Major surgery such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck surgery) will always be followed by a recovery period. Making it through recovery is an essential step before patients are able to fully enjoy the results of their procedure. This tummy tuck weekly recovery guide will help patients to know what to expect with recovery from tummy tuck surgery. This guide is for the standard tummy tuck recovery; patients undergoing a mini tummy tuck may expect a faster timeline, while patients undergoing an extended tummy tuck may have a longer recovery period.
- Patients may experience pain, bruising, swelling, tightness, and fatigue. Pain medications and cold compresses can alleviate some of these side effects.
- Drink lots of water, eat healthy foods to promote healing, and limit sodium to reduce swelling. Foods that are high in protein will improve healing, and foods that are more easily digestible can help avoid constipation caused by pain medications.
- Patients should stay at home and avoid contact with sick individuals, as the immune system will already be working overtime to heal the body.
- Most patients will have drains beneath the skin to remove excess fluid from the body.
- Avoid driving, exercise, work, smoking, and alcohol consumption during this time.
- The compression garment should be worn at all times to reduce swelling and to ensure that the body maintains its new figure through recovery.
- Patients should rest in a semi-reclined position whether awake or asleep.
- Occasionally walking and gradually increasing light activities are important to help with circulation.
- Patients should stay slightly bent at the waist while walking and use their arms to help them sit up so as to avoid straining the abdominal muscles.
- Drains will be removed during the first part of this week.
- Patients should continue to drink lots of water, eat a healthy diet, and limit their sodium intake.
- Pain, bruising, and tightness will diminish significantly, though soreness and fatigue will likely persist for several weeks or months. Swelling will not yet subside.
- Patients can begin using scar treatments such as vitamin E lotions or silicone sheets or gel.
- The compression garment should still be worn at all times.
- Most patients will be able to return to work by the middle or end of week two.
- Avoid exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
- Light activities should be increased to brief walks a few times throughout the day.
- Patients should still sleep and rest in a semi-elevated position.
Weeks 3 to 4
- Most patients will be back to work and most normal activities.
- Soreness will persist, but the swelling may begin to subside.
- Patients should limit travel to one hour or less in a vehicle or airplane.
- The compression garment may still need to be worn. Follow Dr. Jazayeri’s instructions for when to remove it.
- Light activities should be gradually increased. Avoid sit-ups, lifting weights, and abdominal exercises until fully healed.
- Patients can resume their normal diet at this time. A healthy, balanced diet will help the body continue to heal and will help maintain results.
Weeks 6 to 12
- Patients can gradually resume regular exercise. It is important to remember that the body will take time to reach its preoperative capacity for exercise, so new activities should be introduced or reintroduced gradually.
- Avoid abdominal exercises until the body has fully healed (at least until week 24).
- Soreness, fatigue, and swelling will gradually diminish completely.
- Results will be increasingly visible.
The final results of tummy tuck surgery may not be fully visible until several months after surgery, at which point the body will have completely healed. Patients can enjoy permanent results after tummy tuck surgery by maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine and avoiding significant weight gain or pregnancy.
Have more questions? Call us at (714) 834-0101 to schedule your consultation with board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Jazayeri.