Is the recovery time for a tummy tuck awfully long?

I expect having my belly cut open would hurt enormously after the anesthesia wears off. I'm a pretty big coward when it comes to pain and I've been doing everything possible to avoid it in my life, to the point of avoiding vaccines back when I was a kid. The kids waiting in line outside the cabinet were terrified by my screams. True story. :) I guess things haven't changed much. On the other hand, I really want to lose this ugly, flabby belly and I'm trying to get myself ready for the big leap. Any info regarding the recovery would be greatly appreciated.

andycoop

M, 40, Vermont

Hello AndyCoop, how are you? Thanks so much for your inquiry.  I totally get you. It is quite scary a long scar (incision) in your belly, but let me put it like this, some of the sensitive related nerves that are in that area, will be "disconnected" and pain is not what you are going to feel. You might feel numbness in that area and your abdominal muscle wall, which is likely to be repaired, is going to feel quite stretched and you are going to feel sore like if you'd done hundreds of crunches at the gym. So more than pain is discomfort for three days (which are the difficult ones). Good luck and congratulations in your next step!

Please make sure that you and your surgeon are on the same page. Don't forget to discuss all your concerns, options and expectations thoroughly. Have a safe and pleasant PS Journey!
Respectfully,
Dr. Jaime Campos-Leon
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Tijuana, BC Mexico

Actually, most of the post op pain from a tummy tuck is due to the stitches that are placed within the abdominal muscles to tighten them and produce a flat abdomen.  The good news is that there is a long-lasting medication (Exparel) which can be injected at the end of the operation which will virtually remove major pain for the first 3 days after surgery, which is the time when there is the most pain.  It is expensive but well worth it. Most of my patients have their tummy tuck done on an out-patient basis and within 1-2 hrs after surgery, they walk out the door standing straight up and with virtually no pain. 


For further info about tummy tucks, please see my website:  http://www.plasticsurgeonnewyork.com/abdominoplasty.php


Elliot W. Jacobs, MD, FACS

New York City

Dr. Elliot Jacobs has 3 Tummytuck before & afters:

Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs Tummytuck after image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs Tummytuck after image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs Tummytuck after image performed by Dr. Elliot Jacobs

» View Dr. Elliot Jacobs 's full profile

Typical recovery is 1 1/2 to 2 weeks depending on you and what kind of work you do The results are dramatic and unfortunately if there is an issue of extra skin you cannot address it without surgery.  A pain pump may help to minimize your post operative pain as well as abdominal nerve blocks. These are items you can discuss with your surgeon.  This procedure makes a huge difference in how you feel about yourself.

Dr. Roger Friedman has 2 Tummytuck before & afters:

Tummytuck before image performed by Dr. Roger FriedmanTummytuck after image performed by Dr. Roger FriedmanTummytuck before image performed by Dr. Roger FriedmanTummytuck after image performed by Dr. Roger Friedman

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Hi Andycoop,

You can expect to experience the following in the week after surgery:

  • Bruising
  • Tightness
  • Swelling
  • Mild to moderate pain

You may need to take oral pain medication for 5-7 days.

During week two there will still be swelling in the treatment area but the pain, bruising, and tightness should begin to subside.

Most patients are able to participate in light exercise about a month after tummy tuck surgery. 

Visit our blog to learn more about the tummy tuck recovery process.

Best,

Diana