Understanding the tummy tuck recovery process is important for anyone seriously considering an abdominal contouring procedure. The following is a week-by-week glance at what the recovery process looks like for a standard tummy tuck procedure.
Immediately following surgery, patients usually have drains placed near the incision sites to remove excess fluid. A compression garment will be provided and should remain on at all times to reduce swelling and produce the desired outcome. Patients should eat a protein-rich, low sodium diet to promote healing and reduce swelling.
The most common symptoms during this period are soreness, swelling, and fatigue. Discomfort is usually addressed with medications.
Avoid driving, physical activity, and smoking to allow for proper rest and recovery. Rest in a semi-reclined position and gradually increase light activity to promote circulation.
By week two, the drains will likely be removed. Although swelling will remain, discomfort and bruising should significantly decrease. Continue to wear the compression garment and rest in a semi-reclined position.
Most patients will be able to return to work by the end of week two and can start gradually incorporating brief walks into their days to promote healing.
Many patients will be back at work and can resume most activities by week 4. Soreness will continue but swelling should begin to subside. Continue to increase activity while avoiding any abdominal exercises.
The compression garment may still need to be worn if recommended by the surgeon.
By week 4, patients may resume a regular diet, but it’s important to continue with a nutrient-dense diet to foster continued recovery.
Patients should gradually resume regular exercise but continue to avoid abdominal exercises until fully healed (around week 24).
By week 12, soreness, fatigue, and swelling will gradually resolve. Results will become more visible by week 12 but may not be fully visible for several months following surgery.
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