No Tightness or Pain After Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

I had a Tummy Tuck with Liposuction 6 days ago, and am able to do everything in exactly the same manner as before, with no pain or discomfort of any kind. I can also still grab a handful of skin on each side of my belly button. Are these normal? Shouldn't there be a least a sensation of tightness after these procedures?

Doctor Answers 19

Are you sure you had the surgery?

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After an abdominoplasty and liposuction, your skin should be tight. You definitely should not be able to grab a "handful" of skin. Since I do not know the particulars of your surgery, it is hard to comment with specificity. However, after abdominoplasty, your skin is usually so tight it is hard to stand up straight for a few days. Did you perhaps have a mini-abdominoplasty with liposuction. If so, maybe you should have had a full abdominoplasty. In the mini-abdominoplasty, your incision is basically the same, but the belly button stays where it is and the underlying muscle fascia is not usually plicated (tightened). Also, with the mini procedure, the skin above the belly button is not affected as much as the skin below the belly button. If you had a true abdominoplasty, there should be an incision also at your belly button and the underlying muscle fascia should feel tight. You should discuss these issues with your surgeon.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD

Tummy tuck and liposuction

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Techniques between surgeons differ and post-op day six is still early but usually after a tummy tuck in my San Francisco practice patients notice significantly tighter abdomens.

Generally, it can be quite common for patients to walk slightly bent over secondary to the tightness.

You should discuss your concerns with your surgeon. Abdominoplasties are fantastic ways to contour the abdomen and remove excess skin as well as tighten the core muscles of the abdomen.

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

You should expect tightness after a tummy tuck

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Interesting question. It sounds like you have a lot of laxity in your abdominal tissues after you tummy tuck. This is somewhat unusual. You should definitely discuss your concerns with your plastic surgeon and review how much tissue was removed and if they performed a plication (tightening of the muscles) during the surgery.

We have seen a lot of cases of patients presenting to our clinic after having had a tummy tuck by a non board certified plastic surgeon with too much laxity and tissue left over. I hope that this is not the case here.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Board Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery

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You need to talk with your treating surgeon and discuss the procedure with him/her.

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The answer to your question is quite simple. You need to talk with your treating surgeon and discuss the procedure with him/her. Obviously, there are many surgical variations of tummy tuck and liposuction. 

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck is not one operation

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HI- I agree that it sounds like you may have had a limited operation. I would review with your surgeon exactly what technique was used, and what you should be able to expect as healing and dissipation of swelling occur.

There are several variations of the abdominoplasty (I personally perform 4 different tummy tuck techniques, depending on my patient's anatomy and goals), and each differs a bit in what it addresses, the expected outcome, and recovery.

"Tummy Tuck" is not one operation

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Tummy tuck surgery varies by type and extent. Some surgeons do not routinely include muscular repair or extensive skin removal as part of the operation. Some patients do not benefit by the same extent of surgery as others.You might want to have a sit down with your surgeon to ask this question and to find out exactly whay he or she did at surgery.

It is of course better to have an understanding before surgery of what the goals are and what realistically is to be accomplished. You can't fix everything in some tummy tuck procedures, but it is best to know this going in.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Not enough pain and too much loose skin.

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You are clearly concerned that you did not have enough done. And of course, there is no way to tell long distance. Your story is not typical. Most patients have more discomfort. And usually , the skin of the abdomen is quite tight after a tummy tuck.

But hopefully you picked a surgeon because you trust him or her. So I recommend that you have faith, at least in the short term. You will know in a month or so if you are happy with the result.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon


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Most patients will have some tightness, discomfort, and pain after a tummy tuck with liposuction 6 days prior. This is especially true with a full tummy tuck since the muscle under the skin is tightened. As mentioned, most patients cannot stand fully straight for a few days.

Liposuction by itself may not give you tightness, discomfort, or pain. But, when combined with a full tummy tuck, you should have some or all of those symptoms for several days (1-2 weeks).

You state that you can grab a "handful" of skin on each side of the belly button. If you had a full tummy tuck, then you should still be able to grab some skin on the sides, but it should feel like less skin is being grabbed.

It is possible to have a mini tummy tuck and not feel muck tightness, discomfort, or pain. Talk to your surgeon and clarify what you had done. Good luck.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Hard to Say

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Patients respond very individually to the pain and disability that typically goes along with Tummy Tuck and Liposuction. Some patients seem to bounce back sooner than others, with all other factors being the same.

It is unusual to have a great deal of excess abdominal skin after an abdominoplasty, although if a full abdominoplasty was done, it may be possible to pull the skin and fat away from the abdominal wall during the first few days after surgery, since they have probably not re-attached by that time. Although it is unwise to pull the abdominal skin excessively tight during the procedure, it is possible that it was not pulled tight enough.

Express your concerns to your surgeon for proper guidance as to what you should be experiencing.

Athleo Louis Cambre, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Not everyone

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Even after a tummy tuck, you should be able to grab a little bit of skin expecially when you are sitting down. I tell patients taht a tumy tuck will not make you so tight that you can bounce a quarter off of your skin.  In fact, if it is too tight, the scar usually spreads.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 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.