Common Tummy Tuck Side Effects

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on December 30, 2019

A side-by-side comparison of a stomach before and after tummy tuck surgeryWhen patients have loose, drooping skin after weight loss or childbirth, a tummy tuck may be the best option to restore a smooth, contoured abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery, or abdominoplasty, can help when diet and exercise alone are not enough to flatten the stomach or get rid of excess, hanging skin.

While most people who undergo this procedure won't experience complications, tummy tuck side effects should be expected. Serving Minneapolis, MN, and the neighboring Edina area, Dr. Brian J. Kobienia explains these side effects and more during patient consultations.

Side Effects Are Normal after Tummy Tuck Surgery

It's normal to experience some side effects after tummy tuck surgery. Side effects are not considered complications and most are temporary.

With that said, it's important to note that the two most common side effects, pain and swelling, are a natural reaction to the healing process. However, if either become severe or are accompanied by redness, they may be a sign of infection or other complications and should be brought to your doctor's attention.

Now, let's take a closer look at some of the most common side effects our Minneapolis patients may experience after tummy tuck surgery.


Pain is one of the most common side effects after tummy tuck surgery. Fortunately, pain is often easily controlled with prescribed or an approved over-the-counter medication.

Taking medication as directed instead of waiting until you feel pain can help keep you comfortable throughout recovery and keep pain at bay.

Pain should resolve as the body heals. In most cases, this takes about six weeks. If pain doesn't lessen or gets worse, it may be a sign of a complication and should be brought to your doctor's attention.


Swelling is another common side effect of tummy tuck surgery and should be expected during recovery.

Swelling is a normal part of the healing process and should resolve as the body heals. Wearing a compression garment as directed can help reduce swelling and support the tissues during recovery.


Bruising around the stomach may also be expected after tummy tuck surgery. Bruising may occur from manipulating the tissues and should fade as the body heals, usually around two weeks after surgery.

Bruising is caused by blood collecting in the tissues and often appears dark purple in color in its early phase. As bruises resolve, they will fade to a yellowish color before fully fading.


Although steps are taken to minimize scarring after tummy tuck surgery, patients should be prepared for some amount of scarring.

The extent of scarring will depend on the type of tummy tuck surgery performed as well as each patient's response to injury. Some people are less likely to scar than others while some are more likely to scar.

With that said, incisions are typically made so that they will be hidden by underwear or a bikini.

Schedule a Consultation

For more information about the side effects of tummy tuck surgery or to see if tummy tuck surgery is right for you, we welcome you to call (952) 925-1111 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kobienia. We serve patients in Minneapolis and Edina.

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