every day for half hour or so for last 3 weeks,

Hi there
I had my DIEP delayed reconstruction at end of April. My abdomen also feels very swollen and not right - like a balloon filled with air. It looks very weird because my tummy at the bottom is quite tight but the top is swollen so I look an odd shape. It’s also very sore and uncomfortable. Is that how you’re feeling? Am due to see PS in a couple of weeks so will get him to take a look and let you know what he says.
All the best.

Hi all I get told is to take it easy as i have had a major op!!

But have decided I am going to do a short drive this week and see how I get on. trouble is no one really gives any guidance I think you have to do things when you can. however don’t be an idiot like me last week tried to do the hoovering and realised quite quickly why it’s not advisable just yet!!!

I just feel if i can’t get out and about soon I’ll end up being treated for depression !!

SJC ,yes this just how i’m feeling.

Hi Ladies - thanks for all replies - I’m not on my own after all! SJC - I am swollen from just under boobs right down to scar on tummy - I look 6 months pregnant. Feels very tight and gets worse the more I eat and as the day goes on. I had my follow up with PS on Tuesday last week and asked him twice about my tummy and was just dismissed again. The other doctor in the room even joked that it was like I had a gastric band for free :frowning: He does not want to see me again until I have next part (reduction and lift on other side) which will be 6 months. I now feel very abandoned and on my own and I still have leak of fluid from recon as well. I do feel bad about criticising PS as he has been wonderful until now. I went to see GP today to get another note for work and told her. She was great and examined my tummy (PS did not even have a look!!). She said it was very hard and did not feel quite right and has referred me for an urgent scan also blood tests as I am losing weight so quickly, although this is probably because I’m not eating. She also said I was being very optimistic about going back to work after 8 weeks and she would expect recovery to take 12 weeks. will see what scan shows but I do feel a bit better now that something is being done. I know its hard to question docs but I think if you are not happy or don’t feel quite right then try elsewhere. Will keep evryone posted - can you all do so as well if you get eny answers? Very best wishes to everyone XX

Well I’m hoping to back to work next monday Curly … that will be 6 weeks, but I feel up to it.

I think all PS say different things. mine told me to do nothing for three weeks, no driving or housework for six weeks and then see how we were going. As I say seeing him on friday, so I’ll find out then I suppose.

I saw oncologist yesterday and was told that my radiotherapy must be delayed until my breast is ‘stable’ … it is still changing shape daily because of swelling and fluid. That was disappointing and I hope it settles soon.


I’m new to forum, but feel very reassured reading everyones comments.
I had DIEP 8 weeks ago July 21st, new boob is fine if a little bigger than i would of liked,I’ve never been in any pain, but do have lots of other sensations going on,a couple of little plastic staples have popped through tummy scar, but Ps said not a problem,tummy looks good but i still can’t get into any of my pre Op clothes, my PS seemed very surprised at this & checked me again on Friday & assured me theres no fluid. I didn’t drive until a week ago & am preparing to go back to work but have no idea what i’ll wear!

Hi i am considering a diep after 4 failed inplants they look awfull with flattening when i move my arm and flex the muscle can i ask does this happen when you have had a diep i live in west yorkshire but going to a hospital in Salford for opinion.RubyRuby.

Hi ruby

My new DIEP breast moves very naturally and does not flatten at all. If anything it is quite a bit firmer than my own breast nd sits a bit higher now than it did originally. My cleavage looks really good and is very natural though.



had diep 5 weeks ago saw ps today and breast looks good but have small swelling on my left side just above the scar he said massge it can anyone tell me what I should look out for please alos want can i do now has ps said just take it easy still and rest but would like to do little more around the house etc


I had diep last October and still have tummy discomfort; very tight and don’t feel I’m standing upright. I also have swelling to the back of the scars. I have not put on weight, it is a distortion and the bruising is still there … very feint, but visible.
I cannot understand why we cannot find any guidance regarding physio or exercise. There are many of us out there with similar issues.
I want to take control of my healing and recovery, but cannot find any guidance.
And, just to cap it all, have frozen shoulder :frowning: :slight_smile:
Any exercise programmes or physio advice would be great.
I do walk my dogs regularly, so probably do around 10/15 miles per week.
Thanks for the rant

Hi I haven’t used a forum before so hoping im commenting in the right place.

I had diep recon on my right breast on March 28th this year. I had DCIS and treatment was to just get it all out. Fortunately nothing had spread so I’ve not had to have chemo or radiotherapy. I feel so very blessed that it was caught early.

I’m on here because I’ve just been in so much pain since my surgery and today it feels dreadful. The worst pain is my abdomen and I’m wondering what on earth they did to me for it to be this painful. I have asked my ps and he told me is was very loose inside and they had to tighten me up a lot!! I’ve had three children and they corrected my muscles that hadn’t joined back up after my pregnancies. I was grateful at the time but I’m wondering if this has caused me the extra pain. My abdomen is also swollen today from my tummy scar up to my ribs. I’ve only noticed the swelling today and I don’t think it’s been this bad before. I have tried to get hold of my plastic nurse but she is in surgery all day and can’t call me till tomorrow.

Has anyone experienced anything similar to me and experienced such a prolonged time of horrible pain.

Sometimes it feel like I have thousands of pins pricking my tummy and Its unbearable to touch
My gp thinks that this is nerve pain and has prescribed me pregabalin which eases it a bit but makes me sleepy. I also take co codomol which helps a bit but also makes me sleepy! I have to take pro plus to keep me awake so I can function normally. (I’m not a coffee drinker!)

It’s been 5 months since my surgery and sometimes I just wonder if this will ever end. I’m wondering if this is normal or not and whether I should be making more of a fuss with the PS?

Any ideas, comments, advise VERY gratefully received!

I feel so blessed to be cancer free but boy this is difficult!!

A month following the diep flap surgery for breast reconstruction I developed a round ball size area on my left above the scar. First thought hernia. It got larger. After cat scan I was told that my diep fascia had weakened and fat cells are in that area and is getting larger. The fat cells are normally below the top skin and the superficial fascia. The deep fascia is very dense and strong to protect the vital organs. I have found no way that fat cells can get below the diep fascia. I’m told it is dangerous to have them there. I was told they never cut into the diep fascia but know that not to be true for they cut into my muscles near my groin to take blood vessels to use in the reconstruction of the nipple area. Why does the hospital read me the reports as it occurred in the hospital and the doctor has now given me and my husband separate stories. I also had two pulmonary ambolisms with respiratory heart failure According to what I was read off the hospital records and have been given another different answer. I need to find out what this now very large buldgue is and what harm it can cause if not rectified. It has been a year since reconstruction and I am getting worried.

Hi shebyrd

Welcome to the BCC Forum.  I hope other members will soon see your post and come along with some replies.  (You have posted on an old thread so the original contributors may not use the forum much any more)

You might also find it helpful to phone our Helpline for some information and support.  The opening times are 9-5 on weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.  The number is 0808 800 6000

Very best wishes


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