Tummy tuck recovery timeline

A tummy tuck procedure gives you a firm, flat abdomen particularly when exercise and diet are not helping. Because your plastic surgeon will customize this procedure to your individual needs, it is possible to achieve the specific aesthetic contour that you are looking for. Recovery is one of the most important considerations Phoenix tummy tuck candidates worry about.

Abdominoplasty timeline 

Knowing what to expect can actually go a long way to ensure that everything goes according to plan during recovery.

→ 24 hours before the surgery

While your focus is on recovery, it is important to know how you can get your tummy tuck preparation check list right before the procedure. Having a calm demeanor can go a long way to ensure that you receive the procedure well. Make sure to buy prescription medication and confirm the time of the surgery a day before.

→ Night before the procedure

Your surgeon will ask that you do not eat or drink anything at least 12 hours before the procedure. So make sure you take a shower and go to bed early. You want to be well-rested and relaxed on the day of the procedure.

→ During the surgery

A tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that is typically conducted under general or local anesthesia. Most patients are able to go home on the same day right after they recover from the immediate effects of anesthesia. Keep in mind that you will need someone to drive you home.

→ 24 hours after the procedure

It is important that you rest as much as possible over the first 24 hours following abdominoplasty. Your body needs to regain its strength and recover from the resulting trauma. You may be encouraged to take a light walk around the house as soon as you are able to in order to improve circulation and prevent the formation of blood clots.

→ 1 week after surgery

Within the first 1 week following abdominoplasty, most patients tend to experience pain, bruising, and swelling. The pain medication that your doctor prescribed to you should help alleviate this discomfort. You will notice gradual improvement every other day. After about a week, you may be ready to have bandages removed – depending on how well your recovery is going. A follow-up appointment is scheduled around this time. Even if your bandages are removed, you will still need to wear a compression garment in order to improve blood flow and protect the treatment area.

→ 2 months after the procedure

Most patients find that they still have swelling about a month after surgery. However, this should be gone within 2 months. Incisions should also be well healed by the second month. Scarring resulting from the incision site should remain red or purple in color at this point. Make sure to adhere to your surgeon’s scar care instructions in order to minimize its appearance.

You should be able to engage in light activities within 2 months following your tummy tuck procedure. Ask your surgeon what is allowed and wait until you get a green light before you can engage in strenuous exercise and activities.

→ 6 months after abdominoplasty

In about 6 months, most tummy tuck patients are enjoying the outcome of their procedure. The swelling has completely stopped at this time, and there’s no pain or discomfort whatsoever. Although scarring may have faded significantly, it will still be there. Applying silicone sheeting and gel products can help reduce the appearance of visible tummy tuck scarring.

While a tummy tuck delivers a permanent result, you still need to make an effort in order to maintain your newfound abdominal profile. Any dramatic weight gain or loss may negatively impact the outcome of your procedure. Make sure that you maintain a stable weight so you can enjoy your tummy tuck for years.

Tummy tuck recovery FAQs

Where is a tummy tuck scar located?

Just like any other surgery, a tummy tuck entails making an incision on your skin, which results in scarring. The type and extent of scarring that you experience following this procedure will depend on the surgical technique used, the amount of skin that is removed, and your body’s unique ability to heal. Most experienced surgeons leverage advanced surgical techniques to achieve the desired outcome while minimizing scarring. Your surgeon will also try to hide the scarring where it can be covered by a standard bikini. Also, make sure to use silicone sheeting and other scar care methods specified to you by your surgeon following this procedure.

When can I return to work after abdominoplasty?

Because abdominoplasty is an invasive surgical procedure, it takes a long time before you can heal completely. Your surgeon will provide a compression garment that helps improve blood flow and speed up the healing process. It is important that you wear this garment over the first 3 weeks, or for as long as required. If everything goes well during recovery, you should be able to return to light work within 2 weeks. Some patients can take as many as 6 weeks depending on their recovery progress.

How can I minimize the risk of complications

Complications can happen after any surgical procedure. Your surgeon will provide precise instructions on how to care for the wound in order to avoid an infection. You will also be asked to avoid lifting any heavy objects or engaging in any activity that can open up the skin along the incision lines. In some cases – where expansive surgery is required to achieve the patient’s cosmetic desires – the surgeon may recommend that you undergo two different procedures in stages. This can help reduce the strain on your body and make sure that everything runs smoothly.