Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

A woman whose stomach is marked in preparation for tummy tuck surgery.

 

Tummy tucks can flatten your stomach by removing loose, saggy skin. But while everyone’s recovery timeline is unique to his or her situation, tummy tuck recovery periods tend to be longer than other cosmetic surgery procedures.

Don’t fear—with proper preparation, you can help your surgery recovery go as smoothly as possible. This blog post outlines the milestones you can expect after a tummy tuck in Washington, DC, and how you can help your body heal quickly and without complications.

Tummy Tuck 101

Women who have had children or anyone who has experienced significant weight loss often find themselves with excess abdominal skin that no amount of sit-ups or dieting can get rid of.  A tummy tuck removes this excess skin and tightens lax abdominal muscles.

A full tummy tuck involves making a horizontal incision just above the pubic area that extends from hip to hip. The doctor uses this incision to repair muscles that may have separated during pregnancy and to use liposuction to remove excess fat. While the patient is asleep, the surgeon will apply special pressure garments to help with healing. Small drains will also be inserted, as they remove any potential buildup of fluids after the surgery.

Your Recovery Timeline

While no two recovery periods are exactly the same, these are some main milestones patients can expect after surgery.

  • Immediately after surgery: Drains inserted and pressure bandages applied. Take any medication provided to you by your doctor.
  • 1 week: Your doctor will examine the amount of fluid that your drains are removing. If the fluid levels are safe, the drains can be removed. You can return to work after this stage.
  • 3 weeks: Sutures can be removed and patients can resume light physical activities.
  • 6 weeks: Your abdominal binders, which were in place to avoid fluid buildup and support your muscles, can now be removed.
  • 8 weeks: Recovery is essentially complete and you can resume regular exercise or heavy lifting.

Tips for Healthy Healing

  • Take it easy: Get plenty of rest and sleep on an incline when possible. Take your provided medication and listen to your surgeon’s instructions. During the first week, try sponge baths instead of showers. You can shower again 48 hours after your drains are removed.
  • Listen to your body: Avoid vigorous exercise until you are completely healed. Abstain from alcohol and nicotine as much as possible. If anything “doesn’t feel right” during recovery, discuss it with your surgeon.
  • Remember you’re not alone: Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family. Be sure to have someone drive you home from your operation. Organize daycare or carpools ahead of time for your kids, and get assistance with chores that require reaching or bending.

While the process of healing from a tummy tuck might take longer than expected, you can gently speed up your healing process if you are proactive about recovery.

Browse our before-and-after gallery to see results from tummy tuck patients at our practice. If you have any other questions or would like to know your tummy tuck options, request a consultation online or call the practice at (877) 427-7888.