Recovery After a Tummy Tuck Procedure

Tummy Tuck Columbia, MD

As with any surgical procedure, the recovery period of a tummy tuck is crucial to its success. The key to a successful recovery is knowing what to expect so you can prepare ahead of time. Understanding what to expect can help ensure a smooth recovery.

What to expect: a timeline

It is important to note that recovery timelines vary by patient, and the following is only a general guideline. Each patient will receive instructions specific to their procedure, and there are several different types of tummy tuck procedures. Recovery times rely on several factors, including the type of procedure, the patient's age, general health, and body weight.

A complete recovery can take as long as six months. However, the typical patient can return to work around two weeks post-procedure. More strenuous activities like workout routines can usually resume about a month post-procedure.

Day of the procedure

The typical patient can leave an hour after coming out of anesthesia, and an overnight stay is usually unnecessary. The patient's abdomen will be covered in a surgical dressing, and small tubes may be around the incision for fluid drainage. The patient will receive medication to help manage any discomfort. Patients should arrange to have a friend drive them home and help them out for the first few days after surgery.

The patient will receive recovery instructions specific to them. These will include incision care instructions, activities and foods to avoid, and complications to watch for. The patient will leave with an abdominal support garment, prescriptions for necessary medications such as antibiotics, painkillers, and topicals, and a date for a follow-up appointment.

First two weeks

The patient must take at least the first couple days after surgery off work (about two weeks) and enlist the help of a friend to assist with things around the house. The bulk of the swelling and discomfort may occur during this period. Painkillers and other medications will help with this, as will the abdominal support garment. Therefore, wear the support garment for the recommended time each day. The patient will likely need to sleep on an incline during this period to help reduce strain on the abdomen.

Though the patient should avoid driving and strenuous activities during this period, some light movement can help with circulation. A patient should wait at least 48 hours before showering and stick to sponge baths instead. Review the list of things to avoid during this period, which will likely include aspirin, alcohol, and smoking. Instead, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rest.

After the initial recovery period

From weeks 3 to 4, most patients can start to ease back into most of their regular activities (excluding certain strenuous activities). However, the rate at which this happens will vary, and patients should consult their provider for specific advice. All patients should continue to take medications and wear support garments as directed, as well as stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, and avoid smoking and alcohol.

When to call a doctor

Complications are rare but can happen, so it is important to be aware. During healing, patients should call their doctor when experiencing the following:

  • Increasing pain despite medication
  • Loose stitches or opening incision
  • Fever
  • Signs of infection
  • Excessing bleeding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat

Most of the discomfort, swelling, and bruising should subside within the first week or so after surgery. However, it can take up to three months for the swelling to completely subside and longer for the scar to fade.

Tips for an easy recovery

In addition to staying hydrated, resting, and following the doctor's instructions, patients can take a few simple steps to support their recovery. Having one's home set up for the initial recovery period is a good start. Along with stocking the house with the food they will need, patients should set up their recovery space with pillows, blankets, books, and other items to keep them comfortable while relaxing. Patients should ask their surgeon to recommend topicals and oral supplements that support healing. Vitamin A and C supplements and probiotics are often suggested. Above all, do not rush; everyone recovers at their own pace.

Supporting a successful recovery

Anticipating any surgical procedure can cause anxiety, but being prepared helps ease nerves. {{DBA}} wants to ensure all our patients have what they need to make their procedure successful. Call our team today for more information on tummy tuck aftercare.

Request an appointment here: or call Spectra Core Health LLC at (240) 330-1815 for an appointment in our Columbia office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Tummy Tuck in Columbia, MD.

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