Is It Normal to Have Terrible Back Pain 3 Wks PO After a Tummy Tuck?

It's only been 3.5 weeks since my mommy makeover. I've been having terrible middle back pain after a few hours of being up doing basic activities. In addition some pain in the area to the left of belly button. Feels like I strained a muscle.

Doctor Answers 4

Back Pain After Tummy Tuck

An Abdominoplasty will tighten your core since the muscles are repaired and tightened.  When this is combined with skin and fat removal in the front, you should not be able to stand completely straight for 1-4 weeks.  This bending over position will put quite a bit of strain on your back and typically causes muscle spasm.  This is normal.  In time, you should be able to stand completely straight and your back pain will subside.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Back pain 3 weeks post-op after tummy tuck

With a tummy tuck the dynamics of the core muscles of the abdomen and torso are altered, especially during the first few weeks after the surgery.  There can be muscle spasm and tightness throughout, including the multiple small muscles around the vertebrae of the spine.  You have been in unusual positions for prolonged periods of time to protect your tummy repair or to simply avoid pain, and this is sort of catching up with you.  At this stage you should be able to take some antiinflammatory medication like Motrin which will help significantly, but ask your surgeon first.  Additionally, sometimes a muscle relaxer like valium or flexeril will also be of benefit in these situations.  Again, ask your surgeon for advice on this first.  The main thing is not to worry too much about this, it is common, and if it improves with some medication like this, it will be a temporary thing.  One word of caution too:  many times patients will use a heating pad in situations like this, and I caution you against using one, at least on high or hot settings as usually following these operations sensation to the skin is decreased or absent for some time.  This can allow you to burn yourself if you allow the heat to remain against the skin, and unfortunately I have learned this the hard way by witnessing some of my own patients who unwittingly used their heating pads and caused third degree burns to their skin.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Back pain after tummy tuck happens occasionally.

In protecting the sore abdominal wall, some patients will experience overuse of the back muscles which can result in back pain.

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

Is It Normal to Have Terrible Back Pain 3 Wks PO After a Tummy Tuck?

Some back pain is not uncommon, this related to inability to stand erect for several days, and the resulting abnormal posture. 

Terrible back pain is not normal, and a call to your surgeon is in order. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.