Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
A flat, toned midsection is an aesthetic ideal that many people strive to achieve. Unfortunately, even with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine, many find that this goal is unattainable. Stubborn fat deposits, excess skin, and/or stretched abdominal muscles can leave individuals with a rounder, softer stomach that may not match other areas of their body.
Tummy tuck surgery eliminates excess tissues and tightens abdominal muscles to give patients the firmer midsection they desire. Here, plastic surgeon Steven Wiener goes over the tummy tuck recovery timeline that patients can expect following treatment at his Scottsdale, AZ, practice.
Immediately Following Surgery
Tummy tuck surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients will return home the day of treatment, following a recovery period at the hospital. When patients return home they will have mesh surgical dressing over the incision site, surgical drain tubes extending from the incision, and a binding garment around the midsection.
Before being sent home, patients will be provided detailed instructions regarding wound and surgical drain care. Most patients are extremely fatigued following surgery, and may still be experiencing some effects of anesthesia. For this reason, they will need a friend or family member to drive them home. It is also a good idea for patients to ask that person to listen in on post-surgical care instructions, and stay to provide assistance during at least the first 24 hours of recovery.
First Few Days of Tummy Tuck Recovery
The first few days of tummy tuck recovery tend to be the most difficult for our Scottsdale patients. Once the anesthesia has worn off, discomfort will set in. Mobility will also be limited, and most will not be able to stand up straight at this time. Other side effects of early tummy tuck recovery include bruising and inflammation.
To alleviate tummy tuck side effects patients can take over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication. Antibiotics will also be prescribed to limit the risk of infection. Cold compresses or ice packs can assist with bruising and inflammation. Although mobility will be limited, it is important that patients move around as much as possible during this early stage of recovery, aiming to take several short walks around the house throughout the day.
One to Two Weeks Post-surgery
Within one to two weeks after tummy tuck surgery, most side effects will have begun to dissipate. As comfort and mobility are restored, patients are encouraged to continue moving and extend the length of their walks. More strenuous activities should still be avoided.
Around this time, patients will return for a post-surgical care visit. If the incision site has healed enough, bandages and drainage tubes will be removed during this appointment. Compression garments should still be worn as directed to assist with inflammation. As swelling improves patients should begin to see a change in the tone and contour of their stomach.
If patients have a sedentary job they should be able to return to work within a week or two following their procedure. If a job requires activities like bending or lifting they will likely need additional time off.
One to Three Months Post-surgery
Around six weeks post-surgery, most of our Scottsdale patients are cleared to resume all activities, including aerobic exercise and weight lifting. The incision site should be healed, though it may still appear red and raised. Over time it will continue to lighten and soften. As inflammation dissipates the full effects of surgery will become apparent. Between one and three months after a tummy tuck the stomach should appear flat and toned.
Contact Our Practice
If you are considering tummy tuck surgery and have questions about the recovery that will follow, Dr. Steven Wiener would be happy to provide you with answers. Send us a message online at your earliest convenience, or call (480) 596-6886 to schedule a consultation.