Tummy tuck, tight stomach; what's going on?

I am 3 months and 11 days post op, my stomach feels tight after sitting for awhile and when I wake up in the morning. What's going on??? I heard something about adhesion. If it is adhesion, adhesion to what ???

Doctor Answers 9

3 Months Postop

Dear fles14,

It takes a full six months for all of the swelling to subside from a tummy tuck. Since you are three months along, you should not have swelling, and it could be that you are so much more active now that you are getting reactive swelling. Each month that goes by the same activity level should yield less reactive swelling, so you will have less of this sensation and discomfort. Plus the fact that most women tell me it takes five to six months for all the little pain zingers, etc. to subside.

I hope this has been helpful.

Robert D. Wilcox, MD


Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tight tummy

Hello and thank you for your question. 3 months is still relatively soon after such an involved operation. By 3 months most people return to 65-70% of normal but they are still not 100%. What this means is that you will still notice little pains here and there, some tightness and occasional swelling. If one of my patients came to me with questions about tightness, I would examine them and make sure there is nothing else going on, but for the most part I tell them that this is normal and will get better with time. It can take up to 6 months sometimes.

You should definitely inform your plastic surgeon about this and see what his recommendations are. Hopefully this helps alleviate some of your concerns. Wish you the best of luck on your continued recovery.

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Tightness After Tummy Tuck

Tightness after a tummy tuck just 3 months post op is common especially if they tightened your abdominal muscles. However, I always still recommend patients consulting with their PS to ensure everything is properly healing!

Are "tight" sensations normal after tummy tuck?

It's good to feel tight following a tummy tuck! Although the cramping and tightness can feel a bit much initially, usually by six months healing these sensations will diminish and you'll be enjoying your flat, tight tummy! It is doubtful that adhesion exists, but if you are concerned, I would schedule a follow up visit with your surgeon who can examine you and let you know for certain.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

3 months post op, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.
At this point (3 months post-po) the swelling have to be minimal.
To reduce it, I recommend you perform daily lymphatic drainage massage therapy over the abdomen and wear a postoperative girdle from thigh to the breasts.
Kind regards,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol Cotes.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

That was the whole objective of tummy tuck

One of the objectives of tummy tucks is to tighten muscles.  You should feel good about it. Unusually tight feeling will go away in three months.

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy tuck and tight stomach, what's going on?

Thank you for your question and congratulations on your surgery!  It is not uncommon to have temporary muscle spasms or tightening of your abdomen after a tummy tuck, and this spontaneously resolves given enough time. Occasionally muscle relaxants may be useful if the cramps persist and cause pain, but in most cases these spasms resolve quickly once you become more active during the day.  Hope this helps. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Tight abdomen

The glib answer is, "that's what you paid for!" It is common to have almost daily "reminders" of your surgery for AT LEAST six months. In the vast majority of patients, sensations such as this disappear as the process continues. I doubt anything like adhesions is involved.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Muscle Spasm After Tummy Tuck

It sounds to me like you might be having some spasms from the imbrication of your abdominal muscles.  I have seen this a handful of times and found that muscle relaxants like flexeril can be very helpful.
As for adhesions, no...I can't see that being a problem.  Adhesions are internal involving the intestines and your operation didn't go anywhere near that area.
Good Luck!

Thomas P. Sterry, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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.