Duration of Hospital Stay Post-Tummy Tuck?

I'm thinking of having a Tummy Tuck, and I was wondering, how long would I have to stay in the hospital after the procedure?

Doctor Answers 33

Overnight Stay Following Tummy Tuck

An overnight stay in a hospital or accredited OR with medical supervision following a tummy tuck provides comfort and peace of mind to patients and their families. As a plastic surgeon, I feel better knowing my patients are being monitored and are in the care of experienced nurses the first night after surgery .
I visit patients in  surgery center the evening of surgery and the following morning. The next scheduled appt. is 2 days later for removal of their pain pump and to check on the patient's progress.
There is no additional charge for a patient to receive an overnight stay l For some surgeries, the decision of staying overnight with medical observation is the choice of the patient, but with all tummy tucks, major facial rejuvenation surgeries and out of town patients, I insist that patients stay overnight.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

Usually one night in Aftercare or the Hospital

Abdominoplasty has become an outpatient procedure. However, unless the patient is undergoing a mini-tuck, we require our patients to spend a night in the Aftercare facility or the Hospital, if the surgery is performed there. Nurses at the Aftercare can monitor the patient's vital signs and are trained to look for signs of trouble and alert the doctor. From a pain control standpoint, a registered nurse can give injectable pain medicines. They can also give medications for nausea, sleep, anxiety, etc. Most Aftercare facilities with an RN also have a pulse oximeter, to measure the oxygen in the blood.

Without question, Aftercare is comforting to patients. It is also, in my opinion, safer than going directly home.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

One night is the usual stay after an abdominoplasty.

I like my patients to stay one night after an abdominoplasty in either the hospital or an aftercare facility. While this may seem like an added expense I feel it is safer to have patients monitored after a procedure such as a tummy tuck . There is the possibility of bleeding and it is important that if this occurs it is caught as quickly as possible. In addtion hospitals and aftercare facilities can offer patients medications which are stronger than what we can send patients home with and so patients are more comfortable. Most patients are ready to go home after one night but I have had patients spend two ( or even more nights) especially if there is not someone at home to help care for them or if they live a long distance away.

Susan E. Downey, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

More pleasant experience with an overnight stay

I have done abdominoplasties as an outpatient procedure, with a surgicenter 23 hour stay and as a hospital in-patient procedure with a 24 hour plus stay. I always place a pump to deliver local anesthetic into the muscle for the first 3 days or so. Almost all my patients have a fascial plication ("muscle repair") as part of the procedure, which is what causes most of the post-op pain.

My patients tell me that they appreciate the additional care and stronger pain meds that they receive with a hospital stay, and the extra cost (about $1,000 in my hospital) is well worth it for them.

If you are not having a "muscle repair" or your budget is very tight, you certainly can manage as an outpatient. Your health must be good, and you need support at home. Otherwise a hospital stay is a worthwhile addition to the procedure, and is absolutely necessary if you have other significant health problems, or are having multiple major procedures.

M. Hugh Bailey, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Usually outpatient

For cosmetic abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) the vast majority of patients in my San Francisco Bay Area practice go home the same day. Injection of local numbing medication in addition to a "pain pump" goes a long way in keeping patients very comfortable for the first three days. Pain pumps work by injecting small quantities of numbing medicine in the wound and have been shown to greatly help in controlling pain and speeding up recovery. Issues that may extend your stay include the specifics of your procedure and your general health (things like sleep apnea can definitely make your plastic surgeon want to keep you at least overnight).

While hospitals can be great when necessary to provide higher levels of care, if a patient can safely go home that is usually the best practice

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Abdominoplasty does not typically require hospital stay

As you can see, the vast majority of plastic surgeons perform their tummy tucks on an outpatient basis.

However, I do admit patients overnight if:

1. they have other health conditions such as sleep apnea which require monitoring

2. they are having combined procedures

3. they have no one available for postoperative care

4. there is a history of prior adverse or unatincipated reactions to anesthesia

5. the procedure is significantly more involved i.e., extended tummy tuck with expected immobility


The fact that this has been recommended would suggest that there might be more to your condition. Alternatively, it could mean that your surgeon wishes to have you closely monitored, which is a good thing.

I hope this helps

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure usually

Many plastic surgeons today perform a tummy tuck as an outpatient procedure. I prefer to also do this as an outpatient procedure; however, I prefer to have my patients stay with an aftercare nurse (not in the hospital).

Our nurses are very experienced taking care of post cosmetic surgery patients and provide patients with the pampering that is much appreciated after surgery. Pain is well controlled with long lasting local anesthetic as well as oral pain tablets.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

We perform our tummy tucks as an outpatient procedure.

For the past 10 years we have performed abdominoplasties in our Santa Rosa plastic surgery suite on an outpatient basis. We are careful to add long-acting local anesthetic to the skin incision and even the muscle repair.

Pain control has not been an issue and we have, in the past 10 years, never had to admit a tummy tuck patient because of issues such as pain control. Patients appreciate their own bed and, as long as a reliable adult is present with them, we find that abdominoplasties can be safely performed on an outpatient basis.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

One Night or Home, It's Up to You

I find that it all depends on the patient. Most patients do just fine with going home after a routine tummy tuck surgery. I use pain pumps that can help with any discomfort. That being said, the hospital I operate out of includes an overnight stay for anyone undergoing a tummy tuck. Most patients appreciate this. Unless other surgeries are performed, such as a breast lift or implants, most patients are safe going home after a routine tummy tuck...but life can be easier with an overnight stay.

Anthony Youn, MD, FACS
Detroit Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Abdominoplasty and Postoperative Recovery: Hospital Admission

The decision to admit a patient to a hospital after an abdominoplasty procedure is usually made by a plastic surgeon and his/her patient. The decision is based on several criteria, including:

  • Comorbid medical conditions that may impair normal recovery - examples include heart disease, lung disease, bladder retention.
  • Pain control
  • Length of surgery
  • Associated surgeries performed in the same setting
  • Age of patient
  • Overall health of the patient
  • Availability of qualified help at home to assist with postoperative care

The decision to admit a patient to the hospital is based on many factors and the experience of an individual surgeon.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 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.