For many patients, tummy tuck recovery is a hot topic because they know those first few weeks can be especially challenging.
The good news is, however, that it’s doable. And if you’ve been struggling with loose skin, separated abdominal muscles, and stubborn tummy fat, the tummy tuck recovery time will be worth it. Here are some tips to get through this period with as little pain and discomfort as possible.
Top Tips for a Smooth Healing Process After Tummy Tuck Procedures
1. Wear your compression garments as directed.
After surgery, most patients will have a surgical dressing and an abdominal support garment to wear home. You’ll need to wear this consistently for at least four to six weeks. Over time, you can switch to just wearing the garment part-time.
An abdominal pressure garment is designed to reduce swelling, support the new contours of your abdomen, keep your incision sites closed, and deter the healing tissues from stretching.
2. Use pain medication to improve your comfort.
Most tummy tuck patients will benefit from pain medication to improve discomfort over the first few weeks. Pain is usually worst over the first few days.
Usually, after a week or more, patients can switch from a prescribed pain medication to an over-the-counter option. On top of taking pain medication, wearing an abdominal binder can help with discomfort as well.
3. Drink plenty of water, and eat a healthy diet.
Just as at any time in your life, eating a nutritious diet will add benefits to your health. Because you will be restricted physically, it may be a good idea to plan ahead and create some freezer meals before surgery. Some patients will ask a friend or family to cook for them, or you might even sign up for a meal delivery service.
During your recovery, you must avoid alcohol, foods high in sodium, and too much caffeine. Drink plenty of water and clear fluids. Believe it or not, staying hydrated can help flush excess fluid out of your body. Reducing fluid buildup can help get rid of swelling faster.
4. Care for your incision site properly.
All plastic surgeons have different instructions for proper wound care, so be sure to follow your surgeon’s unique directives.
Patients can usually shower after surgery, but some surgeons will have you wait a few days. If you have drains, you may need to take sponge baths only until the drainage tubes are removed.
If you are allowed to get your incision sites wet, be sure not to rub or agitate them. Naturally, you’ll need to remove your compression garment prior to bathing. Always pat (don’t rub) your incision sites dry.
5. Ease back into physical activity.
One of the major risks after surgery is the risk of blood clots. To prevent blood clots from forming, make sure you are getting up periodically to take short, easy walks. This will ensure good blood circulation.
As time goes on and your surgeon allows it, ease back into more movement. Take longer walks, and when you are cleared, start exercising again.
Just remember that reintegrating exercise into your routine will not happen for at least four to six weeks, and even then, you’ll need to take it slow at first. It may take up to three months or longer to return to more vigorous exercise.
FAQ: Recovery Time for Tummy Tuck Surgery
How long is recovery from tummy tuck surgery?
On average, patients need to take around two weeks off from work after a tummy tuck. But it may take several additional weeks to return to all your normal activities and six months to a year or more to see your complete tummy tuck results. To see a visual representation of the recovery time tummy tuck requires, take a look at some tummy tuck recovery week by week pictures.
Keep in mind that if you are undergoing additional procedures along with a tummy tuck or if your tummy tuck is part of a mommy makeover, the recovery period may be longer.
What are the don’ts after a tummy tuck?
Among the “don’ts” after tummy tuck surgery, you should not perform strenuous exercise, do any heavy lifting, submerge yourself in water (bath, pool, etc.), expose your incisions to sunlight, or drink alcohol or smoke.
How long before I can stand straight after tummy tuck surgery?
For at least two weeks, it may be advisable to walk with a slight bend at your waist. Usually after two to three weeks, you can stand with your regular posture again. It may take several more weeks to get your energy back and return to your normal activities.
How painful is a tummy tuck?
The tummy tuck procedure itself will not be painful as you’ll be under general anesthesia, which will keep you comfortable. Do expect some discomfort in the days and weeks following surgery, however. Your surgeon can prescribe pain medications to mitigate this.
Is the tummy tuck cost worth it?
Tummy tuck costs vary. We recommend scheduling a one-on-one appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon to learn the prospective cost of your surgery. Factors like your anatomy, your goals, the geographic location of your surgery, and your surgeon’s own unique fees will all influence the cost.
Will I have tummy tuck scars?
Yes, tummy tucks result in scars. All tummy tucks require a hip to hip incision that typically sits below the underwear line. But you may also require a belly button incision (full tummy tuck) or a vertical incision below the belly button (fleur-de-lis tummy tuck). Or, your lower lateral incision may need to be extended (extended tummy tuck).
Contact Us to Set Up a Consultation Appointment
If the tummy tuck recovery process is daunting to you, one of the best ways to confront this concern is to schedule a consultation appointment with a reliable board certified plastic surgeon. Speaking with a surgeon about your procedure can help calm your fears. They will be able to tell you exactly what you can expect and how you can manage all of your symptoms for optimal comfort.
Also at your consultation appointment, you’ll get a chance to browse tummy tuck before and after photos and see what your results could look like. Together with your surgeon, you’ll go over other topics such as what tummy tuck type is best for you and what, if any, additional procedures may help you achieve your goals even better.
Double board certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Sieber has helped countless other patients realize their desired outcome with tummy tuck surgery and other body contouring procedures. Please call our office today to set up your consultation.