What is the recovery process of an Abdominoplasty?

A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a popular cosmetic surgery procedure that can be done for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, tummy tucks are a safe and effective way to achieve the look that you want. Before choosing to undergo a tummy tuck, it is important to consider the tummy tuck recovery process. There will be pain, bruising and swelling. But because of the innovative surgical techniques employed by the SixSurgery Surgeons, your pain will be controlled with prescription medication.

After the first two days you will notice a dramatic difference in how you feel. You will be required to refrain from strenuous activity following your surgery from four to six weeks.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Is Different For Everyone

Recovery from a tummy tuck surgery is different for everyone, based on individual factors such as age, general health, type of tummy tuck (extended or mini), and post-surgery care. After your surgery, your surgeon will discuss your specific road to healing – but typically patients see results and feel mostly recovered about eight weeks later. 

You'll likely need to take it easy at first and avoid strenuous activities that could put additional stress on your incisions. But as long as you follow your surgeon's instructions and take the appropriate precautions, you'll be on your way to a speedy and successful recovery!

What To Expect After Your Surgery

The tummy tuck recovery process can seem daunting, but with the right precautions, your healthcare provider will help make the process as smooth as possible. Your surgeon or nurse will properly brief you about how to recover at home, and they'll be available to answer any questions you may have along the way. 

Here are some of the things you’ll likely hear:

  • Care of incisions and drain tubes (unless you have a drain-free tummy tuck)
  • How much to rest
  • Avoiding infection
  • Physical activity limits

Timeline For Recovery

There are a variety of abdominoplasty and tummy tuck procedures available, and each one has a slightly different recovery time. Your treatment plan is determined by the level of correction needed to meet your desired end results. 

From minimally invasive procedures like laser-assisted liposuction to more extensive surgery like a full stomach or abdominoplasty, each has its own unique tummy tuck recovery process. Here is a rough guideline to what you can expect post-op:

  • The Day After – After you have surgery, your abdomen will be secured with an abdominal binder. This will keep your abdominal area stable and reduce the risk of movement. Afterward, a compression garment will be placed over the binder which will help to reduce swelling and fluid accumulation. Finally, small tubes around the surgical areas will be inserted to help drain any accumulated fluid.
  • 1 Week After Surgery – Following surgery, you'll be limited in your mobility for a few days. That's why it's so important to have someone around who can help with your recovery. You'll still likely need to take it easy and avoid strenuous activities at this time. There will be some pain and tenderness at the site and most surgeons will prescribe antibiotics and anticoagulants for patients to take. An abdominal support garment will also help with swelling and discomfort.


  • 1-3 Months After Surgery – Congratulations! You successfully completed your surgery and the wound is now mostly healed. However, as with any surgery, there is a chance that the scar will still appear red and raised. This will eventually become flat and fade.

Many people will also experience some swelling and bruising in the months following surgery. This is completely normal and should go away over time. If you experience any swelling that is severe, red or lasts more than a few days, please contact your surgeon.

  • 6 Months After Surgery – Healing from abdominoplasty should be complete and your results should be visible. Although the final result will never look exactly like you had hoped, your abdomen should be nearly healed and the inflammation gone – leaving you with a barely-visible scar hidden beneath your underwear line.

Tips For A Speedy Recovery

It is important to take your tummy tuck recovery process seriously and to make yourself as healthy as possible during this time. Make sure you set up a comfortable space where you can relax and have your needs met. Allow yourself to rest fully and don't push yourself to do anything physically before you're ready. Aside from following your surgeon’s guidelines, here are a few tips to make sure your healing process goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible:

  • Drink plenty of water to flush toxins
  • Eat a healthy diet to minimize inflammation
  • Take your vitamins to replace what you’re not getting through your diet
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid strenuous activities for 2-4 weeks

In The End…

Healing from a tummy tuck is a process that takes time and patience. However, with the right planning, you can make it happen. Just make sure to allow enough time for your body to heal properly – it can take up to six months for some people. 

And remember that even though the process may seem slow at first, it will eventually lead you to your ultimate goal of full recovery.


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