Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline & Tips

Woman resting on couch during tummy tuck recovery

Tummy tucks can transform the body by removing loose, saggy skin and excess fat. This surgery also requires a longer recovery time than many other procedures, so it’s helpful to know a few tips and tricks to make your recovery go as smoothly as possible. 

A little bit of prep and planning can go a long way after your tummy tuck. To better prepare for your post-op journey, here is an outline of what you can expect during tummy tuck recovery.

How does a tummy tuck work? 

A tummy tuck tones the midsection by removing saggy skin. (If you have stubborn pockets of fat, you may want to combine your procedure with liposuction.) Your surgeon makes a low, hip-to-hip incision, removes excess tissue and repairs weakened abdominal muscles. After surgery, the doctor may insert small drains to prevent post-op fluid buildup. 

Our patient before and after photos show the types of results a tummy tuck produces, and you can learn more about what a tummy tuck can do in our related blog post.

Tummy Tuck Before & After Photo | Idaho Falls, ID | Dr. Mark Freeman
Before & After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck Before & After Photo | Idaho Falls, ID | Dr. Mark Freeman
Before & After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck Before & After Photo | Idaho Falls, ID | Dr. Mark Freeman
Before & After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

  • After surgery: Drains and bandages are put into place along the surgery site. Medication is offered to the patient to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible.
  • 1 week: During a follow-up consultation, your doctor will measure your drains’ fluid levels and see how your recovery is progressing. If fluid levels are low, you can remove the drains. Many patients also return to work at this time.
  • 3 weeks: Sutures along the midsection can be removed. Light walking can help with healing and keep your blood circulating well.
  • 6 weeks: Abdominal binders can be removed, and swelling should lessen.
  • 8 weeks: After about two months, recovery is typically complete. Heavy lifting or vigorous exercise can be resumed.

The Aesthetic Society offers more information about what to expect during recovery.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

  • Let yourself rest: Take your pain medications and get plenty of sleep after surgery. Sleeping on an incline can support your midsection and help you feel more comfortable. Be sure to follow any specific post-op instructions given by your doctor. 
  • Listen to your body: Gentle movement can help blood flow, but don’t push yourself too hard. Also, avoid substances such as alcohol and nicotine. If anything feels unusual, don’t be afraid to contact your surgeon and ask for advice.
  • Have a support system: Your movement will be limited after surgery, so have friends or family help you with everyday tasks such as cooking or child care. Prepare meals or ride shares ahead of time so you have fewer details to worry about as you recover.

By giving your body the proper support and rest after surgery, your recovery process can go as smoothly as possible. Browse our additional tummy tuck before-and-after pictures to see examples of real patient results. If you would like to learn more about your tummy tuck options in the Jackson Hole area, request a consultation online or call (208) 881-5351.

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