6 Practical Tips For Faster Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


6 Practical Tips For Faster Tummy Tuck Recovery

A tummy tuck is a transformative cosmetic surgery that Dr. LaBarbera performs in Phoenix AZ. It tightens loose skin and muscle in the belly, as well as removes excess fat to give you a firmer, attractive abdominal contour. The better prepared you are for this procedure, the easier your recovery will be. Knowing what to expect from the procedure and making plans in advance goes a long way to ensure that you have an excellent procedure outcome.

Here are 6 tummy tuck recovery tips and hints that will help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. 

1. Take time off work

Immediately after the procedure, you will need time to yourself. Surgery is traumatic in nature and you need to hunker down for a couple of weeks while your body rebuilds its strength. This is not the time to juggle between work emails and phone calls. If you return to work too soon, you can place excess skin on the body and even cause injury. Dr. LaBarbera recommends that you take at least 2-3 weeks off. This allows your body to recover properly so that when you finally get back to work, you will be able to meet your workplace demands.

2. Listen to your surgeon

Paying attention to your plastic surgeon is definitely one of the best tips for tummy tuck recovery you’ll hear anywhere. Your surgeon knows what is best for proper healing and to ensure a favorable outcome after the procedure. They will provide precise instructions on how to care for your incision sites, when to take a shower, and how to sleep/rest. The surgeon will ask you to wear thigh-high compression stockings in order to reduce the risk of blood clots. While these may not be so comfortable, they are essential to keep the swelling out of the legs and lower the risk of dangerous blood clots. Whatever your doctor tells you to do, make sure to follow it to the letter. Dr. LaBarbera’s – and many other plastic surgeons for that matter – have their office available to provide support and guidance throughout your tummy tuck recovery period. So if you have any questions or need clarification with anything, don’t hesitate to call.

3. Avoid smoking and drinking

After tummy tuck surgery, it is important that you avoid smoking. Smoking has been known to limit blood flow and can trigger various health complications, particularly after surgery. Smoking makes recovery harder by affecting your blood pressure, stressing out your heart, reducing oxygen supply to body tissues that are recovering, and damaging your lungs. Alcohol should be avoided during tummy tuck recovery because it can mix with painkillers and result in a dangerous outcome, or put you at risk of injuring your wounds or over-exerting yourself. Gilbert AZ plastic surgeon Dr. LaBarbera recommends that you quit smoking and drinking at least 3 weeks before and after abdominoplasty surgery.

4. Prevent constipation

Before the surgery, your surgeon may have told you about constipation that can be triggered by pain medication. In many cases, you will be prescribed an over-the-counter stool softener in order to prevent constipation after your surgery. Outside of that, there’s nothing more the plastic surgeon can do to help you with this. It is up to you to consume foods that do not cause constipation and additional pain after your tummy tuck. A few examples of constipation-causing foods that you should stay away from include gluten-containing foods (e.g. wheat, rye, kamut, and spelt), processed daily, red meat, milk, and dairy products, fried or fast foods, and persimmons. This healthline.com list contains examples of foods that can help constipation.

5. Take medications

Taking prescribed medication is another important tip for tummy tuck recovery. Your doctor will prescribe narcotic pain medication and muscle relaxants to help you throughout the recovery journey. These reduce pain and ease discomfort so you have an easier time recovering from your abdominoplasty – particularly over the first few days. You will likely also be asked to take an antibiotic in order to prevent infections during the recovery period. Make sure to adhere to your surgeon’s specific instructions when it comes to medication.

6. Attend post-op appointments

It is not uncommon to feel the urge to skip post-op appointments, particularly when they think they are making tremendous progress in their recovery. It is important that you attend all scheduled post-operative visits with your plastic surgeon. These follow-up appointments are important so the surgeon can monitor your progress and watch out for any complications. Keep in mind that your recovery ends only when your doctor says it has.


Following these easy tummy tuck recovery tips will go a long way to make sure that your recovery time is uninterrupted. Should you notice anything unusual or experience extreme discomfort during your tummy tuck recovery, make sure to get in touch with your doctor right away.

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