Tummy Tuck Recovery Info

A tummy tuck can make dramatic improvements to your abdominal shape and size (not to mention your self-confidence), but with these benefits comes a slightly longer recovery period than other procedures. Expect about 2 weeks away from light activity (i.e. a desk job). Physical work, lifting and carrying are off-limits for about 4 to 6 weeks—this will require some extra planning on your part if you have small kids. But ask any of our many satisfied tummy tuck patients, and they’ll tell the recovery is totally worth it. Here’s the scoop:

How will I feel after a tummy tuck?

The first few days are not going to be a picnic. Although our doctors use surgical techniques designed to minimize post-op pain and swelling, you may experience considerable discomfort, which maxes out about 3 to 5 days after surgery and then starts to subside more and more each day. You’ll be slow, but get up frequently (with help!) to take short walks around the house.

Your surgeon may place drains at your incision site to collect fluid during the first week after surgery. Don’t be scared—drains are simple to maintain and will help you feel much better and heal faster by taking pressure off of your healing tissues.

After a tummy tuck, when can I…

  • Get out of bed/get to the bathroom without help? You’ll need assistance as you move from lying to sitting to standing (and vice versa) for 3 to 5 days. Take your time and move about slowly, but do move about.
  • Go back to work? If you have a desk job, take 2 weeks off minimum. Do not return to physical work that requires you to use your abdominal muscles for 6 weeks.
  • Drive my car? You need to be off pain meds and able to wear a seat belt comfortably before driving. For most patients, 2 weeks is a reasonable timeframe.
  • Pick up & carry my kids? If you’re a mom, this is a biggy. But you must not lift or carry anything heavy for 6 weeks after a tummy tuck. Doing so stresses your incisions and can lead to internal bleeding or poor scarring. Arrange for childcar and stay close to your babies by snuggling with them on the couch. More on this topic in mommy makeover recovery »
  • Go for a run or workout? You can resume easy walking for exercise after a couple of weeks, but all other types of exercise will be off-limits for 6 weeks. You’ll have to ease in, so if you’re used to tough workouts, expect 3 to 4 months before you’re back in full swing.

When are tummy tuck results final?

You’ll notice an improvement in your abdomen’s shape right away, as the extra skin will be gone and your muscles will be tightened. At first, swelling will obscure your results somewhat. The majority of post-op swelling resolves after 3 or 4 weeks, but residual swelling can linger on for several months. Your tummy’s shape and size will be looking close to final after about 3 months, although minor improvements continue for 6 months or longer.

Ready for a consult? Contact us today to schedule your appointment with one of our surgeons.