Plastic Surgeon Questions Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

Are tummy tucks painful to get?

I would like to get a tummy tuck, but I heard that the recovery time after it is at least one to two months. Why is the recovery time so long? Are tummy tucks painful?

7 Answers

Most patients describe the pain after tummy tuck as a 4/10 withOUT pain medication. With treatment, that should be a 1 or 2/10
Tummy tuck includes tightening of abdominal muscle sleeves. This is what prolongs recovery.
Most patients return to work in 2 weeks and are unrestricted in activity in 6 weeks.
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There are two factors which can contribute to discomfort associated with a tummy tuck: muscle tightening and liposuction. Abdominal wall blocks called TAP blocks help to minimize the discomfort as do pain pumps. Many physicians are providing oral medication prior to the procedure which also seems to help: gabapentin and tylenol.
They certainly can be. Tummy tucks can involve a substantial repair of the abdominal wall. Drains are likely. So, if you have need of one, talk to your surgeon on how he views your abdomen. Now, if it is minimal and drains are not used, it can be very different. Hospitalization would not be needed, and recovery at home is tolerated well. Even if drains are used on a reasonable tummy tuck, going home is considered. But, well done tummy tucks are very much appreciated by the patient.
Good question!

Depends if you correct a hernia with the “tummy tuck” and/or do Lipo Sculpture with the procedure. Usually, you get a tight feeling and not as much pain. It may be a little uncomfortable in the first few weeks as you may be bent forward for a bit. Most of my patients have little pain and more tightness. I always do liposuction with the procedure to get the best waist possible and often correct hernias all from the low bikini line incision.
Thank you for your question. Just 4-5 years ago I would have agreed with you about tummy tuck surgery. Yes, it was very painful, controlled with lots of strong pain meds that had other undesired side effects. Today, a long-lasting local anesthetic (up to 4-5 days) can be used and most patients can get by on Tylenol after surgery. Discomfort can last up to 3 months, most are back doing regular activities by the second or third week. It also depends what and how much was done during surgery. You should contact a plastic surgeon, and once it's determined what you need done surgically, pain and post-op care should be thoroughly discussed.
Good luck to you.
A typical full abdominoplasty is a powerful procedure that can flatten and remove excess skin and fat from both above and below the belly button and tighten the abdominal muscles. As with any surgery, the pain is usually worse in the 2-3 days immediately after surgery and tends to improve after that. Management of pain is usually through a combination of narcotic and non-narcotic pain medications taken by mouth, oral medications that lessen muscle spasm, and long-acting local anesthetics injected during surgery or infused from a small pump. The recovery for an abdominoplasty is typically 2-3 weeks. The ability to return to work and everyday activities is variable and depends on many factors including the type of work, the pain tolerance of the patient, and the extent of the procedures. See the following link for more information:

A detailed examination will help delineate the best surgical option and provide you a custom quote for your situation.


Dr. David M. Tauber, MD