Tummy Tuck Side Effects: What to Expect By Michael A. Devlin, MD on October 14, 2019

A woman's flat stomachSometimes diet and exercise alone are not enough to achieve a flat stomach, especially after pregnancy or extreme weight loss. A tummy tuck can help rid the stomach of loose, sagging skin and enhance the appearance.

When considering tummy tuck surgery, it is important to understand that some side effects should be expected. Dr. Michael A. Devlin explains tummy tuck side effects to patients at our Little Rock, AR, cosmetic surgery practice. For answers to your questions about tummy tuck side effects, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Devlin.

Common Side Effects After a Tummy Tuck

Side effects are inherent in the recovery process after surgery, including tummy tuck surgery, and are often a part of the healing process.

Accordingly, the side effects after a tummy tuck are not necessarily complications, but rather part of the body's response to surgery.

Let's take a look at some of the most common side effects our Little Rock patients may experience after tummy tuck surgery.


Pain, which is generally strongest during the first few days of recovery, is one of the most common side effects patients should expect after a tummy tuck.

Pain is usually managed with pain medication, which is often prescribed after surgery. Some patients may find that over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient for pain relief. Whether taking prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, it's important to take them as directed.

Pain should gradually subside as the abdomen heals, but if pain becomes worse, it could be a sign of an infection or other complication and should be brought to your doctor's attention.


Swelling is the body's normal response to an injury and expected after tummy tuck surgery. However, the amount of swelling may vary depending on the type of tummy tuck performed and the patient's own body's unique response to surgery.

Wearing a compression garment or abdominal binder as directed can help control swelling.

Swelling should subside within the few weeks of surgery, but can take several months to fully resolve. With that in mind, patients may not see full results until swelling is resolved.


Another common side effect after tummy tuck surgery is bruising in the abdomen, specifically around the treated area.

Bruising will look purple during the first week or so after surgery and gradually fade to yellow until fully faded.

Most people will see bruises fully fade with two weeks of surgery.


Some numbness may be felt around the incision site after tummy tuck surgery. Numbness is a result of nerves in the skin being cut when the incision is made along the abdomen.

As the nerves and tissues heal, numbness generally goes away. It can take a few months to a year for feeling to completely come back.

In rare cases, numbness will persist or feeling may not fully come back.


Some amount of scarring should be expected after tummy tuck surgery. The extent of which depends on the size of the incision and the patient's personal likelihood of scarring.

Initially, the scar may appear red. Redness generally subsides after six weeks and will continue to fade over time.

Schedule a Consultation

If you live in or around Little Rock and would like more information about side effects after tummy tuck surgery, or to find out if a tummy tuck is right for you, we welcome you to call (501) 222-1173 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Devlin.

Related to This

Plastic surgeon Michael Devlin, M.D.

Devlin Cosmetic Surgery: Michael Devlin, M.D.

Dr. Devlin is a cosmetic surgeon who provides each of his patients with personalized care and a compassionate approach. He offers a range of procedures in an environment where patients feel safe, comfortable, and heard. He is affiliated with organizations such as the:

  • American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (Fellow)
  • American Society of Cosmetic Breast Surgery
  • American Medical Association
  • Arkansas Medical Society
  • Pulaski County Medical Society

To get started on your plastic surgery journey, fill out our form or call (501) 227-8811.


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