Tummy Tuck Pain Vs Liposuction Pain

I am a 19-year old male from Norway. For years I've been unhappy with how my stomach looked. I finally made my decision to have a liposuction done. I've never been in so much pain my whole life! It's been a couple of months since my liposuction (so I guess I can see the final result), but I have yet to see the results I was "promised" though. Maybe I wasn't realistic about the results. I'm now considering getting a tummy tuck, but my question is; does a tummy tuck hurt as bad as a liposuction?

Doctor Answers 12

Abdominoplasty pain

The liposuction is much less painful and invasive than an abdominoplasty. I am surprised that you found the liposuction to be extremely painful because the postop swelling guards against pain and my patients do extremely well with limited pain medication. You haven't explained why you think you would be a candidate for abdominoplasty so it is not possible to evaluate the efficacy of the procedure for you.


New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Tummy Tuck Pain

A Tummy Tuck is typically considerable more uncomfortable than liposuction. I use an abdominal pain pump which makes the procedure more comfortable. Check with Board certified Plastic Surgeons in your area to see if any offer this options. It has made a significant difference in the pain factor for my patients. Best wishes!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

A tummy tuck should only be done if you have prominent excess skin

A tummy tuck removes excess skin and fatty tissue and would only be appropriate for you if you have had significant weight loss with the development of significant excess skin. Usually men do not require tightening of the muscles, but the tummy tuck procedure will still be more painful than liposuction alone. You might need to allow some more time for healing and then discuss options with your plastic surgeon.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tummy Tuck pain vs. Liposuction

Hi there-

Because a tummy tuck involves tightening of the abdominal musculature, while liposuction occurs entirely in the subcutaneous plane, a tummy tuck will be much more painful.

I agree with Dr. Rand, however... Unless you've experienced a massive weight gain and loss cycle, I can't imagine why a tummy tuck would be in your best interests.

Tummy tuck pain vs Liposuction pain

Pain is a very subjective issue. Most lipos have pain from 1 to 5 vs a tummy tuck most have level 5 to 8. So a tummy tuck will in most be more painful. 

Tummy tuck pain vs liposuction

Generally liposuction is relatively painless compared to a tummy tuck. The question is why a 19 year old male would want a tummy tuck unless you had massive weight loss. If that was the case, liposuction wasn't going to have worked for you in the first place because it requires great skin elasticity for a nice result and obesity ruins that.

Pain with liposuction vs tummy tuck

A tummy tuck hurts much more than liposuctioning. At your age you really need to think long and hard as to what you are doing and why you are doing it. I suggest seeing several plastic surgeons and getting a number of opinions. Liposuction is not a very painful procedure so your experience is unusual.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy Tuck and liposuction discomfort have different postoperative courses

While general anesthesia can never be discounted as a safe and effective anesthetic technique, liposuction if frequently performed under intravenous sedation using proper tumescent anesthesia to allow both your surgeon to effectively perform the procedure as well as keeping patients comfortable, both during and after surgery. We find our patients more commonly report being "sore" after liposuction, but generally are off pain medication within several days.

While pain pumps can appreciable lower the pain after a tummy tuck, the pain and "tightness" reported after such a procedure (if fascial tightening is performed) is much more after a tummy tuck than after liposuction. I would also encourage you to consider Aftercare facilities with registered nurses that can both comfort you and improve your confidence after the procedure.

Jeffrey D. Hoefflin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Pain with Tummy Tuck vs Liposuction

First of all, you need a longer period of time than 2 months to see the final results of your liposuction. If you do decide to have a tummy tuck down the road, you generally will have a good bit more post-op pain with it than than liposuction. The tummy tuck involves a much larger skin incision and also almost always involves tightening of the abdominal muscles which is also painful for several days.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Tummy Tuck Pain compared to Liposuction Pain

Regarding : "Maybe I wasn't realistic about the results. I'm now considering getting a tummy tuck, but my question is; does a tummy tuck hurt as bad as a liposuction? "

Before embarking on another disappointing venture you really need to critically review what YOU want to be happy and what the operation can realistically deliver in most cases. You may want to speak to more than one Plastic surgeon. Living in the second largest city in Norway, I am SURE you have your choice of good plastic surgeons to see.

As regards PAIN. I can tell you the following truisms
- Everyone feels pain differently and each ethnic group reacts differently to pain
- Men feel more pain than women and do not handle it as well. (Yes. I realize it is a sexist comment but it is unfortunately true).
- Liposuction of some areas hurts more than Liposuction of other areas.
- In general, patients who have undergone liposuction of the back AND a Tummy Tuck at the same time complain more of the liposuction of the back than of the Tummy Tuck.

Good Luck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 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.