What are the complications and side effects of an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)?

As expected, you will have pain and swelling after surgery. Your doctor can prescribe a painkiller if needed, and will instruct you on how best to treat the pain.

Soreness may last for several weeks or months. You may also have numbness, bruising, and overall tiredness for that same time period.

As with any surgery, there are risks. You may have an increased risk of complications if you have poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease, or if you smoke. Complications can include:

  • Scarring
  • Hematoma (bleeding)
  • Infection
  • Seroma (accumulation of fluid)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Loss of skin
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness or other changes in sensation
  • Risks related to anesthesia
  • Changes in skin color
  • Long-lasting swelling
  • Fat necrosis (death of fatty tissue located deep in the skin)
  • Wound separation
  • Asymmetry (unevenness or lopsidedness)

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy