How painful is the Tummy tuck procedure on a scale of one to ten?

Doctor Answers 13

Tummy Tuck Recovery Pain

Tummy tucks are usually very tender to mildly/moderately painful for most patients especially when the muscles are tightened.  A dramatic lessening of the pain results from the use of a painpump that feeds droplets of numbing medicine into the surgical site through threadlike catheters.  A fanny pack is worn for a week with the pump in it and the difference is significant in my experience.

Jon A Perlman MD FACS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery 

Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV

Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016 

Beverly Hills, Ca 

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Post op tummy tuck pain

Post op pain after a tummy tuck is variable. It depends on what kind of local medication is given at the time of surgery. Also Exparel is a long acting numbing medicine that can be put in at the time of surgery which can last several days. Some docs will use post op pain pumps. Also it depends on the actual patient's own pain thresh hold. That being said, across the board I would anticipate a pain level of 4-7 ( 1 being none - 10 being the worst) for the first few days.

How painful is a Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for your question. A tummy tuck  is certainly one of the most uncomfortable plastic surgical procedures to recover from. This discomfort is due to the plication (tightening) of the separated rectus muscles which occurs due to child birth. The plication is necessary in order to create a flatter/tighter tummy. However the post operative pain can be greatly reduced by placing  pain pump infusion catheters or injecting Exparel into the plicated muscle region during the tummy tuck procedure.  With one of these two options patients experience much less discomfort and are pleasantly surprised how much more comfortable the recovery is compared to women who did not receive these pain preventative measures. Best of luck!

Dr derby

Thank you for your question. it is really individual when it comes to the level of pain. A lot of clients compare it wih the discomfort of a C section. A pain pump decreases the pain drastically in the first days after surgery. Best of luck 

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

What procedure would yield the best results for a mature/natural full-breasted look?

Patients frequently compare the postop recovery of a TT to that of a C-section. I think a 7-8 rating on a scale of 1-10 might be about right for the first 1-2 days. We recommend the use of a 4 day pain pump which dramatically reduces the patients discomfort in the early days. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

How painful is the Tummy tuck procedure on a scale of one to ten?

Thank you for sharing your question and congratulations on your desire to pursue a tummy tuck.  In most cases tightening of the stomach muscles is performed during the procedure  in order to obtain the best result, with a cinched waist and flatter appearance.  This does come at increased post-surgical pain, typically rated as 6-7/10 in severity for the first several days after surgery.  This varies widely by patient however as I have had some patients be able to return to work comfortably within a week.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

How painful is the Tummy tuck procedure on a scale of one to ten?

The answer will vary from patient to patient but certainly the first 72 hours has the most discomfort (pain scale 7-8) and most patients take pain medication on a regular basis during that time. Days 4 through 6 the pain steadily decreases (pain scale 3-6) and by days 7 through 10 the need for narcotic pain medication is greatly diminished.

Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.

This is a hard question to give an accurate answer to because it really depends on the doctors technique, aftercare protocol and the patients pain level tolerance. A tummy tuck is major operation and has a longer and more intense recovery period than let’s say a blepharoplasty or lip augmentation. Your doctor can assist with your pain management by using Exparel during your procedure to numb the area for up to 72 hours post op, provide a surgical garment and prescribe pain medication and/or steroids to help resolve swelling. Best of luck!


James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

How painful is the Tummy tuck procedure on a scale of one to ten?


Thank you for your question. this will depend on the patients condition if the patient only does a tummy tuck without liposuction the pain likely to be between 6 to 7. Patient who does full tummy tuck plus liposuction 8 to 9 all deffer per patient.

Pain with tummy tuck

We have noted that it is not necessary to repair the separation ( diastasis) between the muscles with all tummy tucks. If you happen to fall into that category the pain post op is a 2 to 3 as opposed to a 7 to 8.Years ago,  I began noticing a number of really fit patients who would come in for a tummy tuck and who had a noticeable diastasis in their muscles , yet whose abdominal wall did not protrude ,even on relaxation, and it became apparent we did not have to repair all these like is commonly thought. Most of the result is from the skin and fat removal anyway which seems best when done with a lipoabdominoplasty as opposed to the traditional American style tummy tuck. In addition, Janzen, et al from Tulane proved years ago that all of these muscle tightening procedures relax within a year. So, we stopped repairing muscles in the group that did not protrude significantly during relaxation of their abdominal muscles and otherwise performed Saldana technique ( lipoabdominoplasty) they have done well with good results. Most surgeons still feel they have to repair all muscles all the time , so you be sure to ask. Conversely, if you happen to one that has a significant laxity of the abdominal wall the muscle repair can add quite a bit to your final result. Best to you. 

Grady B. Core, MD
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 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.