Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can You Gain Belly Fat After a Tummy Tuck

You may have heard that you can’t gain belly fat after a tummy tuck. But what does that mean, exactly?

The short answer is yes, you can gain belly fat after having a tummy tuck. But it’s not necessarily because the procedure did anything to your metabolism or your body’s ability to store fat. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ve simply put on some weight around your midsection and it’s starting to show.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you want to keep that extra weight off, you’ll want to make sure that your diet is healthy and balanced—and that means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and cutting out sodas and other sugary drinks (and maybe even cutting out alcohol). In this guide, we review the aspects of: Can you gain belly fat after a tummy tuck, how to not gain weight after tummy tuck, toning abs after tummy tuck, and planks after tummy tuck.

Can you gain belly fat after a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck at our Louisville, KY, plastic surgery center can be a transformative procedure, but excessive weight gain can minimize the longevity of your results. Many men and women worry that major lifestyle changes could impact their plastic surgery investment. All humans have natural weight fluctuations, but it’s important to know the connection between tummy tucks and weight gain. In this blog post, we will discuss every tummy tuck patient’s biggest fear—weight gain after surgery—and what to do to prevent it.

Why do patients gain weight?

There are many reasons why patients gain weight after tummy tuck surgery. Understanding the reasons discussed here is the first step in preventing weight gain.


Regardless of how many cosmetic procedures you get, the cornerstone of maintaining a slim figure is leading a healthy lifestyle. Of course, we all have cheat meals and lazy days every so often, but establishing healthy habits is essential to looking and feeling your best. There are no replacements for a balanced diet and regular exercise.


Your hormones fluctuate monthly and throughout the course of your life from puberty to adulthood. When your hormones are unbalanced, your weight can be dramatically affected. If you are doing everything you can to live a healthy lifestyle, and you still are gaining weight, talk to your doctor and he or she will be able to give you tips to balance your hormones and get you back on track.


Stress often causes people to sleep less and eat more—both of which play major roles in weight gain. Additionally, stress can cause hormonal issues like the ones mentioned above, with the result being that you store extra fat. You can find many ways to combat stress—exercise, medication, journaling—so it is important to find one that works for you.

Post-Surgery Fluid Retention

Sometimes after surgery water is retained in the areas between your organs, which can lead to a bloated appearance. This fluid retention can be localized—like swollen hands and feet—or it can be more generalized to give the appearance of overall weight gain. Staying active and following proper post-op instructions will help remedy this type of fluid retention.

Where do patients gain weight after a tummy tuck?

During body contouring procedures like a tummy tuck, fat cells are eliminated from the body and cannot return. Because of this, patients may gain weight in other places like the buttocks, legs, arms, and breasts. Patients also sometimes gain weight around their organs, and neither a tummy tuck nor liposuction can remove these fat cells.

What Are the Consequences of Gaining Weight After a Tummy Tuck?

You will be able to maintain your tummy tuck results if you have minor weight fluctuations, so gaining 10 to 15 pounds should not present significant issues. However, gaining weight can be a slippery slope, and excessive weight gain will surely compromise your results. Weight gain over 15 pounds can cause skin and abdominal muscles to stretch and create a belly bulge.

If the weight gain continues, you may need a tummy tuck revision. A revision can be a more complicated surgery, so I advise all my patients to stick to a healthy lifestyle instead, so they can enjoy their results for years to come. Tummy tuck results can be long-lasting when performed in conjunction with good diet and exercise.

Tummy tuck surgery is a transformative procedure that sculpts and tones the midsection. It is often used after pregnancy or significant weight loss to get rid of loose skin and unwanted fat. However, many patients worry that gaining weight after their tummy tuck will ruin their hard-earned results. It’s true that putting on pounds can change your new look—but there are ways to prevent this from happening.

All humans have natural weight fluctuations, but it’s useful to know the connection between weight gain and tummy tuck surgery. We offer our Roswell and Atlanta, GA, patients the following tips:

How Tummy Tuck Surgery Works

A tummy tuck is a plastic surgery procedure that cuts away unwanted skin and fat from the lower belly and flanks. The procedure begins with your doctor making a low hip-to-hip incision across the bikini line area. Using this incision, they can remove fatty tissue and pull loose skin into a firm, taut position. Other body contouring procedures, such as liposuction, are often combined with the procedure. 

Tummy tuck incision options including a full tummy tuck incision or a mini tummy tuck incision

Because a tummy tuck is a more extensive surgery, patients need around 10 to 14 days to recover. The results are long-lasting, and the removed fat cells won’t grow back—but remaining fat cells may expand and the skin may re-stretch if you gain a large amount of weight. 

How to Lose Belly Fat After Tummy Tuck

Patients may gain weight after their tummy tuck for a variety of reasons. By understanding how weight gain happens in the first place, you can do a better job of avoiding these pitfalls. 


The most common culprit of unwanted weight gain is simply unhealthy lifestyle choices. Eating high-calorie foods while living a sedentary lifestyle can cause you to gain weight quickly. If you want to maintain a slim, lean figure, there’s no replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. No matter how many plastic surgery procedures you decide to undergo, establishing healthy habits is the best way to look and feel your best. 


Your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the course of your life, starting first in puberty. They can also change depending on your diet, genetics, or age. If your hormones are unbalanced, your body may gain weight at a dramatic rate. If exercise and healthy eating aren’t enough to correct the problem, try talking to a doctor to see if you can be tested for a hormonal condition. 


Stress puts pressure on nearly every part of your body and nervous system. It often causes people to eat more and sleep less—two things that both contribute to weight gain. Stress can also cause hormonal issues like the ones mentioned above. If you’re going through a tough patch, try activities such as exercise or journaling to help put your system back in alignment. 

Post-Surgery Water Retention

Surgery puts a lot of strain on the body as it attempts to recover and heal. Sometimes water is retained in the spaces between your organs, leading to a bloated appearance. Swollen hands and feet can be a sign that you need more time to naturally process these fluids. Try to stay active and carefully follow any post-op instructions given by your doctor. 

Weight Gain After Tummy Tuck Pictures

What Happens Next?

Gaining a handful of pounds after your procedure won’t compromise your final tummy tuck results. You can usually fluctuate within 10 to 15 pounds of your goal weight without any significant issues. However, weight gain over the 15-pound mark can cause skin and abdominal muscles to slowly stretch out of place. This can create a belly bulge and impact the elasticity of your skin. 

In severe cases, you may need tummy tuck revision if you are unable to lose the new weight. Revision surgery is typically more complicated than the initial procedure, so try to avoid this last-chance solution. Instead, we encourage our patients to lead healthy, active lifestyles after surgery and avoid any major lifestyle changes. 

Before-and-after tummy tuck photos

How to Maintain Your Best Tummy Tuck Results

Want to enjoy your tummy tuck results for years to come? Here are a few easy ways to protect your new look.

  • Eat nutritious foods: One of the best ways to avoid unwanted weight gain is to eat healthy, balanced meals. Remaining at a steady weight will help maintain your surgery results, so be sure to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet. 
  • Exercise often: Calories in, calories out! Exercise burns off excess calories while also toning your muscles. In addition to helping with general weight loss, exercise can also help you grow a stronger core and give your body the support it needs. 
  • Finish having children: Tummy tuck surgery won’t affect your ability to get pregnant, but pregnancy can certainly change your body shape. Wait to have tummy tuck surgery until you’re sure you’ve finished growing your family. 

Gaining weight after a tummy tuck isn’t ideal, but there are plenty of ways to correct course and maintain your results. Request a consultation if you would like to learn more about your tummy tuck surgery options from experienced cosmetic surgeons in the Atlanta area.

how to not gain weight after tummy tuck

If you want a slimmer, more toned midsection, a tummy tuck might be the right option for you. This is a plastic surgery procedure that doesn’t help you lose weight, but rather addresses excess skin and muscles to give you a toned, sleeker figure. Most people who have tummy tucks are those who lost a lot of weight or had a baby and want to correct stubborn concern areas afterward.

It’s normal to wonder if it’s possible to still gain weight after having a tummy tuck. There are a few facts to know so you can continue to maintain your results for the long term.

Before you decide to have a tummy tuck, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy weight. You should be as close to your goal weight as possible to prevent potential complications during surgery. Tummy tucks are meant to help patients shed excess skin around their abdomens. Although liposuction can be be performed to eliminate stubborn fat, you shouldn’t rely on it as a weight loss method.

Minimal fluctuations in weight are normal for everyone. If you decide to have a tummy tuck, a weight change ranging from five to 10 pounds shouldn’t negatively affect your results. At the same time, it’s still important to understand why weight gain might occur. Being aware of this can help prevent possible complications from the surgery and can also help avoid serious medical conditions that arise or worsen with weight gain. The following are the most common reasons for weight gain after a tummy tuck:

If you gain weight after having had a tummy tuck, your abdominal skin will stretch. Depending on how much you gain, the skin of your stomach can hang when you eventually lose the weight. You may also have new stretch marks. If you become pregnant after your surgery, it can lead to the separation of the abdominal muscles. Many patients who seek tummy tuck procedures express concern about gaining a significant amount of weight after their surgery. As a result, it’s absolutely essential that only people who are good candidates for the procedure have the surgery.

One of the biggest factors in losing weight or maintaining your desired weight is exercise. Of course, for the first few weeks following your tummy tuck, you should avoid strenuous exercise, but you should be able to resume your regular daily routine and activities after your plastic surgeon tells you it’s safe. If you practice a healthy lifestyle and consume healthy foods after your surgery, you can avoid gaining weight after a tummy tuck.

The tummy tuck can help transform your body after weight loss or pregnancy. Dr. Fichadia is a double-board certified plastic surgeon located in Portland, OR. To meet with Dr. Fichadia and learn more about your options, contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.

toning abs after tummy tuck

If you’re planning to have tummy tuck surgery, you’re probably already familiar with the many ways in which this procedure can improve your core. Not only does tummy tuck surgery remove loose skin and subcutaneous fat (allowing your muscles to show more prominently), it can heal damaged muscle tissue. For some patients, having a tummy tuck is a necessary step on the road towards achieving strong abdominal muscles. Take a look at our tummy tuck before and after pictures in our photo gallery to get an idea of what can be accomplished.

Why Do Some People Need Tummy Tuck Surgery to Strengthen Their Core?

Those who have been pregnant or significantly overweight in the past often struggle profoundly with their core. They usually labor under the erroneous idea that diet and exercise alone can restore lost muscle tone and create a “flat” stomach. Only to discover, after many hours of exercise, that this simply isn’t the case. The problem isn’t their dedication or technique; instead, the issue is within their muscle tissue.

When a large amount of weight (from fat deposits or a growing baby) exerts stress on the walls of the abdominal cavity, the tissue that connects the two lateral halves of the abdominal muscles often tears. When this happens, the muscles are prevented from working in unison; they therefore cannot be strengthened properly with exercise alone. Unfortunately, these tears don’t usually heal on their own because tissue needs to be connected in order to heal (this is why deep cuts require stitches in order to close). Sutures must be placed in the tissue during tummy tuck surgery to start the healing process, which often takes about two months to complete. After this occurs, the patient is ready to start working on his or her core via conventional means like diet and exercise.

The 5 Best Core Workouts for Tummy Tuck Patients

As a tummy tuck patient, it’s essential that you wait until your surgeon tells you that it’s okay to start exercising again. Exercising too early can cause your muscle tissue to tear again, making revision surgery necessary. However, once you have been given the “all clear,” exercise is a great way to accentuate the results of your procedure. Strong abdominal muscles exert a “corseting” effect on the abdomen, pulling in subcutaneous fat stores and compressing the organs. This makes the stomach flatter as these tissues protrude less.

If you’re ready to start working out your core and creating those six pack abs you’ve always dreamed of, the five exercises below are a great place to start:

1. The Raised Plank

Enter a standard plank position, resting on your elbows and toes with your body elevated off the ground. Raise one foot off the ground and hold it aloft for 5 to 10 seconds, making sure to keep your body level. Don’t bend or twist your torso. After holding, switch legs. Repeat this exercise at least five times.

2. The Side Plank

While resting on your side, raise your body up on one elbow. Hold your position for at least ten seconds, then relax. Repeat this exercise at least five times, then switch sides.

3. Reverse Crunches

Unlike a traditional crunch, the reverse crunch involves raising the lower part of the body to create an intense lower ab workout. Lie on the floor with your arms at your sides and slowly raise your buttocks off the ground while keeping your legs raised. Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise 20 to 30 times.

4. The Body Hold

As the name suggests, this exercise requires holding your body up for a set duration of time. It sounds easy, but it’s surprisingly difficult to maintain. To perform the body hold, lie on the ground and raise your shoulders, arms, and legs, with your arms stretched out in front of you. Hold your position for at least ten seconds. Release and repeat the exercise five to ten times.

5. The Bicycle

While lying on the floor with your arms behind your head, raise your legs and bend them at the knee. Start pumping one leg forward, then the other, as if you’re riding a bicycle. Do at least 25 repetitions before relaxing your stance.

The beauty of the exercises described above lies in their simplicity. You don’t need expensive gym equipment or a lot of room to perform them; you only need a mat and your own willpower. This makes strengthening your core something you can work into your routine anywhere, anytime.

planks after tummy tuck

But remember, a tummy tuck is a significant surgical procedure, and recovering from the operation is a serious business.

Here, Dr. Scott Farber of Farber Plastic Surgery outlines a number of exercises that speed up recovery from a tummy tuck, and ensure patients achieve the results they desire. First, he explains exactly what happens to your body during a tummy tuck, and then how you can help your body recover from the procedure.

What Happens in a Tummy Tuck Operation?

For many patients, muscles in the abdominal region become detached or stretched during pregnancy or as a result of obesity. This also results in excess flabby skin around the midriff.

A tummy tuck solves these problems. During a tummy tuck, your surgeon will make an incision along your lower abdomen. Through this incision, the surgeon is able to manipulate the muscles and skin of the abdominal region by reinforcing or tightening the muscles that have separated by pulling them closer together and fixing them in place. Excess skin can also be removed and remaining skin can be stretched over the abdomen to smooth the area and provide structural support to the lower spine and abdominal organs. The surgeon then closes the incision with sutures, and your body begins the healing process.

Due to the invasive nature of this surgery, the body experiences internal and external bruising, stretched muscles, and of course, the incision through which the operation is performed. Before you are able to return to normal function and activities, your body must first do some healing.

What Happens During Recovery from a Tummy Tuck?

After the surgery, your abdomen will be bruised, swollen, and sensitive.

Bruising occurs due to blood escaping from damaged blood vessels, which becomes trapped between the skin and the musculature.

Bruising contributes to swelling, but swelling is also caused by your body’s defense systems protecting the damaged area. Fluids and white blood cells can pool in the abdominal region after a tummy tuck, leading to swelling.

Regular exercise helps reduce this bruising and swelling, but not before your body is ready.

What Can I Do to Help my Body Heal from a Tummy Tuck?

First Twenty-Four Hours

First and foremost, it is absolutely vital that you allow your body complete rest for the twenty-four hours immediately following your procedure. Giving your body a chance to adjust to the procedure and begin the healing process helps keep the altered musculature in place, and provides the incision with an opportunity to start to close properly.

Many patients may spend the first day in the hospital, just to ensure there are no complications with the procedure. Sitting up on your own, and perhaps standing and sitting slowly, are the only exercises you should be doing during the first twenty-four hours.

After the first day, you can start some very slow walking. This will help with blood circulation.

First Two Weeks After Surgery

Proper circulation is important during the healing process as the blood transports waste material away from the site and delivers the building blocks for your body’s recovery.

You must remember that the muscles of your abdomen need time to attach themselves properly, and stretching during these early days poses the risk of detaching the muscles or opening up the incision. For these reasons, it is crucial that you keep your hands beneath your shoulders, and you don’t stretch your abdomen.

Light walking with a slight bend at the waist is all that you should do for the first two weeks, gradually increasing the distance with each day.

Weeks Three and Four

After two weeks, you can begin to gently mobilize your waist, and partake in walking or gentle cycling. You should still avoid lifting weights and any exercises that target the abdominal region.

This helps mobilize the area, further increasing blood flow and beginning to test the range of motion of the muscles, while giving the muscles and incision proper time to adjust and heal.

Weeks Four to Six

Provided there are no signs of pain or discomfort, you can begin slightly more intense exercise during this time. Slowly increase the range of motion without putting large amounts of stress on the abdominal region.

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