Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Pain 2 Months After Tummy Tuck

It’s been two months since I had my tummy tuck. And I’m in pain.

I know, I know: the pain is supposed to go away after two weeks. But it didn’t. I’ve been feeling like this for two months now, and it just doesn’t seem to be getting better.

Maybe it’s because I’m still wearing my compression garment every day (and night), even though they told me not to wear it during the day anymore. Maybe it’s because I’ve been eating so much more than usual—like a lot more than usual—since my body feels so empty inside and like I’ll never get full again. Or maybe it’s because I’m still trying to figure out what this surgery has done and how long it will take before everything feels normal again. In this guide, we review the aspects of Pain 2 Months After Tummy Tuck, pain in upper abdomen after tummy tuck, stomach not flat after tummy tuck, and How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck?

Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: nothing about this process has been easy or simple.

Pain 2 Months After Tummy Tuck

Recently, a patient came into my office for a consultation about a body contouring operation. She was concerned about back pain after a tummy tuck as she had read that it can be a problem. Unfortunately, she ended up choosing another surgeon to perform her tummy tuck operation, one who claimed to have a special technique to prevent resulting back pain. If your back pain is a result of a sports injury, then you may need to seek Sports Medicine Injury Therapy.

Why unfortunately? Because I know through tummy tuck surgical experience and research at my NYC practice that the only way to guarantee zero back pain after a tummy tuck is to perform a subpar operation. Let me explain.

The Anatomy of a Tummy Tuck

During a tummy tuck, an incision is made in the lower abdomen, and the skin from the umbilicus down to the incision is removed. The remaining tummy skin is then pulled down while the mons pubis region is lifted slightly in order to close the resulting wound. How tightly the wound is closed depends almost entirely on the height at which the initial incision is made.The lower the incision, the tighter the closure will be.
There is always some pain associated with a tummy tuck, as with any surgery, but there are tips for relieving tummy tuck pain which your surgeon will discuss with you. However, some patients experience back pain as well. There are some useful references you can find online in this regard.

What Causes Back Pain After a Tummy Tuck?

Back pain after a tummy tuck is an occasional phenomenon but is not the norm. It sometimes occurs in patients who don’t have a lot of lower tummy skin to remove, resulting in a tighter closure than usual. This prevents the patient from being able to stand upright for a few days or sometimes weeks after the surgery. It is important to mention that there are NO reported incidents of patients not being able to stand straight after reasonable recovery time.

However, many similar patients with very little tummy skin to remove never experience back pain while recovering from a tummy tuck. So, why does this happen in some patients and not others?

This tight closure is both the ideal result of a tummy tuck operation and the ultimate cause of related back pain. A tight closure requires more time after the operation to allow the patient to relax, stand straight, sleep on their belly, or extend their back.

If this recovery period goes on for more than a week—as sometimes happens—then it should be no surprise that patients might develop some back pain. This is the result of remaining in a hunched position for a week and has nothing to do with the surgery proper. You might check out this useful reference to relieve back pain and get well ASAP.

If this recovery period goes on for more than a week—as sometimes happens—then it should be no surprise that patients might develop some back pain. This is the result of remaining in a hunched position for a week and has nothing to do with the surgery proper.

The Reality of the “Special Technique”

So what was the “special technique” developed by a plastic surgeon in Chicago that my consult patient chose in order to avoid back pain?
In order for the surgeon to promise no back pain after a tummy tuck, he would have to make the incision higher on the tummy. In doing so, he would remove less tummy skin and would not have a tight abdominal closure.

In other words, to avoid the possibility of back pain, a patient undergoing this “special technique” would come away with her tummy not as tight as it could be. Not only that, she may not be able to wear a bikini ever again because the scar will show from the higher incision.

Be Informed About Your Tummy Tuck

Realistically, if you are going to sign up for a tummy tuck—including all of the cost, both financial and otherwise—wouldn’t you want the best tummy tuck you could get in NY? If my consult patient had understood the problems associated with back pain prevention, I wonder what choice she would have made.

If you are considering a tummy tuck or any surgery, make sure you are fully informed of the techniques your surgeon plans to use and ask questions about recovery times, scarring and, any other concerns you might have. You might even want to check out one of my other blog posts regarding tummy tuck recovery — it even includes a video to help you better understand the process.

Informed decisions are the key to great results. Visit my website for more information about tummy tucks, including procedures, recovery and photos of actual patients. You can schedule your tummy tuck consultation using this online form or by calling my office at (212) 249-4020.

worst days after tummy tuck

The only thing standing between you and a flat tummy is your tummy tuck surgery and recovery. We’ve got the surgery handled. You’ll be under anesthesia and won’t need to do a thing. Day by day tummy tuck recovery is your job. We’ll monitor you throughout the process and are available to answer any questions or concerns, but you’ll be the one putting in the time and effort to recover safely from surgery. 

Day by Day Tummy Tuck Recovery

Here’s what to expect from your day by day tummy tuck recovery. We’ll walk you through the process day by day.

Day 1: Surgery Day

Many patients go home on the same day as their tummy tuck procedure. Someone will need to drive you, so arrange for a trusted adult to bring you to and from your surgery. 

When you wake up from anesthesia, you’ll remain in recovery for a couple of hours. Our nurses will carefully monitor you and attend to your needs until you’re ready to return home. 

Patients report feeling groggy, tired, and occasionally nauseous. You’ll feel weak and sitting or standing up may be uncomfortable on the first day of your tummy tuck recovery.

Days 2-7: The First Week

Rest and recover the first week after your tummy tuck procedure. This week you’ll be restricted in the activities you can perform and you’ll need to be off work. 

  • You’ll return to meet with us, usually the day after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will check on your healing, tell you more about your surgery, and answer any questions at your follow-up visit. 
  • You may have drains for the first few days. These drains help remove fluid from the surgical area. Drains are removed three to seven days after surgery. 
  • Patients wear compression bandaging or garments during the first week. Compression helps to reduce swelling. 
  • Start taking gentle walks as soon as you’re able. 

You may feel tired and tender and will likely have some bruising and swelling after surgery.

Days 8-14: The Second Week

During the second week, you’ll start to feel much better. By the end of the week, many patients are ready to return to work.  

As you resume your regular activities, do so slowly. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury or complications. It’s difficult, but don’t rush.  

Keep wearing your compression garment to limit swelling and hold your new contours in place.

Days 15-21: The Third Week

By Week 3, most patients are back to work and feel much better than they did originally. Most patients will no longer need prescription pain medication. If you still have discomfort, over-the-counter pain medications can be used. 

Keep wearing your compression garments. We usually recommend that patients use compression garments for about a month after surgery.

Week 4 and Beyond

By this point in recovery, you’ll be back to many activities. Most patients feel significantly better and can see the results of their procedure, a flatter and tighter tummy. 

  • Many patients can resume gentle exercise at four weeks post-surgery. Wait six to eight weeks before returning to abdominal exercises or very strenuous activities. 
  • Some residual swelling is common, even several weeks after surgery. 
  • Scars are usually very prominent at four weeks post-surgery but don’t worry. They will start to fade soon after. As scars heal, they become smoother and lighter. 

We’ll give you specific instructions about recovery and what to expect.

After Tummy Tuck: The Exercises That Support Your Recovery

Many patients are ready to start exercising as soon as possible.  For the next several weeks, you’ll make up for your body’s lack of strength with willpower. However, instead of pushing past pain, like in your pre-tummy tuck cardio or weight sessions, you’ll use it as an indicator to slow down and back-off.

The following three activities may not look like exercises, but considering you’ve just come out of surgery, they’re likely what’s best:

Week 1: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Patience, and a Few Steps

Patience? That’s not a workout! At this stage in your recovery, however, it’s the best thing. And it’s not always easy. Even if you don’t feel sore, your body needs to rest.

As soon as immediately after surgery, your doctor may want you to do some light movement, like standing or walking a few steps to get the blood flowing. During the first week, a progression from walking a few steps to walking across the room may be considered a win.

And of course, you’ll probably want to do more, and that’s where the willpower comes in. You need the patience to hold back. Plan to have a spouse or friend with you when you attempt these first maneuvers. Not to mention, you’ll need some help around the house with things like child care and anything that involves bending or lifting.

Week 2: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Short Walks

At this point, you’ll start feeling a little stronger, but be careful. Maintaining patience remains part of your challenge. If you overdo your walks or attempt a jog, you risk causing damage and slowing your recovery.

Instead, consider a slower build. Last week, a walk across the room was a good goal, this week, maybe a stroll down the hall can grow, over a few days, to a walk to the mailbox. Although these milestones may not impress your friends, given time, your flat and properly healed tummy will do that.

And around the house, continue to seek and accept help. This may even be an ideal time to train a spouse or a child to do a few more chores, as long as it doesn’t involve you bending over or lifting anything. And, once they know what they’re doing, they’ll never have an excuse not to do it again!

Weeks 3-4: Tummy Tuck Recovery Workout: Longer Walks, Light Weights

You’re feeling better, so why not bust out a 5k run? Definitely not yet! You can, however, continue to build on your previous week’s progress and incorporate new muscle groups.

At this stage, you can SLOWLY increase the speed and distance of your walks. Don’t, however, compare what you’re doing now versus your pre-surgery cardio. You’re not looking to find the point where you have to stop.

You can also consider light weights that work areas other than your belly, like your arms. Keep in mind, almost all weight lifting uses a little bit of your core, so start light and use pain as your guide.

As for work around the house or beyond, at this stage, you’re still not 100% ready to do a marathon house cleaning session or a surprise day at the office. You’ll again need your willpower to let others do otherwise easy things for you. Really, it’s OK. You’re almost there.

Week 5 and Beyond: Business as Usual (or Better)

With your doctor’s permission, you may be able to resume your regular workouts and life as usual. Again, everyone’s body is different, so don’t assume any lingering soreness means you’ve failed. Your body may simply need more time.

Even if you feel great, try to ease (not jump) back into any of your intense pre-surgery workouts. Remember, your previous routines were likely based on having a belly and wanting it gone. Good news, with the tummy tuck, you’ve accomplished that. Actual core strengthening exercises like leg lifts, planks, or Yoga can be introduced but again, start small and build.

When you chose a tummy tuck, you made a significant decision to improve yourself. Take a look at your pre-surgery photos. That person is gone, and, with a robust recovery, the new one will feel better than ever!

Making Your Day by Day Tummy Tuck Recovery Easier

Our goal is an easy and comfortable recovery for all our tummy tuck patients. We’ll talk about simple strategies to improve your recovery experience. These options aren’t a good fit for every patient, but if you’re a good candidate, you can improve your recovery experience.

  • Drain-Free Abdominoplasty – Our drain-free abdominoplasty uses progressive tension suturing to eliminate the need for post-surgical drains. Cleaning and maintaining drains are some of the most difficult parts of tummy tuck recovery. Patients find that recovery is easier and faster when drains aren’t needed.
  • Pain Medications- Prescription pain medications make recovery easier and more comfortable for many of our patients. We’ll talk with you about your options and help you find effective solutions for controlling discomfort after surgery. 

Warning Signs After Tummy Tuck

The Tummy tuck, or Abdominoplasty, is a great ‘mommy makeover’ postpartum, or an excellent solution for loose skin in both men and women following significant weight loss. Aside from the obvious aesthetic rewards, it can also help repair damage to lower stomach muscles, restore other abdominal functions and ease persistent back pain. Of course, as with any surgery, there is a lengthy list of risks and complications that you need to be aware of before going under the surgeons knife. Here, we’ve put together some sound information and advice about what to look out for post-procedure, to help you and your specialist surgeon manage and identify any problems that may come up during recovery.

Developing an exhaustive list of the potential complications of any surgery is problematic and here’s why: Each surgery, as well as each patient, is unique. Let us clarify this for you: If a surgeon tells you that there are never complications with their procedures, whether it’s a tummy tuck or any other surgery, they are either lying or, at the very least, incredibly inexperienced. Either way, choosing a surgeon who doesn’t completely understand the risks of the procedure himself could spell disaster for you and, in the worst case scenario, could even be deadly. This type of disinterest in a patients well being is were people run into trouble and, if this is your experience, we suggest you find an alternative specialist.

Download our short guide: “11 Important tummy tuck techniques that you need to know about”

Here’s the bottom line, complications are always a possibility and it’s up to you to choose a skilled FRACS surgeon who can handle any problem that arises and provide quality care with a great recovery plan, resulting in a positive outcome. While major complications are rare, it’s important you are informed and prepared for all eventualities related to your tummy tuck procedure. Some of the risks we discuss here are unique to abdominoplasty while others are general to all surgeries.

Serious Complications

Let’s break this down into simpler terms by starting with the most problematic of complications related to any type of surgery:

Heart problems

Heart problems, including heart attack during surgery are one of the top worries for patients and here’s why: Anesthesia and surgery have a range of effects on the cardiovascular system. BUT these days, unless there are any underlying heart conditions such as heart disease, these are very rare due to modern anesthetic techniques.


Anaesthesia can also affect how our lungs work after surgery and though lung problems can be serious, they are mostly manageable. More specifically, small areas of the lungs can collapse and, as a consequence, there is an increased risk of chest infection. This may require antibiotics and physiotherapy treatment. Thankfully, other potential lung complications are incredibly rare.

Blood clots

Blood clots in the legs with pain and swelling may occur and, rarely, part of such a clot may break off and move to the lungs, causing fatal complications. Again, these are very rare side effects but should still be discussed with your surgeon during consultation. Make a point of asking questions, such as, the relative risk according to your own personal health issues and concerns.

Manageable Complications

Next, let us walk you through some general surgery complications that are more easily managed than those mentioned above.

Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions to medications should be a priority during consultation with your surgeon pre-procedure. Obviously, it’s important for you to discuss any history of allergic reactions to medications but you also need to be aware of the signs and symptoms related to drug allergy.

Injuries to deeper structures

There is always the potential for injury to deeper structures from surgeries, such as to the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. This will usually present as itching, tenderness, or exaggerated responses to hot or cold temperatures. Often this resolves during the healing process but, in rare cases, may be chronic and a management plan should be discussed with your surgeon as soon as possible.

Early complications

Some complications will present visually and need to be managed immediately. For instance, sutures may spontaneously poke through the skin, becoming visible or producing irritation that requires removal.

Things you can do to prevent complications

Discussing your current lifestyle with your surgeon is incredibly important and here’s why: some complications are often preventable, such as wound disruption or delayed wound healing, which are more likely to occur in patients who don’t stop smoking before their operation, as should be advised by your surgeon. Generally, if wounds are dressed daily, this heals up in a couple of months. Necrosis, or skin death, can also occur at this time but is very rare.

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Potential Problems Relating to your Tummy Tuck

Now, let’s take a look at some of the complications more specific to your tummy tuck procedure.

Abdominoplasty scar formation

Abdominoplasty scar formation around the umbilicus isn’t particularly unusual and is generally nothing to be concerned about. The scarring is very often pink but will fade to become white, soft and supple in the weeks or months after the operation. Most patients find that the wound heals quickly and that the appearance is ultimately acceptable to them. However, abnormal scarring occasionally occurs within the skin and deeper tissues and these may be unattractive and of a slightly different colour to the surrounding skin. Scars may also exhibit contour variations and “bunching” due to excess skin, or may even be asymmetrical, meaning a different appearance between the right and left side of the body. It is important to note that in some cases scars may require surgical revision or treatment, though this is no real cause for concern.

In rare cases keloid scars may form, which are thickened by an inflammatory process in the scar tissue. This occurs due to an abnormality of the patient’s healing process rather than through surgical error. In such instances, specialist cosmetic surgery provides a special silicone gel tape to wear over the incision after the operation, which will result in less-visible scars.

Tummy tuck infections

Infection after surgery is a big concern for patients in our experience but antibiotics are administered during the operation and you will be prescribed oral antibiotics to take afterwards as well, which will minimise any risk. Nevertheless, infections can occur and, should this be the case, they are treated either by oral antibiotics or, in severe cases, by admission to hospital for intravenous antibiotics and further drainage procedures. It is important to note that infections, superficial or deep, from an abdominoplasty happen in only about 1% of surgeries.

Pain from a tummy tuck

Postoperative pain is another common concern and will occur in varying degrees in each patient, from quite severe to moderate to mild on the first day. It gradually improves over the next few days and is usually well tolerated by patients if they take the painkillers prescribed. Increasing pain unresponsive to pain-killers should be brought to the attention of the surgeon as this may be an indication that complications are developing. Patients may not be able to stand fully erect for up to two weeks after the operation due to the tightness of the abdominal skin with resultant excessive pull on the surgical scar. Intermittent mild discomfort or intermittent sharp pains after the first few weeks after surgery is also common, as the swelling resolves and the nerves recover. Chronic pain, ranging from from mild aching pain to sharp nerve pain can persist for more than one year, but is very rare. While bruising and swelling is normal after the operation, this also varies from mild to severe with each patient.

Patient, Surgeon Management Plans

Finally, we’ll explain some of the most common complications, which are all minor wound related issues and easily managed between yourself and your surgeon.

For instance, bleeding and excessive bruising can indicate the potential for a haematoma developing, which is essentially a collection of blood under the skin. Though haematomas can often be treated with pressure, or needle aspirations in some instances they require removal through further surgery.

If you are considering an abdominoplasty you should also be aware that there are always rather long scars following surgery. Occasionally, a wide, thick or otherwise unfavourable, scars may be visible outside the underwear or bikini. Rare complications related to the liposuction can include injury to deeper structures such as the abdominal wall, bowel, nerves and blood vessels and some numbness in the lower abdomen will result. Sensation usually returns fully, though in rare cases some of the numbness will be permanent.

There is also the potential for a seroma to develop after surgery but this will often dissipate over time. A seroma is a collection of serous fluid, a liquid that your body makes to heal and seal wounds edges together. Generally the fluid naturally drains away, however, in some cases there may be too much fluid produced in the seroma, which will usually occur at the site of incision, and it may not drain away completely but calcify instead. In this case surgery may be necessary, so make sure you bring any prolonged or unusual swelling to the immediate attention of your specialist, so it can be properly monitored.

Surgical drains (tubing) are rarely required for a tummy tuck these days but on occasion, for example in the treatment of haematoma or seroma, they may be necessary and these tubes may protrude from or near my horizontal incision for up to one week.

Recovery Success

A tummy tuck is not a simple surgery and recovery can take time. Knowing the complications, risks and side effects discussed here may seem scary but the intent is to inform and prepare you for this big change in your life. We believe that knowledge is power and information is key. Being aware of potential risks as a result of any surgery could be life saving information.

The bottom line is that discussing these topics freely with your surgeon will allow you to better understand how they plan to manage any problems that may occur. If you feel your surgeon is not fully prepared for any eventuality, then this is an indication that your investment would be better spent elsewhere and your health and wellness placed in the hands of someone more capable.

stomach not flat after tummy tuck

From observing your pictures, indeed the stomach is protruding excessively. However, the cause of upper abdominal bulging after tummy tuck surgery can be due to the following:

The surgeon tightened only the skin and not the muscles.

The surgeon tightened the muscles, but due to excessive fat intra-peritoneally, for your own safety, he could not flatten the stomach, to avoid breathing difficulty after surgery.

(In my practice, I ask the tummy tuck patients during the first consultation to lie on their back flat. If the stomach is still protruding while flat, I notify the patients that for their own safety, I will not be able to tighten the muscles optimally, which will result in the stomach not being flat after tummy tuck surgery).

The surgeon tightened the muscles optimally, but you were too active after surgery and stretched the muscles during repair, which resulted in the protrusion.

Lie flat on your back. If the stomach is flat, re-tightening of the muscle surgically will help. If the stomach is protruding, you need to lose weight.

I would recommend reading the book “Sugar busters”, which will educate you about eating low Glycemic food and losing weight. I give this book to all my overweight patients.

Always consult with experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons who operate in an accredited surgery center for your safety. Most importantly, check the before and after pictures in the photo gallery; make sure that they are numerous, consistent, and attractive, with flat stomachs, nice belly buttons, improved body posture, and low scarring.

How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a contouring procedure that tightens skin and improves the appearance of your abdomen. If you’re eating right and exercising and can’t seem to lose that last ten pounds or achieve a flat stomach, a tummy tuck can help you achieve those goals.

Many patients are concerned about weight gain after a tummy tuck. At Mizuguchi Plastic Surgery in Louisville, KY, Dr. Nana Mizuguchi gives clients customized plans to help maintain the results of their surgery.

Below are some general tips to help patients lose weight after a tummy tuck.

Can you gain weight after a tummy tuck?

While a tummy tuck is not technically a weight loss or bariatric procedure, patients see an improvement in the shape of their abdomen and hips. For those looking to lose some extra weight with cosmetic surgery, liposuction can be added to a tummy tuck for optimal results.

Typically, patients are within ten pounds of their goal weight before a tummy tuck, but weeks of downtime following the surgery can lead to weight gain. You will need to avoid exercise or vigorous activities for about six weeks after your procedure, so here are tips for maintaining or losing weight after a tummy tuck:

1. Follow your doctor’s advice

As a dual board-certified aesthetic and plastic surgeon, Dr. Mizuguchi has years of experience performing tummy tucks and guiding patients through the healing process. This journey will look different for each patient, so it’s crucial to listen to the personalized advice you receive for keeping off the weight after abdominoplasty.

2. Rest and recover

Trying to rush your recovery is a health risk and could interfere with the results of your tummy tuck surgery. Putting both physical and emotional stress on the body can lead to weight gain. Limiting your movement and getting enough sleep are essential for your body’s healing process.

Refraining from strenuous activity for over a month can be hard for active people. But respecting your body will produce the best long-term results.

3. Monitor your diet

Your diet is crucial when it comes to avoiding weight gain after tummy tuck surgery. You want to give your body the energy it needs to heal without overdoing the calories and undoing the results.

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