The Side Effects of Tummy Tuck Surgery

Side effects are the natural response your body has to surgery and other medical procedures. They are temporary and manageable, though they can be alarming if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why the team at Jefferson Plastic Surgery goes over potential side effects with all patients. We want you to be well-informed and healthy while also looking your best.

With that in mind, our Philadelphia, PA plastic surgeons would like to look at the side effects of tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). We’ll go over these side effects in more detail during your consultation here.

Pain and Soreness

Pain and discomfort is to be expected after undergoing any kind of surgical procedure. The pain will be its worst in the first day or so after surgery, though it can be managed with the use of pain relievers and medication. There should be significant improvements day to day with regard to overall pain and wellness.

In addition to taking pain relievers as instructed, we recommend that patients get ample rest in the first days after surgery. Avoid strenuous physical activities, and slowly return to your fitness routine to prevent discomfort and injury.


Bruising is to be expected due to damage to blood vessels along the incision areas. For most patients, major bruising will last for about two weeks, at which point the bruises will fade. Often this means the bruises going from a purple-ish color to turning yellow. This bruising will continue to fade over the course of another two weeks.

In addition to getting rest, one of the ideal ways to help the bruising fade is to walk a little bit each day as you heal. This promotes blood circulation throughout your body. Walking just a little has the added benefit of preventing harmful blood clots from developing in your legs.


Swelling occurs because of cell and fluid accumulation as your body recovers from trauma. This inflammatory response is a natural response. After a tummy tuck, major swelling tends to last for about two weeks, with some minor swelling lasting another two weeks after that. Some residual swelling that is very minor could last for several more weeks.

Be sure to clear out the surgical drainage tubes as instructed to keep your swelling under control. In addition, make sure to wear your compression garment as you heal. The compression garment will offer comfort and support during the healing process.

Post-Surgical Scarring

Scarring is to be expected after any surgical procedure. We will do our best to limit excessive scarring, and to make sure the tummy tuck is designed to help you look your best in the long run. Scars will fade in the months and years after your tummy tuck, and can be concealed by many tops, bottoms, and bathing suits.

The ideal way to manage post-op scars is to moisturize properly, stop using tobacco products, and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

What If My Tummy Tuck Side Effects Do Not Improve?

If your tummy tuck side effects show little improvement or become worse, it’s important to contact Jefferson Plastic Surgery as soon as possible. This could be the sign of a serious complication that require immediate professional care.

Learn More About Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you would like more information about tummy tuck surgery and what to expect after the procedure is performed, be sure to contact our board-certified plastic surgeons. Dr. Steven E. Copit, Dr. Patrick J. Greaney, Jr., and Dr. Matthew P. Jenkins look forward to hearing from you and addressing all of your concerns.

Questions? Email us today.

To make or reschedule an appointment please complete the form below or call:  (215) 625-6630.

CALL US TODAY: (215)625-6630


Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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