How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Tummy Tuck Surgery?

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Tummy Tuck Surgery?

A tummy tuck—or abdominoplasty—is a cosmetic surgery that effectively addresses problems of excess fat or sagging skin in the abdomen. Of course, it can also greatly enhance one’s body image. Before you get the surgical procedure, though, it’s important to consider the recovery process. One of the most common questions regarding abdominoplasties is, How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck surgery?

On average, most patients take about six to eight weeks for the body to heal from a tummy tuck. The exact tummy tuck recovery time and conditions depend on the patient’s health, age, body weight, and tummy tuck type. Read on for more.

How Do Tummy Tucks Work?

Between the pubic region and your belly button, the surgeon will make a thin horizontal incision for a tummy tuck. This is done to get rid of excess skin and extra fat from your abdomen.

It also creates a slimmer appearance by tightening tissues beneath the skin. Depending on the scale of the procedure, your belly button may be repositioned.

The surgery might take up to 3 hours, but once again, the duration depends on the type of tummy tuck you’re getting and your overall constitution.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

As we’ve said before, there is no one set timeline for tummy tuck recovery. It depends upon the specific patient. The general time frame is between 6 and 8 weeks.

Your surgeon will discuss the exact timeline with you after the surgery, but it depends upon the following factors:

  • Age
  • Type of tummy tuck
  • General health condition
  • Post-surgery care

How The Type of Tuck Affects Recovery Time

There are three main types of a tummy tuck: an extended tummy tuck, or full tummy tuck, or a mini tuck. In the case of a mini tummy tuck, only a small part of the lower abdominal area is focused on during the procedure.

The recovery will take longer the more extensive your abdominal contouring is. And it goes without saying that a full tummy tuck takes longer to recover from than a mini tuck; this is especially true if your lower back, flanks, or lower chest are also worked upon during the procedure.

What Comes After The Surgery

Here’s what to expect after you get your tummy tuck.

The Day after The Tummy Tuck

Almost right after your tummy tuck concludes, you should obviously expect to experience some discomfort. Your surgeon will provide you with pain medication and medicines to prevent inflammation.

You need to be aware that you will be given drains that will be collecting additional fluid and also work on swelling and hasten the recovery process. The drains are left in for a few days following a tummy tuck and must be emptied and maintained by you (don’t worry, you’ll be shown how to do it!).

While your drains are in place, you will probably be prescribed anticoagulants and antibiotics to smoothen the recovery.

It is recommended that a family member or friend accompanies you home from the hospital after the surgery and stays by your side for the first tummy tuck recovery week.

Do note that you cannot shower for up to 48 hours after the surgery, as getting the surgical dressing wet is harmful to the incision. Sponge baths are allowed; however, you may have to shower while sitting in a chair for the first couple of weeks after your tummy tuck procedure.

What to Ask Your Doctor

Plastic surgeons give full instructions on wound care and drainage maintenance following a surgery. But just so you’re prepared, here’s a checklist of information you should know for your tummy tuck recovery:

  • caring for incisions and drain tubes
  • how to avoid infection
  • when to see your plastic surgeon again
  • what physical activity to avoid
  • how much rest is required
  • your diet
  • how long must the abdominal binder, or abdominal support garment, be worn

Wearing an abdominal binder is an important part of your healing process. A binder keeps fluid buildup at bay and helps to bring your abdomen into the desired shape. On average, the compression garment must be worn for about 6 weeks after the plastic surgery until you can resume normal activities.


Check out our full line of Tummy Tuck Recovery Compression Garments here!


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6 Weeks after The Tummy Tuck

It will require at least six weeks for tummy tuck results to start settling in. You might notice that swelling lasting for many weeks, but don’t worry. Most patients make a full recovery within three months.

It’s important to follow your surgeon’s recommendations while healing from this cosmetic procedure. Follow-up care is also important, so make sure to schedule appointments to help your surgeon monitor your progress and register any concerns.

Post-Tummy Tuck Guide

Note the following guidelines to help your body make a quicker and easier recovery from your tummy tuck:

Avoid Alcohol And Nicotine

You should avoid drinking alcohol if you’re taking pain medications after a tummy tuck plastic surgery, as it can cause unwanted reactions in your body. You should also not smoke cigarettes or consume nicotine in any other way for at least 6 weeks.

The healing process may be hindered, or complications may be created if you smoke. It’s also very important to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water during this time.

Engage in Light Exercise

You will feel sore up to a week after your tummy tuck procedure. Strenuous exercise, such as heavy lifting and working out, should be avoided for about six weeks. Vigorous exercise can tear or otherwise harm the incision site.

However, although limited mobility is required for several weeks, light walking within the first week can get the blood flowing to the site of the incision, promote healing, and speed up the recovery period.

Take Care of the Incision Site

In order to help your incision heal faster, you should take care to be as gentle as possible with the sutures. Avoid wearing clothing or undergarments which put pressure on your lower abdomen.

Doctors recommend that you utilize Lipo Foam Sheets in addition to your Abdominal Binder and Compression Garment. Lipo Foam gives uniform compression over a suctioned area.

Worn between your garment or binder and your skin, the Lipo Foam will ensure that you are not getting any indents in your skin and that the brusing and swelling is better dispersed.

A cool compress of Gel Pack can be used to reduce inflammation and give pain relief.

Final Words

Collaborate with your plastic surgeon and surgical team to determine how to prepare for a seamless, uncomplicated tummy tuck recovery process.

Establish a time frame in which to take a break of a few weeks from work, school, or other responsibilities, as you need to give your body the time and space to recover properly.

Remember, you will likely require assistance for several days following the procedure. Good luck!

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