Tummy Tuck Side Effects

Because cosmetic surgical procedures are elective (rather than medically necessary), it can be all too easy for prospective patients to not take cosmetic procedures as seriously as other types of surgery. This can be particularly true in the case of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedures, which tighten up excess loose skin, tissue, and underlying muscle following dramatic weight loss from the abdominal areas. Patients may look at a tummy tuck as nothing more than just a quick way to get a flatter stomach without considering the potential side effects from the procedure.

The truth is that a tummy tuck procedure is every bit as much a major surgery as those performed for medical reasons. Dr. Vincent Marin will explain to prospective patients not only the benefits that a tummy tuck procedure can offer, but also the side effects.

Bruising and Swelling

Bruising and swelling in the first week following a tummy tuck procedure is perhaps the most common side effect. This is actually a natural part of the body’s healing process, as it seeks to isolate the areas that have been injured or incised. Dr. Marin will give patients a special compression garment to wear for the first one to two weeks following the surgery. This tightly-woven elastic garment is somewhat like a girdle and will help to reduce both the amount and duration of bruising and swelling. Taking the herb “Arnica montana” and using ice and cold compresses will also help reduce bruising and swelling.


Any surgical procedure will result in some amount of scarring. Depending on the type of tummy tuck, there will be at the very least a scar running from one hip bone across to the other, just below the bikini line. Fortunately, Dr. Marin will place these scars so that they will be hidden underneath clothing. Silicone sheeting can be applied once the incisions have fully healed. Although the sheeting will not make scars completely invisible, it will help flatten them and make their color blend more into the natural surrounding skin tone.


Pain is also to be expected following any surgical procedure. It is the body’s reaction to having the nerves in the skin and underlying structures severed when an incision is made. Dr. Marin will prescribe painkillers for patients to take starting when they return home on the day of their surgery. He recommends that patients fill the prescription before the day of surgery, so that they will not have to worry about it during their recuperation period.


Patients may experience some tightness of the abdominal muscles and skin. Because the muscles are sutured and excess skin removed, patients are likely to experience some tightness for a few weeks after surgery.

Itching or Numbness of the Incision Site

Many patients experience an itchy, tingling, or numb feeling at the incision site. This is caused by the severing of the nerves. As the nerves heal, these sensations should subside.

A tummy tuck procedure can be the finishing touch to allow patients to show off the results of all of their efforts to lose weight. If patients know what to expect following the procedure, it will make their recovery go much more smoothly.


About the Author:

Dr. Vince Marin is a San Diego board-certified plastic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. If you wish to contact Dr. Marin, write to [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter!