The Most Effective Recovery From a Tummy Tuck

The recovery time for a tummy tuck varies from person to person, but taking certain steps can significantly speed up the healing process. Abdominoplasty is a common procedure, and post-operative complications are rare if the patient follows the surgeon’s instructions. Before you undergo this type of surgery, ask your doctor about these guidelines for healing.

What Affects Tummy Tuck Recovery Time?

There are several factors that can affect how a patient recovers from abdominoplasty. If you are generally healthy and physically fit, your tummy tuck recuperation will most likely advance at a normal pace. It may be best to undergo the procedure when you aren’t dealing with any other health issues. The rate your body normally heals may also play a role in your recovery time.

Complicated procedures may involve more complicated post-op healing and a longer recovery. The recovery period for a mini tummy tuck is typically shorter than it is for a complete tummy tuck. If you plan to combine another surgical procedure with your tummy tuck, you can expect an even longer and possibly more uncomfortable recuperation period (this is generally not adviced).

Before a tummy tuck and 8 weeks after. Photo credit to Dr. Steve Laverson
Before a tummy tuck and 8 weeks after. Photo credit to Dr. Steve Laverson

Another important factor that affects your recovery from a tummy tuck is how well you follow your surgeon’s guidelines for post-op care. Taking care of the incision area, getting proper rest, and easing back into your normal physical routines will affect how quickly you heal. It’s important to listen to your surgeon and be sure you understand each of his or her instructions.

What is the Recovery Procedure Like?

Because you will be given a general anesthesia for your abdominoplasty, you will likely need to spend several hours in a recovery room. You may feel nauseous, weak and tired once the anesthesia wears off. Your incision will be covered with gauze and a compression bandage. The surgeon may also place tubes at the incision site to drain fluids. You can expect to have the tubes and any sutures removed within a week or two.

Following your surgery, you will need several days of bed rest. Your doctor may recommend that you take short walks the day after your procedure. You may experience soreness, bruising, numbness and swelling in your abdomen for several weeks. These issues may persist for a few months, depending on how quickly your body heals normally. Partially sitting up while you sleep and placing a pillow under your knees may ease the discomfort.

According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, it may be possible to return to work within one to three weeks. If you have a physically demanding job, you may need to wait a month or so. You may resume normal activities within a couple weeks. Strenuous activity should be avoided for six weeks. If you follow these guidelines and have no complications, you can expect to be fully recuperated within several months.

How Can You Encourage Faster Healing?

Although the recovery from a tummy tuck depends on a variety of factors, there are things you can do to speed up your healing. The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery suggests that abdominoplasty patients avoid bending, heavy lifting or straining immediately following the surgery. Your surgeon may also instruct you to move around several times a day in order to improve circulation. You should avoid standing upright for approximately one week following the procedure to prevent strain on your abdomen.

You can also accelerate your healing by regularly massaging your abdominal area. With your doctor’s permission, use a cold compress as well. Follow any instructions regarding a compression garment. Wearing a compression bandage is an important step in the healing process because it will help your abdomen reshape properly. It will also compress the tissues so your skin forms to the new outline of your abdomen.

It’s a good idea to slowly increase your physical activities. Return to your normal routine gradually. Get plenty of rest, but do not sit for long periods of time within the first few days. You should also stay hydrated during your recuperation, and maintain a balanced, healthy, low-sodium diet. If you follow these recommendations, you can substantially shorten your tummy tuck recovery period.



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