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Can I Use Ice Packs to Help Reduce Swelling After a Tummy Tuck?

I had a full tummy tuck with lipo 1 wk ago & I have a lot of painful swelling. I'm wearing my compression garment 24/7 like I'm supposed to. I still have the drains in. I'm wondering if using ice will help with swelling. I haven't read anything here about using ice, but other sites say not to. Why

Doctor Answers (5)

Ice to reduce swelling

Because the skin in the treated area may be numb temporarily it's not a good idea to apply ice packs as you could inadvertently give yourself frostbite. To alleviate swelling continue to wear your compression garment, drink plenty of fluids and go to the washroom regularly, cut back on sodium intake and and leisurely walk to keep your circulation going. Talk I your surgeon as well for their advice on how to help with swelling. 

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Avoid ice packs to belly after tummy tuck


Patients who undergo tummy tucks may lose feeling in their lower abdomen. In some instances this may prevent them from knowing when the ice packs are "too cold". This can cause problems and therefore, it is best to avoid application of ice to the area. The swelling will likely take time to resolve.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Ice after surgery


Be very careful about using ice or cool packs after surgery - make sure it is done only if your surgeon agrees for use of ice.  After many plastic surgical operations (such as tummy tucks, face lifts, and breast lifts) certain regions of skin will be numb.  Applying ice excessively may lead to frostbite and skin death.  Do not make this decision on your own - ask your surgeon!


Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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Ice packs to help reduce swelling after a tummy tuck


If after 1 week the ice will not really help you. But it might make you feel better psychologically. You should check with the surgeon and follow that protocol ONLY.


Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Not a lot of swelling one week after tummy tuck.



You should not have a lot of swelling one week after tummy tuck.  You might have a hematoma.  See your surgeon right away.  In any case, I am afraid ice will not do anything.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.