Stretching, am I ruining my internal sutures?

I just had a tummy tuck done 3 weeks ago and I keep finding myself constantly stretching throughout the night and morning by accident and I'm getting worried I'm ruining my internal sutures? Every time it happens, I feel pulling

Doctor Answers 4

Stretching at 3 Weeks


Typically, by 3 weeks post op, my patients can stretch out gently and stand straight. A sensation of tightness is quite normal and may persist for months but varies from person to person. If you do not feel pain you aren't likely doing any damage. I recommend that you check in with your Plastic Surgeon to know what activity is safe for you at this point and what to expect as you heal.

All the best

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Stretching at 3 Weeks Post-Op

Most patients will be placed in an abdominal binder, which they will wear the first week. There is usually a fair amount of swelling and the binder should be opened several times a day so that there are no pressure points. After the first 7 to 10 days the patient is placed in an elastic garment for compression over the next six weeks. You can return to full activity without restrictions at 6 weeks.

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 and the scrotal and penis area for men can become very swollen and discolored during the first two weeks due to gravity as this is the lowest area for swelling to accumulate.

While stretching is not necessarily extreme activity, it may be best to still allow your abdomen to rest for the initial six weeks before returning to activity where your internal sutures may be pulled at all. If you find yourself worried at all about the condition of your sutures then a follow-up with your surgeon is recommended in order to have the area examined for proper healing. Good luck!

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Stretching, am I ruining my internal sutures?

The pulling is normal because of sutures and scarring that is starting to occur. Be careful the first six weeks because you can tear those sutures. Some stretching is ok but I prefer more massage than stretching this early on. You will feel tightens for months to come. Scars take a full 12 months to remodel and soften and that includes internal scars. 

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Concerned re tummy tuck healing

Thank you for your question about your tummy tuck.

  • You will tend to stretch after a tummy tuck - because everything is tight.
  • If it is not causing you pain, it is not harming your healing.
  • Although one shouldn't lift weight more than 10 pounds after a tummy tuck for 6 weeks, gentle stretching is not a problem.
  • At six weeks, your incision is already quite strong.

Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes, Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD

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