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Tummy Tuck Recovery Week by Week
Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Recovery Week by Week

Written by
Juli Albright
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.
Juli is our patient advocate and community connection. She balances work, life and family with grace.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Week by Week

A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty can be intimidating to many people as they do not know what to expect with recovery. With all the unknowns and social media stories, many women know they need a tummy tuck to meet their goals but are unsure exactly what is involved. Read the post for a week by week guide on what to expect!

Day After Surgery

Congratulations you made it! In most cases, patient are well medicated and pain is minimal from the surgery as the effects of the anesthesia is still wearing off. Moving will be difficult and cause discomfort. We recommend for patients to be in a wheel chair or assisted whenever walking for the first few days. Typically you will meet with your surgeon or nurse the day after surgery to review proper post-operative care for the next week. They should show you how to take care of the drains (if applicable) and how to properly wear your post-operative compression garments. It is critical you follow all instructions to ensure the best possible recovery and outcome.

Week 1

This is by far the longest week of recovery. It is best to rest and catch up on any tv shows or movies and REST!!! Set yourself up for success by having someone there to help you and take care of ALL the household chores and childcare. This will not only help you heal more quickly but ensure no complications so you can have the best and easiest recovery.

These are the quick tips for the first week:

  • Plan to be fairly immobile the first week except going to your post-operative appointments, going to the bathroom, and showering.
  • For most patients, they will have one or two drains. Drains direct excess fluid (a normal part of your body healing) away from the incision and out of the body.
  • Bandages on the incision site should be kept clean and gently cleaned every other day following surgery.
  • A post-operative compression garment should be worn 24-7 after surgery. It is critical to minimize swelling and ensure fluid is draining properly away from the operative sites.
  • Patients can take a shower a day or two after surgery. We recommend having someone readily available in case you experience any light headedness in the shower and need assistance.

Week 2

Mostly for week 2 you will start to feel better and it will become easier to move around. As far as restrictions, however, you will continue with the same routine as Week 1. This means only walking to the bathroom or kitchen as needed and still having a caretaker help with household chores, children, and meals. This is still a critical period in your recovery. During this time, you will notice the incision closing?

Week 3

Congratulations you made it through the first two weeks! You should start to see everything healing and most importantly you should feel much better. Typically you are able to slowly start standing upright and resuming your normal activities. Drains are typically all removed by now. If you have a desk job, patients may consider returning back to work. We do recommend taking some half days to slowly ease back into work. Bruising should almost be gone now. Swelling will be a good indicator if you are resting enough or not. If you overdo it, patients tend to swell more and should dial back their activity level. 

Week 4

Almost there! This is typically the last week you are wearing a post-operative compression garment and not exercising. Typically most patients are starting to see the results and most importantly are feeling much better. This is the time to maintain a healthy diet and keep following your plastic surgeon's post-operative instructions.

Week 5

You made it!!!! Most likely the first four weeks were challenging but now is the time to start shopping for new clothes to fit your new body. In most cases, your plastic surgeon will still recommend wearing some type of Spanx to maintain your body shape and provide a little extra support as your body is still healing.

Week 6

In most cases you are free to resume exercises. We caution patients to take it slowly and gradually work your way up. For patients with rectus plication, no ab exercises, intense cardio or heavy lower body weights until 3 months after surgery.

3 Months

At this time, most plastic surgeons will clear you for all exercises and weights. Congratulations you are cleared to return to your normal life and routine.

3 Months -  6 Months

During this time, you should slowly see the scar start to heal and swelling slowly become a thing of the past. Where once your stomach was a point of concern hopefully now you are comfortable in a bathing suit!

6 Months -  12 Months

During this time, your scar should start to fade and lighten. At around 12 months, you should be fully healed but your scar will continue to lighten and fade for the rest of your life.

Interested in learning more? Contact Alamo Plastic Surgery, plastic surgery in San Antonio, TX.

Written by
Juli Albright

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