After my Tummy tuck I feel like my abs are so tight that I can't even breath. Any suggestions?

I told my doctor that I did not want it so tight, but apparently he did not listen to me. With time this feeling will go away, doctors??

Doctor Answers 7

Tummy Tuck

Most patients will continue to have some tightness and a pulling feeling for 3-6 months after their surgery.  This is normal as that area has been tightened so much from surgery.  It will eventually get better over time.

Oahu Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tight after tt

Hi Ricardo

Congratulations on the tt.  

Depending on how far out from surgery will determine what is causing the issues.  Likely it is due to spasm, and if you are not too far out from surgery, it may be reasonable for your surgeon to Rx muscle relaxants.  If you are further out, and with your doctor's permission, it might be prudent for you to do some stretching exercises, per your doctor.

Finally, despite being so tight, it doesn't necessarily mean that your doctor didn't listen- this operation hurts and spasm feels tight regardless.

Best to your.


Tightness after Tummy Tuck

Swelling can persist for several months and will gradually improve and will look better at three months, six months, and even one year. Frequently the pubic area can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

It may take several months for a tummy tuck patient’s scars to soften, for sensation to return, and for relaxing of the tight sensation in the abdomen. In the case of extensive surgery, abdominoplasty recovery can be uncomfortable and may take longer. Scars may stay red, become thick or widen. It can take 12-18 months for the scars to settle.

These can be improved with topical treatments such as BioCorneum, Scar Guard, Scar Fade and Mederma. Redness can be improved with laser treatments and the scars can be kept narrow with products such as Embrace.  On occasion, keloids or hypertrophic scars can develop and will need treatment including Kenalog, 5FU and laser.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Tightness after tummy tuck

The sensation that you are experiencing is very common. It is a result of the tightening of the muscles perform during your procedure as well as postoperative swelling.  The postoperative swelling will subside with time and the tissue tightening always loosens up slightly.  Thus the tight feeling will improve.  However, waiting is always the most difficult part.  Good luck in your recovery and I hope this helps.

Paul B. Mills, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Tummy tuck

You did  not mention when you had surgery. In general, if it was recent, it will likely soften up with time.  Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

After my Tummy tuck I feel like my abs are so tight that I can't even breath. Any suggestions?

Thank you for sharing your question and congratulations on your surgery.  I am sorry about your tightness issues as it can make it more difficult to breathe in after the procedure.  This feeling with improve spontaneously as the swelling in your tissues resolve and they develop improved laxity.  Be sure to voice your concerns to your surgeon so that they can ensure that you go on to heal smoothly.

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

Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty/Liposuction/Vaser High Definition Procedures/Tummy Tuck Revision

I appreciate your question.

Since there has been a change in your post op course, please contact your surgeon so he/she can examine you and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon



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.