Is tightness in the abdomen after a tummy tuck normal?
The tummy tuck is a complex and major procedure that entails certain risks and complications, as well as some normal side effects after the procedure. During the procedure, the plastic surgeon will use sutures to bring the abdominal muscles together if they are distended, re-drape the skin on the abdominal wall, and remove the excess tissue to eliminate the sagginess present on the lower part of the tummy.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and can last up to four hours or even more, depending on the complexity of each case and whether the procedure is performed with other plastic surgery procedures or not. The patient is free to leave the medical facility a few hours after waking up from the anesthesia to start the recovery process in the comfort of his home.
The first two weeks after the tummy tuck are the most difficult for the patient as there are certain recommendations to be followed to the letter, such as not sleeping or lying on the tummy and walking with the upper part of the body slightly bent forward to avoid unnecessary pressure on the incisions. Moreover, it is during this time that the patient will also experience a certain level of pain and discomfort that is normal and commonly associated with a procedure of this complexity.
After the procedure, the area of the operation will feel swollen and painful to the touch. After the wounds have started to heal, it is normal to feel a tightness in the abdomen. This is due to the skin that was re-draped and now has a different tension on the tummy. This tightness can be felt particularly when the patient does certain moves or stretches on the back. It is a normal side effect of the procedure and will subside with time as the patient gets used to the feeling and the incisions heal.
To create a beautiful abdominal area, the plastic surgeon needs to cut the excess skin and re-drape the skin that is left and put more tension into it to make the tummy look flat, firm and smooth. However, when the sagginess is removed, the patient might feel that the tummy is too tight. This is just one of the different sensations that can normally be experienced during the recovery period after the tummy tuck. Another sensation is that of numbness on the operated area. In many cases, the patient will experience both the tightness and the numbness at the same time. The numbness is caused by the sectioning of the tissues and the nerves in the area. Both the tightness and numbness will disappear without additional treatment in time. It is important for the patient to discuss with the plastic surgeon any abnormal sign that he might experience for the first month after the procedure.