Why are my upper center abs so tight and painful?

I had a TT, breast lift and Lipo on flanks 7 days ago. My center upper abs near my rib cage is very tight, with a small bump under it. I cannot stand up without all the skin pulling too tight. I feel like it wants to pop out of my chest. It has a small bruise on that area too. Did I stain this area or pop a stitch out already, is this normal? Thank You

Doctor Answers 6

Healing and Discomfort after a Mommy Makeover

Pain varies per person and medication to control #discomfort will be provided. Healing will continue for 2-3 months for the early period. This includes some swelling, bruising, malposition, color differences. Sensation in the breasts may also be abnormal and scars will be evolve. Tingling, burning or shooting pains in the breasts will disappear with time and should not alarm you. It is simply a result of the regeneration of your sensory nerves. If these sensations cause pain, repeated, local self-massage per your surgeon's permission may help.

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Mommy Makeover - Upper Abdominal Tightness?

Thank you for the question. You are still very early in the post-operative period. It is normal to have some upper abdominal tightness due to the muscle repair. If the pain persists, or worsens, you should have an in-person examination with your plastic surgeon. Hope this helps.

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Tummy tuck and breast lift - upper abdomen very tight

Thank you for your question about your mommy make-over.

  • What you are feeling may be ok but it is more tightness than usual.
  • Give your surgeon a call to arrange an appointment so you can be checked.
  • There are sutures in this area and they can be tight but what you are feeling is a bit more than usual at this point - 
  • Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Epigastric tightness after tummy tuck

Thank you for the question. This tightness is very common so early in the post operative period and most likely secondary to the plication (tightning) of your abdominal wall fascia and post operative inflammation. The small bump may be as a result of the swelling associated with the surgical procedure, however, that would not be possible to determine without an in-person evaluation. At this point in your recovery I would recommend to be patient and continue in close follow up with your plastic surgeon. Things should improve over time. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Pedro M. Soler, Jr., MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Abdominal tightness after a tummy tuck

The good news is that the most painful part of your recovery is most likely behind you!  Certainly the worst part of your mommy makeover recovery comes from the tightening of your abdominal wall but also can give decades of a more pleasing contour.  The upper abdominal swelling may just be normal part of your recovery and without photos or the benefit of an exam, no one can exactly advise you.  Contact your surgeon's office and express your concerns.  Most of my patients start feeling " more human" after the first week.  Hang in there!

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Repair of the abdominal wall as part of a mommy makeover can be quite in comfortable.

Repair of the fascia which is almost always a component of an abdominoplasty can cause significant epigastric tightness just as you are describing.This is due to inflammation in the connective tissue housing the abdominal musculature.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 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.