Tummy Tuck Recovery: What To Expect

Woman with hands on stomach. (MODEL)

If you covet flat, sculpted abdominals that look terrific under tight clothing, a tummy tuck is often the perfect option. This procedure not only gives you a taut abdomen but also strengthens ab muscles that may have weakened due to pregnancy or weight fluctuations. While you are probably excited about your tummy tuck results, you may be apprehensive about the recovery period and everything it entails.

At our practice, we want you to have amazing results as well as a smooth recovery. To that end, we have compiled this guide on what to expect after your tummy tuck.

What To Expect During Tummy Tuck Recovery

It’s important to remember that tummy tuck recovery is not the same for everyone. Your recovery will depend on various factors, but the following timeline will give you a general idea of what to expect.

Week 1

The first week after your procedure, you will experience some tightness, swelling, and discomfort, and you will likely not be able to stand fully upright. Your plastic surgeon will advise you on prescription or over-the-counter medications you can take to relieve your discomfort. Do not drive while you are taking prescription pain medication. (You can usually resume driving after about a week if you are no longer taking pain medication.) Make sure to get plenty of rest this week and follow all your plastic surgeon’s instructions.

During this first week, gently move around your house as soon as you are able. This movement encourages blood circulation, boosting the healing process and discouraging blood clots. You will need to wear a compression garment to minimize swelling and stabilize your midsection. Drains will also be in place to prevent fluid buildup; they will be removed about 5 to7 days after surgery. This previous blog covers other helpful tips to follow during the first few weeks of recovery.

Weeks 2 to 3

You should be progressing nicely in your recovery and able to stand and walk without hunching over. You may even start to see your new, sculpted midsection emerge. Continue to wear your compression garment to control swelling and support your midsection.

You should be cleared to go back to work after the 2- or 3-week mark if you have a desk job.

Weeks 4 to 5

Your midsection should be healing more every day. Don’t forget to keep wearing your compression garment! Your surgeon may clear you to begin easing into a low-intensity workout during this time, but postpone strenuous activities or heavy lifting for a couple more weeks. You should focus on a balanced diet and consistent exercise to optimize your tummy tuck results.

Months 3 to 6

Your tummy tuck should be nearly healed with little swelling remaining. Most people can resume all normal activities after the 6-week mark, but make sure to check with your plastic surgeon. You can also start heavy lifting if you don’t feel any tightness or straining in your midsection.

How Long Will My Tummy Tuck Results Last?

Your tummy tuck results are permanent, but age and weight fluctuations can impact your results. Losing and gaining a lot of weight in a short period of time can cause your skin to sag and give your abdomen a softer appearance. The same can happen if you get pregnant after your tummy tuck.

It’s a good idea to finish having children before your tummy tuck to avoid weight fluctuations and preserve your tummy tuck results.

Will I Have Scarring After My Tummy Tuck?

You will be left with a scar after your tummy tuck procedure, but the appearance of the scar will change over time. After the procedure, your incision may have a red or purple hue and look ridged or raised. As time goes by, your scar will begin to fade and flatten; eventually, it will become a faint pink or white line. During this time, it’s important to protect your scar from the sun, as sun damage may cause the scar to worsen.

You should carefully follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions regarding incision care. If you notice that your incisions are getting infected, let your provider know immediately, as infected incisions can leave a more prominent scar.

After your initial incision has healed, you can use silicone gel or tape to help your scar fade faster.

What Can I Do To Maintain My Tummy Tuck Results?

The best way to preserve your tummy tuck results is to avoid gaining weight. Eating a balanced diet and following a consistent exercise routine will keep your body lean and strong and help you show off your tummy tuck results to their best advantage.

Your post-tummy tuck diet should focus on lean protein and nutrient-rich vegetables such as leafy greens. Protein helps repair your tissues after the procedure and keeps your body strong. According to Healthline, drinking plenty of water and other liquids will flush toxins from your body and reduce swelling after surgery.

You should be proud of what you achieved at the end of your tummy tuck journey. While tummy tuck recovery may seem challenging, remember that it requires just a small window of time compared to the many years you’ll enjoy your tummy tuck results. If you are ready for a tummy tuck, request a consultation or call us at (713) 571-0600 to schedule an appointment.

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