How long after a tummy tuck until you can stand straight and back pain subsides?

Hello, I am 8 days post op from having a full tummy tuck, muscle repair& breast augmentation, the pain from it is all tolerable , but my back is killing from being hunched over! I feel like my belly was tightened too much, and I can't stand up straight!! Is this normal? Also I find I get short of breath a lot since the procedure. I stand up against the wall and straighten out with my knees bent, but can only do this for 30 second intervals!! My ps says I should be up straight by now!? Please help!!

Doctor Answers 10

Standing Straight After Tummy Tuck

Usually patients stand and walk bent over for 1 to 2 weeks after tummy tuck. Even then the abdominal muscles will feel tight when standing straight for up to 3 months following surgery. This tightness is normal and expected, so don't try to force yourself to stand straight as this can cause pulling on the incision. Your body will let you know when you are ready to stand straight.  


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Back Pain After Tummy Tuck

  Dear Ashley9922,  It is not uncommon to walk partially bent over after a tummy tuck with muscle tightening. It may take 2-4 weeks to stand fully erect and you may feel tightness for several months. If you feel this is not normal in your case, then return to your surgeon to discuss. We have found that muscle relaxants (Robaxin) can be very helpful with the back discomfort you are experiencing. Warm showers can also help with stiffness (make sure your surgeon says it's ok to shower). I would caution you to force yourself to stand straight...that usually leads to problems. Your body will let you know when it is ok to stand upright. Good luck. #Dr Gervais

Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Standing up after abdominoplasty

Typically one is able to stand up straight over a period of two weeks post surgery.  This is something I would discuss with your surgeon.  If given the ok, I would suggest while standing in the shower, the warmth of the shower helps to relax your muscles and then start stretching toward the shower head.  This may help epedite the process but, I do not recommend anything forceful.  This should be a gradual process.

Roger J. Friedman, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Shortness of breath after in abdominoplasty should be reported to your surgeon.

Pulmonary embolism is a rare but serious complication of a protracted abdominal operation such as an abdominoplasty. It can be associated with shortness of breath, back pain, rapid pulse, and sweating. This should be reported to your plastic surgeon immediately.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Bending and back pain after tummy tuck

I have my patients starting to stand upright after the first week. But I have heard this complaint from many other patients, especially on this message board. The back pain is almost certainly because you are walking bent over and are forced to use back muscles that you normally are not using. The inability to stand upright should resolve with just time. I would be curious to know if your surgeon used something called a "running loop" stitch to tighten the abdominal wall. I have always been curious why surgeons like to use this type of suture instead of several interrupted sutures. The problem with a "running loop" suture is that it not only tightens the abdominal wall in the horizontal direction (which is what you want) but it also tightens the abdomen in the vertical dimension (which can make standing upright difficult). Just would be curious to know.

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Standing up after tummy tuck

hello. patients usually after a period of 15 days can stand straight, I  recommend you  to visit your surgeon for an evaluation if something really bothers you.

Tania Medina de Garcia, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 358 reviews

TT Recovery

Most patients experience tightness and difficulty standing following abdominoplasty surgery.  This typically lasts for about a week, but in some cases, can last longer.  Initially, patients are encouraged to walk in a slightly flexed position to keep tension off the wound closure.  This also makes the immediate post-operative period more comfortable.  With the passage of time, patients are allowed to gradually resume an erect position and resume light activities.  Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for at least six weeks.

            Tightness occurs because of the skin closure, and the plication of the underlying abdominal muscles.  The degree of the tightness that results varies from patient to patient.  It depends upon how aggressively the surgeon has tightened both the skin and underlying muscles.  When more significant skin resections are performed, ambulation in a flexed position will be necessary for longer periods of time.

            I suspect that your current symptoms are probably normal.  They are probably related to aggressive tightening of both your muscles and skin.  It’s important that you communicate with your surgeon.  Be patient, you may ultimately be very happy with your result.

Mommy makeover recovery

What you are experiencing is very  normal for tummy tuck recovery.

Pain, pulling, and tugging along the incision quite common after tummy tuck surgery. The discomfort can get worse a few weeks after surgery as some of the nerves start to wake up and work again. Pain can also increase because at three weeks out patients start to get more active once again.
Sometimes the pain is caused by tugging of a stitch that will eventually dissolve, sometimes it can be caused by scar tissue. Generally these aches and pains and zings will come and go for a few months after surgery, but usually they resolve.
You may feel more comfortable if you speak to your plastic surgeon directly. He or she should be the one to recommend medication to you.

Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tummy tuck recovery

After a mommy make-over, you should not be short of breath. You will not stand completely straight for 2 weeks. Back muscle spasm can be severe. See your surgeon to have
  • your lungs checked. You should not be short of breath,
  • the compression garment checked - it can restrict breathing,
  • him/her show you stretching exercises for your back
  • and check the tightness of the muscle repair. 
    • a tummy tuck can be too tight - it is rare. Best wishes.

Standing straight after tummy tuck

Hi. It often takes a couple of weeks to stand up straight after a tummy tuck. You should view the tightness as a good thing - that you will have a good long-term result. People often say that their back is sore after tummy tucks because you are not using your abdominal muscles to support yourself as they are sore when you contract them - this will subside in a couple of weeks. Keeping an abdominal compression garment on helps the muscular soreness - if you are not using this then talk to your surgeon about this.Regards Dr Charles Cope

Charles Cope, MD
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.