Tummy Tuck Discomfort for over a Year?

I had a full tummy tuck nearly 15 months ago, and I am still experiencing moderate pain and almost constant swelling. I have experienced spasms I can feel with my hand, the hard kind, not the fluttery spasms. I got pneumonia after surgery and the coughing was unbearable. I started swimming and doing crunches six months after surgery and was told to stop until the 1 year mark. It's over a year and I still hurt and swell and have to wear a girdle to ease the pain. Are any of these normal?

Doctor Answers 7

This isn't normal

What you are describing is clearly not the normal course for a tummy tuck patient to follow.  At most, 3 months after surgery you should be doing everything normally and feeling very good.  I would go back to your doctor and have this evaluated or seek another opinion and exam in your area.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Pain 1 year after tummy tuck

There may be medical causes for your pain such as a hernia or neuropraxia or spasm or weight gain, etc. You should meet with your surgeon to discuss an evaluation and possible treatments.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Tummy tuck pain after 1 year

If you are having discomfort more than a year after a tummy tuck, you should probably see your surgeon to perform an exam.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Discomfort after a tummy tuck

Tummy tucks are very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients who received the teacher should understand that there is a significant recovery process afterwards. Patients may experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Usually the discomfort will result in one to two months.

If you continue to have discomfort 15 months after your surgery, visit with a board-certified plastic surgeon and relay your concerns. They will be able to examine you and determine if the discomfort is coming from the level of your muscle, or a more superficial layer. It is possible that he may have a knot of scar tissue that is causing this discomfort and this may be treated with a small revision surgery.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

You may have a hernia

 This is very unusual and you should have a full evaluation by a board certified plastic surgeon. Please get more consultation. The symptoms you describe are similar  with hernia or bulging( weaking of the suture line).

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Not typical...

There are many reasons to have problems after surgery, but what you are describing is certainly outside the norm. It is possible that a chronic infection could cause prolonged swelling and spasms, but that usually makes itself apparent by coming to the surface. Some of the sutures that are used to tighten the abdominal wall could cause pain as well. Bottom line, you need to be re-evaluated, either by your surgeon or someone else. Good luck!

Robert S. Houser, DO
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Clinical exam followed by imaging study, if needed

It is unusual to have these symptoms after one year plus. The knots could be the sutures used for muscle plication.

I would recommend a clinical exam to rule out abdominal hernia or at least a fascial tear. Since you had pneumonia very soon after surgery, there is a chance that some of your sutures came undone.

If the clinical exam is negative and you still got the symptoms an imaging study would be my next step.

Hope that help!

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.