A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a surgical procedure involving a licensed cosmetic surgeon removing excess abdominal skin and fat while restoring firmness to weakened muscles to give you a toned appearance. Once you receive the surgery, tummy tuck recovery is a long and sometimes painful experience. 

Early Tummy Tuck Recovery

After surgery, the tummy tuck incision is protected with a surgical dressing that needs changing every day. Small tubes may be placed at the incision site to drain excess fluids that also need to be cleaned and changed. Getting out of bed and walking the same day or the next day following a tummy tuck expedites recovery and helps prevent the formation of blood clots. Pain medication is provided by your surgeon to reduce post-surgical discomfort. You can expect some swelling for several weeks into your tummy tuck recovery. Antibiotics or anticoagulants may be prescribed for a few days after a tummy tuck. Supportive abdominal garments called "abdominal binders" are worn for about two months to help support abdominal muscles and reduce the risk of fluid buildup. Before you are discharged from the hospital, your plastic surgeon will give you instructions regarding care of the incision and drainage tubes, how to wear supportive garments, and how to inspect the incision for signs of possible infection. You will need to avoid physical activity impacting your abdomen. No heavy lifting, running, or excessive bending is allowed for about six weeks after surgery or whenever your doctor says you have recovered enough to resume normal activities.

Two Months Post Tummy Tuck

Bruising and swelling will have noticeably subsided by now but some swelling may remain. Once the incision has healed, patients can stop wearing compression garments. Some tummy tuck patients may feel minor pain in their abdomen, as skin and muscles start strengthening and returning to normal. Most people will be 75% healed by week eight. Permanent results of a tummy tuck are more apparent during this time. In addition, your surgeon will likely give you the green light to participate in any type of physical activity or exercise.

Tips for a Successful Tummy Tuck Recovery After Procedure

  • Follow-up appointments with your surgeon are essential for recovering without complications. Go to all post-op appointments to ensure your incision is healing normally
  • Follow recovery instructions provided by your doctor
  • Do not take prescription or non-prescription medications that have not been prescribed by your cosmetic surgeon. Check with your surgeon before taking any over-the-counter or prescription drugs
  • Plan your recovery ahead by giving yourself plenty of time off work and enlisting the aid of a family member or friend who can stay with you for two days after your surgery
  • Avoid salty foods that contribute to retaining fluids. Eat nutritious foods, drink water instead of coffee or soda, and avoid alcohol

Remember, a Tummy Tuck is not Weight Loss Surgery

Tummy tucks will not promote weight loss. Good candidates for tummy tucks are people who are at or close to an ideal weight but still have a bulging abdomen. To enjoy the long-term benefits of a tummy tuck, patients should endeavor to maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Gaining over 30% of your normal body weight increases the risk of weakening abdominal muscles and stretching skin. Women who have a tummy tuck and then have a child may want another tummy tuck if they cannot get rid of a belly bulge after pregnancy. In most cases, additional tummy tucks are not necessary if the patient's weight remains within a range acceptable for their age and height. If you have dieted and exercised but cannot eliminate a stubborn abdominal bulge, schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. Lawler today to learn more about tummy tuck surgery.