How Long Is Tummy Tuck Recovery?


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There is no doubt that tummy tuck is a popular surgery now. But interestingly, despite this popularity, many people still don’t know what to expect during recovery. And although this information is available on the internet, most articles don’t give a weekly highlight of the recovery process.

After reading this piece, you will have more insight into the abdominoplasty recovery time broken down into weeks.

The blog further describes healing and what you can do during every recovery stage.

The First Recovery Week

Most tummy tuck patients find the first week of recovery the most uncomfortable. Your abdomen can be swollen, sore, or bruised. Ice packs and compression garments can help reduce this swelling. But your top abdominoplasty surgeon in Pasadena, CA, will prescribe pain medication to help with soreness and pain during recovery.

Remember to take your pain medication promptly to help take the edge off before the situation worsens. In fact, sticking to your schedule will help you end up taking significantly less medication.

In addition, you will want to stick to a strict antibiotic schedule. This includes completing the regimen to help your body’s natural immune defenses keep you free from infections.

Your surgeon will bandage your abdomen post-surgery, meaning you will begin using a compression garment. An abdominal binder, for instance, will help prevent blood clot formation while reducing swelling. Change the bandages and carefully clean the areas every day.

The Second Recovery Week

By the second recovery week, the pain should begin subsiding. Also, any bruising should start to fade. You should also notice any swelling beginning to go down. This period is critical for you to continue following your doctor’s instructions concerning antibiotics and pain medication. Be sure to stick to light activities only.

Stitches are usually removed at this point. But that often depends on the speed of your recovery and your surgery’s details. Continue changing your bandages and cleaning the incision as instructed. Plus, keep wearing your compression garments throughout your recovery duration.

Your second week of recovery can encourage you to start taking light walks. This way, you can prevent blood clots from forming and keep your overall blood circulation at its optimum. While some tummy tuck patients may even be able to return to work after 10 to 14 days, they should still avoid any strenuous activity.

The Third and Fourth Recovery Week

Most abdominoplasty patients feel pretty much back to normal by their third or fourth week of recovery. So, it is usually harmless to begin a light exercise routine at this stage. But here is the thing! Even if you feel you have fully recovered, you must put off weight lifting, sit-ups, or other overly strenuous exercises for a few more weeks (at least six to eight weeks, or until you have been cleared by your plastic surgeon).

Six Weeks and Beyond

By six weeks into recovery, the swelling, bruising, and pain should have disappeared.

Your abdominoplasty surgeon might advise you to stop wearing your compression garment. At this point, you can also return to your normal daily activities.

It is usually common to experience numbness in the months following abdominoplasty. Sometimes this numbness can take up to two years to fade completely. Additionally, you might experience occasional swelling for months after the surgery.

Shapewear, which offers some compression, is among the best ways to alleviate these ongoing symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dos and don’ts after a tummy tuck?

  • Have realistic expectations and goals throughout your abdominoplasty journey.
  • Follow your provider’s instructions.
  • Be careful in your movements.
  • Don’t be inactive.
  • Don’t take recreational drugs! Don’t smoke or drink alcohol. All of these can interfere with recovery.
  • Don’t be shy to ask your tummy tuck surgeon questions regarding your healing.

Can I bend over after abdominoplasty?

It’s best for tummy tuck patients to try and walk normally because it is comfortable. A slight hunch shouldn’t worry you much because you will straighten up over time. However, hunching all the time is discouraged.

What will happen two weeks after abdominoplasty?

You might still see swelling around the treatment area by the second week. Luckily, you will notice that the feeling of tightness, pain, and bruising start to ease. At this stage, you should continue wearing your compression garments.

What happens if I don’t wear a compression garment?

Compression garments are designed to support the patient’s stomach while inflamed, thus assisting in recovery. You should wear a compression garment 23 hours a day and only remove it for showering or cleaning the garment.

Failure to wear it as per the instructions following the tummy tuck procedure risks seroma formation. It also risks increased bruising and swelling, splitting of sutures, etc.

What are the common restrictions after a tummy tuck?

Some common restrictions accompanying a tummy tuck include the following;

  • Get rest for approximately two to three weeks by staying at home
  • Avoid swimming, driving, and other strenuous physical activities until you receive a green light from your doctor
  • Avoid heavy lifting during your recovery

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