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February 07, 2023


Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline: When Will You Be Back?

5 Minute Read: 

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is one of the most trusted and popular plastic surgery procedures available. In fact, whether as a standalone procedure or combined with other procedures (such as Mommy Makeover surgery), nearly 100,000 tummy tuck procedures were performed in 2020

This is due to the fact that a tummy tuck offers patients some of the most transformative plastic surgery results around while targeting one of the most notorious trouble spots: the abdomen. 

Woman lounging on a sofa at home.

A tummy tuck involves removing excess fat (often with liposuction surgery), tightening the abdominal muscles, and surgically removing excess and sagging skin in the midsection. 

However, because abdominoplasty is such an extensive procedure and addresses the core muscles, it requires a longer recovery period than many other cosmetic procedures

Whether you are just starting to think about having a tummy tuck or you are going in for your procedure tomorrow, it is helpful to know what to expect for your tummy tuck recovery period

Below, you will find information about tummy tuck recovery, from the night of your surgery to six weeks out.

The Night of Your Surgery

Immediately following your surgery, you can expect to feel groggy from the anesthesia. Your midsection will be wrapped in bandages, and you may have drainage tubes placed in your abdomen to help remove any fluids that accumulated in the area. Dr. Pincus also offers a drainless tummy tuck technique that eliminates the need for these drains (see below). 

It is important that you return home and settle yourself in your recovery area (bed or couch). This should be a comfortable area where all necessities (pillows, blankets, water, entertainment options, etc.) are within reach. You will need to limit movement and get plenty of rest.

Week 1 

The first week of recovery is often the most difficult for tummy tuck patients. This is because you will likely have significant swelling, bruising, and discomfort. 

It is necessary to take your prescribed medications and to limit any movement that places strain on your incisions. It is also recommended to rest and sleep in a reclined position. Additionally, you will be wearing a compression garment to help speed up your recovery. 

Strenuous activity, including driving, exercise, and lifting anything is strictly prohibited, so it is important that you have someone available to help you around the house.

Week 2 

You will start to feel a little better as you move into your second week of recovery; however, you will likely still feel extremely sore and tired. You should continue to refrain from strenuous activity; however, it is important that you begin to take short, slow walks a few times a day to help with blood circulation. You need to make sure that you are eating healthy foods and keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of water. 

Week 3 

By week three, you will still have some discomfort, but this should be handled with over-the-counter medications. You can begin to lengthen the distance of your walks and incorporate slight stretching into your daily routine, though you should refrain from any other form of exercise or strenuous activity, including sex. 

It is still important that you are resting as much as possible to allow your body to continue healing itself. 

Week 4 

Depending on the type of work you do, you should be able to return to work by the fourth week of recovery. You can expect to still feel tired, but the swelling and discomfort should be subsiding. Hydration and rest are still two of the most important aspects of your recovery. Make sure that you are listening to your body — if something causes you pain, then make sure to refrain from doing that.

Weeks 5 and 6

In weeks five and six, you should begin to feel back to normal. You can start to incorporate other types of exercise into your daily activities, including cycling, longer walks, yoga, and other low-impact cardio exercise; however, it is important to refrain from any strenuous activities, such as weightlifting and running, until Dr. Pincus clears you to do so. 

You can expect to still have some residual swelling and bruising, but these side effects should be dissipating. It is of the utmost importance that you notify Dr. Pincus if you have increased or prolonged pain in your midsection, both during and after your recovery. 

After two to three months, patients can consider themselves fully recovered. At this point, you can return to your normal, daily lives, including strenuous exercises and lifting objects. You can also look forward to showing off your new contoured midsection and feeling comfortable and confident with the way you look. 

How Does Recovery Differ With a No-Drain Tummy Tuck?

Dr. Pincus performs an advanced tummy tuck technique known as a drainless tummy tuck. While a drainless tummy tuck provides the same consistent and transformative results as the traditional method, it is performed in a way that eliminates the need for post-surgical drains. 

It does so by using an internal suturing technique that closes gaps beneath the skin that would potentially allow for fluid accumulation. Drainless tummy tucks not only prevent the need for post-surgical drains, which increases comfort and eliminates the hassle of emptying and monitoring them, but no-drain tummy tucks also result in a shorter recovery and reduced risk of complications (including less risk of infection).

Often, recovery time after a drainless tummy tuck lasts for about two to four weeks.

Want to Learn More About Tummy Tuck Surgery in Smithtown, NY?

If you have any questions about tummy tuck surgery, recovery from tummy tuck surgery, or any of the other procedures Dr. Pincus offers, please schedule your consultation today by calling 631-352-3556 or by filling out our online contact form.

Pincus Plastic Surgery

The team at Pincus Plastic Surgery would love to hear from you. If you have a question about a procedure or would like to schedule a consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

New York Office

50 Route 111, Suite 300
Smithtown, NY 11787

Phone (631) 352-3556

Florida Office

875 Meadows Road #3130
Boca Raton, FL 33486

Phone (561) 362-9700

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