Tummy Tuck Recovery: What to Expect Following the Procedure

By Top.me

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Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery to reduce the size of the abdomen and make it firmer. It’s one of the most common procedures as more women and men undergo to enhance their looks. 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, abdominoplasty was among the top five cosmetic surgeries in 2018. If you intend to undergo this procedure, it’s sensible to understand what to expect.

The First Week of Recovery

The first week following a tummy tuck comes with the most discomfort for patients. While professionals do their best to minimize issues, you should expect some soreness, bruising, and swelling. Use ice packs to reduce the swelling and the prescribed medication to help with soreness during this period.

Your tummy tuck surgeon will prescribe you antibiotics to use during the initial recovery face. This prevents possible microbial attacks on the surgical sites. Ensure you follow the given instructions regarding dosage to avoid complications.

A close up image of a woman belly with excessive fat. She is pinching her fat belly with her fingers.

During this recovery phase, perform light activities to improve blood flow and speed up recovery. Avoid intense outdoor exercises, strenuous activities, and heavy lifting as these compromise your recovery. 

Other tips to consider during this recovery phase include:

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water. Your surgeon may advise you to take Pedialyte or Gatorade. Typically, dehydration causes you to feel ill, but you can overcome this by drinking water.
  • Proper nutrition: Incorporate a nutritious diet with vegetables, fruits, fiber, and lean protein. This speeds up wound healing and prevents constipation.
  • Pain management: Talk to your surgeon about managing pain and follow the instructions.

Sex After the Cosmetic Procedure

Most professionals recommend not having sex after tummy tuck surgery for at least two weeks — but maybe longer. Once you resume sexual activities, it’s best to do it appropriately to avoid possible complications.

You want positions that won’t stretch your abdominal muscles. During the consultation, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from your surgeon.


After tummy tuck surgery, you should follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions to care for the incision. You want to wear an abdominal binder underneath your clothes and over your bandage.

Keep the surgical sites clean and dry. Follow your provider’s wound care plan. Ask when you’re free to remove the bandages and when the appropriate time to resume showering is. 

Caring for the incision as instructed allows for faster recovery and minimizes infection risks.

Your surgeon may recommend using a patch or scar cream once the surgical site heals. Other precautions include avoiding direct sunlight exposure for some months.

Follow up After Tummy Tuck Surgery

During the recovery phase, you need follow-up appointments for your service provider to examine your wound and drain. After the inspection, your surgeon removes any non-absorbable stitches if the incision has healed as expected. Most patients don’t require additional surgeries after a tummy tuck or experience lasting complications.

Essential FAQs

What Does Tummy Tuck Entail?

While your surgeon tailors the procedure based on your needs, it involves the removal of excess fat and skin and tightens the abdominal muscles. The professional makes an incision on the lower abdomen. 

Expect the process to take two to four hours, depending on the work involved.

Will Experience Pain After the Surgery?

Following a tummy tuck surgery, expect mild to moderate pain. Your health provider offers medication to alleviate the pain.

Will I Have Visible Scars?

A skilled tummy tuck surgeon makes the incisions on the lower abdomen, reducing the visibility of your scars. You can conceal them with most clothing such as underwear varieties and swimsuits.

Is It Okay to Have Tummy Tuck Surgery Before Giving Birth?

Tummy tuck surgery has no significant risks associated with pregnancy, but experts recommend considering it once you finish having children. This ensures the results you achieve won’t get compromised due to body changes caused by pregnancy.

What Is Tummy Tuck Recovery Like?

A woman is pointing out to the scar at the bottom of her belly after the tummy tuck surgery

After the surgery, expect some swelling and bruising. For most patients, the symptoms subside within two weeks. Avoid strenuous exercises and heavy lifting for approximately six weeks to achieve better results. Light walking is okay to facilitate blood flow and faster recovery. The healing time frame depends on post-surgery care, tummy tuck type, and your health.

What Happens During the Tummy Tuck Consultation?

During the initial consultation, your surgeon will ask about your goals and evaluate whether you’re a good candidate for the surgery. This allows them to know your health situation and whether your goals are attainable. Ask them about complications, concerns, costs, and other essential questions.