You are currently viewing How long does the tightness last after a tummy tuck

How long does the tightness last after a tummy tuck

Tightness following tummy tuck procedure

There is a question often asked by patients who just got an abdominoplasty (also referred as tummy tuck): How long does the tightness last? And to give an accurate answer to that specific concern, we have to analyse multiple components of the patient’s body, habits and overall health. 

A tummy tuck surgery or abdominoplasty can be an invasive procedure. It involves skin removal, skin and muscle tightening, and techniques that overall result in a feeling of discomfort after surgery. It causes a temporary nerve damage that contributes to that sensation of tightness in your abdomen. 

Immediately after surgery, your tummy will feel tight. A reminder not to pull or stretch too much. For most of the patients this feeling resolves in a period of six to twelve weeks after the surgery. In some cases it may take longer than that, but it’s only because the nerves are reestablishing their connections as the abdominal tissues continue to heal. This being an outcome from the surgery recovery, not part of the results. 

There are some treatments that can help ease the tightness after tummy tuck surgery. Some methods like dry brushing and massaging help increase blood circulation for natural detoxification. Also physical contact can help the patient stimulate the nervous system and make them feel more relaxed by releasing the tightness. 

After experiencing a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, there will be some additional steps, mainly due to the swelling after the surgery. This does not mean that the results won’t appear later, in fact it is very important to recover well from this procedure to ensure better results. Once you recover, your stomach will be flat and more proportioned with your body silhouette. But, for how long? 

Different bodies, different results

Multiple studies show that a tummy tuck (or abdominoplasty, however you prefer to call it) results in a different way for every patient. Each body has distinguished biological components that can alter – for good or bad – the outcome of this surgery. 

According to the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS, 2021) this surgery can lead to significant weight loss for many patients, especially in those with preoperative overweight. A normal body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 25, between 25 and 30 is diagnosed as overweight and above 30 is considered obesity. These numbers may not seem important for an abdominoplasty, but turns out they can alter the weight loss in the patient’s journey or recovery. Long-term weight loss is more likely for those patients whose initial BMI is 24.5 or higher (overweight or obese). 

Does this mean that cosmetic surgery can help a patient’s weight loss? There are some procedures such as the gastric bypass and other bariatric surgical procedures designed to achieve and maintain weight loss. In contrast, the abdominoplasty is ideal for patients seeking to reduce their size and improve the appearance of their abdomen. 

The weight loss experienced in the patients shown in the study published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is due to the feeling of satiety after eating. Removing fat cells from the abdomen may lead to reduced levels of hormones affecting appetite, which are secreted by fatty tissue. Each body is different, which means recovery will vary for everyone, and there are several things to consider like the type of tummy tuck the patient received, their overall health, age and post-surgery care. 

A tummy tuck will never be a substitute for weight loss or any kind of exercising program. Although it may look like magic after seeing the results, let us not forget that behind all of that there’s a medical and scientific procedure. These magical results are technically permanent, given that the outcome can be affected by any kind of weight fluctuation. Individuals who are planning to undergo a weight loss procedure or women who are considering pregnancy are advised to wait before receiving this surgery. Maintaining these results is the patient’s job. With a mixture of  healthy eating habits and exercising regularly, the patient will be able to conserve the looks for many years. 

How long till I feel normal again?

Many patients worry about what to expect after a tummy tuck relating to how much pain it will cause. Luckily, the pain during tummy tuck recovery does not outweigh the amazing results. After a tummy tuck surgery, the patients may experience common post-op pain and bruising over the first two weeks. This pain can be alleviated using medication, improving each day. And of course you will be limited to light activities for the first two to three weeks. 

The first three to five days will be the most difficult period of a tummy tuck recovery. During the first few days to a week, the pain starts decreasing and medication may no longer be needed. You will be able to move much more, always being careful and listening to your body, it will tell you how far you can go. As you enter your third week of recovery, much of the swelling and discomfort will just be starting to go away. And during the sixth week you can start to get back to your normal life. Most of your swelling will be gone by this time, and your surgeon will probably clear you to resume normal activities.

The average duration for people who have just had a tummy tuck to feel normal again is between four to six weeks, like mentioned before. Keeping in mind that the precise healing duration will vary from one person to another depending on the type of tummy tuck they had, their age, the kind of post-op care they receive, and their general health. And what about the scar? Don’t worry it will fade with time. 

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure like any other. It takes time to heal and for it to show the results you were so anxious to get. Sure it comes with some minor discomfort, but so does everything good in life. Deciding to have an abdominoplasty is a very personal choice, every patient must be aware of the aftermath that comes with having this surgery. Like most surgeries, a tummy tuck is not over when the surgeon stitches you up. What happens during the days and first weeks following the surgery is key to achieving the best results and avoiding complications. Give your body time to heal. Taking care of yourself is a huge part of this process. 

Your plastic surgeon is also your friend

So long we have covered multiple questions about the duration of the discomfort, the tightness and some other stuff that comes with getting a tummy tuck. And maybe you still have more doubts about it, something completely normal regarding any type of surgical procedure. 

Remember that before, during and after your surgery, your plastic surgeon is there to help you with any type of question you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask, their job is to ensure your safety and also satisfaction with the whole procedure. It is a common mistake to keep all these questions to ourselves and this small mistake can sometimes lead to something bigger. Let them walk you through the process of getting a tummy tuck safely and happily. 


A virtual consultation is when you send us photos of the places of your body where you’d like to improve. Then our surgeon analyzes it to confirm that you are a candidate for that particular procedure. We later inform you about our doctor’s decision and give you a quote with all the information about your surgery. Please, do be at ease that everything is confidential between yourself, the doctor, and the doctor’s representative.