Yes, a tummy tuck hurts. Patients who have had a c-section have said that the pain is similar with a tummy tuck but the recovery is easier because they don't have a newborn to take care of as well. The worst of the pain is in the first 3 days after surgery, though it typically improves pretty quickly thereafter. I recommend the use of a pain pump, which delivers local anesthesia (like novocaine) to the area for about 3 days after surgery, so it's helping to blunt the pain when it's at its worst and makes it more manageable. Most of my patients will use prescription pain medication for 3-5 days after surgery then non-prescription medication such as ibuprofen for a few days. The good news is this is happy surgery. Patients are excited to achieve the improvements for which they've been hoping and that makes a few days of pain well worth it in the end!
How bad does a tummy tuck hurt? When is the pain the worst ?
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Doctor Answers 6
Post-op recovery from a tummy tuck
Patients vary in how much pain they experience after a tummy tuck, with some having significant pain, and others not thinking it was as bad as they expected. Most of the pain from the operation comes from the tightening of the intra-abdominal muscles that is performed with the surgery (the fascial plication). That said, the surgery is most often performed on an outpatient basis, and there have been innovations in surgical technique to lessen post-op pain. One popular option is the use of Exparel, a long-acting local anesthetic that can be injected into the tissues of the abdominal wall at the time of surgery. Our experience has been that patients feel significantly less pain when using this medication, which has a numbing effect for the first few days after surgery, when pain is typically most severe. See a board certified plastic surgeon for more info about tummy tuck surgery and whether or not you are a good candidate. Good luck!
Tummy tuck recovery postop
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Tummy tuck and pain
Tummy tucks are some of the more uncomfortable surgeries that plastic surgeons perform. Typically the first week is the most uncomfortable, when patients are unable to stand up straight. I employ indwelling pain catheters to help with the pain during the first several days. Although the first week is tough, everyone gets through it and the satisfaction rate for this surgery is high. I hope this helps!
How to minimize pain after tummy tuck
Best wishes and good luck.
Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon