Tummy Tuck Recovery FAQs

Recovery is one of the most important stages following abdominoplasty surgery. Even if you take all the time to prepare for the procedure, choose the best plastic surgeon in town, and equip yourself with all the supplies you’ll need, you still need to be watchful during recovery in order to ensure a successful procedure outcome. Below are some of the most important tummy tuck recovery FAQs to guide you on this important part of your treatment.

How painful is a tummy tuck recovery?

Generally, a tummy tuck is a well-tolerated procedure. However, like any other surgery, there are risks involved. Most patients experience pain, bruising, and swelling especially over the first one week. This can be resolved by taking a lot of rest, eating healthy foods, and staying hydrated. Your surgeon will also provide pain medication to help alleviate the discomfort, and antibiotics to prevent infections during your abdominoplasty recovery.

How long will swelling last?

Swelling is a normal reaction following surgery. It is part of the body’s natural healing mechanism, whereby fluid collects around the treatment area to protect healing tissues. Swelling after a tummy tuck can feel uncomfortable and may obscure the outcome of your procedure. Drains are typically inserted to collect excess fluid and ease pressure on your abdomen, which help alleviate discomfort especially over the first week. Drains are usually removed in the second week of recovery. You should remain patient with any swelling that persists after that and let it subside at a natural pace. It may take up to six months before the last traces of swelling have completely disappeared.

How long is the recovery time after a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck recovery is a gradual process – albeit one that varies from one patient to the other based on your body’s healing ability. You’ll need to take care of yourself especially during the first 2-3 weeks. Your plastic surgeon will provide detailed instructions that you should adhere to in order to make sure that you recover as fast as possible. Most patients are able to resume light work within 3 weeks, but it may take up to 8 weeks before you are able to engage in strenuous activities.

How to speed the tummy tuck recovery?

After taking the time to go through the surgery, recovery is the most important concern for both patients and doctors. Below are some tips to help you get back up as soon as possible:

  • Focus on a well-balanced diet – make sure to include healthful and balanced options in your diet to supply your body with the nutrients needed for recovery. Your meals should include proteins, fiber-rich options, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Stay hydrated – take enough water daily in order to flush out toxins and distribute the nutrients throughout your body, including the incision sites. Water may be substituted by healthy beverages such as citrus-infused water and low-sodium broths.  
  • Take a light walk – it is important that you take a light walk as soon as you are able to after abdominoplasty surgery. This helps encourage blood circulation throughout the body and also reduces the risk of blood clots. Plastic surgeons typically recommend about 20-30 minutes of light walks daily throughout the first week.
  • Sleep in the right position – you should sleep in an inclined position to protect your wounds and promote uninterrupted healing. Use a lot of pillows to prop yourself up and avoid any motions that may strain your abdominal muscles.
  • Keep your compression garment on – you’ll need to keep the special compression garment provided during the surgery on until your surgeon says otherwise. This garment helps alleviate swelling and promote healing.

Are the results of a tummy tuck permanent?

It may take up to a few months for the results of your tummy tuck to fully manifest. During this time, you will need to remain patient and focus on your attention on the recovery process. The outcome of a tummy tuck – once evident – is considered to be permanent. Your abdominal wall will be stable and excess skin and fat will have been removed. Keep in mind though that weight fluctuations and future pregnancies can negate the abdominal area again, necessitating a revision procedure. Your plastic surgeon may recommend that you wait until you are done having children before undergoing this treatment.

Will I have scars after a tummy tuck?

Scarring is a big concern following abdominoplasty procedure. Most patients fear that the procedure will result in visible scars that will persist for the rest of their lives. This is almost always not the case. Skilled tummy tuck surgeons use advanced surgical techniques to minimize scarring and make sure they are hidden in areas where they are not obvious. Furthermore, you will likely be put under a stringent scar-care program to ensure that scarring fades over time.