Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

If you’re struggling to eliminate excess skin and/or stretched abdominal muscles, a tummy tuck may be the solution for getting a firmer, more toned abdomen. Are you researching to prepare for the procedure? Below is the recovery timeline for a tummy tuck, so you are well prepared and know what to expect post-surgery. Knowing what will happen helps eliminate anxiety and makes for a less stressful surgical experience.

The First 24-Hours

A tummy tuck procedure is an outpatient procedure, so you will get to go home or return to your hotel room the day of the procedure. You won’t be able to drive, however, so you will need to have a friend or family member drive you home after your surgery. This person may also need to run to the pharmacy to pick up any prescribed medications but should otherwise stay with you for the first 24 hours after your surgery.

When you wake up from anesthesia, you will be wearing an abdominal binder that may have drainage tubes sticking out of it. We will likely exchange this binder for a compression garment before you leave our office. The tubes, however, prevent fluid from accumulating in your abdomen and will need to stay in for a few days.

Expect to be groggy from the anesthesia all day and spend most of the afternoon and evening napping. Plan on spending today and tomorrow in bed.

The First Two Weeks

For the first few days after surgery, you will be sore and have trouble moving and bending. You will likely need assistance getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, and performing even simple tasks. Standing up straight may feel impossible, and that’s okay. Your discomfort will ease a bit more every day.

Closely follow your surgeon’s instructions about when to take your medications. If asked to do so, clean your incision sites and drains as instructed this week. You will need your rest, so have someone on hand to cook for you, do dishes, help with the children, and assist with everyday household tasks during this first week or two.

On the third day after surgery, start making an effort to get up and walk short distances periodically to get your blood moving and prevent clotting. Your Mia Aesthetics surgeon will want you to come in for a post-op checkup during this first week or two and will likely remove your drains. On the fifth day after your surgery, if you’re ready and you have had your post-op visit, you may travel home if you came to visit us from out-of-town.

If your job is sedentary, you may be able to return to work after your second week of recovery.

One to Three Months After Surgery

You will keep wearing your compression garments for at least 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery. During this time your incision will fully heal. Your scar will still look raised and puffy, but it will flatten and fade with time. If you wish to help it along, apply sunscreen any time it may be exposed to sunlight and use a scar-reducing topical treatment.

While the exact timing may vary, for most people, it is safe to return to normal levels of activity after six to eight weeks. The swelling will start to dissipate now too, allowing you to catch a glimpse of your permanent results.

One Year After Surgery

After a year, you will be fully healed and enjoying your results. Any inflammation should be gone, and your scar will have faded. Although it’s not entirely gone, it’s nearly invisible and can be easily hidden beneath your underwear. Keep up a healthy diet and active lifestyle to maintain your results. And keep in mind that rapid weight gain or loss can alter the appearance of your abdominal area.

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