Tummy Tuck Recovery: Timeline, Tips, and More

Recovery is different for everyone

If you’re considering having a tummy tuck or have one planned, it’s important to consider what the recovery will involve. Your recuperation will depend on several factors, including your age, health, and body weight. It will also depend on the type of tummy tuck you have. It’s natural to want to bounce back to normal after your surgery, but it’s important that you give your body time to heal. You may only need to stay in the hospital for a few hours after the surgery, or your surgeon may have you stay for one night or longer. And once you leave the hospital, the real recovery begins. Here’s what you need to know.

Timeline for recovery

You’ll want to figure out a time frame for your recovery so you have ample time to heal and can take a break from certain aspects of your life. Make sure you make the proper arrangements and are fully prepared for your recovery period.

Your drains will be left in for a few days after the surgery. You’ll be shown how to take care of and empty the drains. You’ll likely need to take an antibiotic and an anticoagulant while your drains are in place.

You’ll wear an abdominal binder for about six weeks. This helps to avoid fluid buildup and helps to support your abdomen. While the recovery period is usually shorter for a mini-tummy tuck, you’ll still need to avoid strenuous activity for at least six weeks. This includes any vigorous exercise or heavy lifting.

What to expect after your surgery

Your surgeon or nurse will properly brief you about how to recover at home.

You will be told:

  • How to care for incisions and drain tubes
  • What to be aware of in terms of infection or overall health
  • What to avoid in terms of physical activity that affects your incision line for six weeks
  • When you need to see your plastic surgeon again
  • How long to wear the abdominal pressure garment
  • How much to rest
  • What you can eat
  • You’ll need to have someone who help take care of you for at least the first few days after your surgery. You can shower 48 hours after you remove your drainage tubes. You may want to take a sponge bath until you can shower. You may be advised to use a chair when showering for some time.
  • You’ll be prescribed an antibiotic and possibly an anticoagulant. You may be given some type of medication to apply to the skin. Take any pain medication as directed. You shouldn’t take any medicine containing aspirin unless directed by your doctor.
  • You should also avoid alcohol if you’re taking pain medication, and avoid any form of nicotine for at least six weeks. Smoking can hinder the healing process and may cause complications.

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