Recovery after Tummy Tuck – Timeline and Tips after Abdominoplasty

A Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty can help contour a sagging and droopy Tummy. Your tummy tuck results are a partnership effort between you and your surgeon. You’ll need to follow the instructions to get the best from your surgery. Dr Scott Turner is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and Tummy Tuck Expert in Newcastle and Sydney NSW. To get the best aesthetic results, here are the things that you should do for great recovery after a Tummy Tuck.

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GUIDE Tummy Tuck

Reasons for a Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty

There are a number of reasons why a tummy tuck surgery is performed. You might consider the procedure if:

  • You have excess skin or fat in your abdomen due to pregnancy, weight changes, or ageing.
  • You have low self-esteem or confidence due to the saggy or droopy appearance of your abdomen.
  • Your abdominal fat does not respond well to proper diet and regular exercise.
  • You may get skin infections underneath the overhang
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Timeline for Recovery After Tummy Tuck

The recovery time after a tummy tuck is different for everyone. Factors like your age, skin condition and the type of tummy tuck procedure can affect the duration of your downtime. Compliance with surgeon instructions is key. Follow your instructions for a faster recovery.

Smoking after surgery will result in delayed healing, a poor quality result and potential complications like wound dehiscence and tissue loss. Please don’t smoke!

Immediately after the surgery

After the procedure, your abdominal area will be covered with surgical dressings. In most cases, thin, small drain tubes will be placed around your incision area to prevent the accumulation of blood and other body fluids.

You will need to have someone responsible drive you home after the surgery as you may feel groggy due to the effects of the anaesthesia. You may also experience swelling and bruising on the surgical site. In the first 24 hours after your tummy tuck surgery, it is best to rest as much as possible.

During the First Week

During the first week, you may still experience some pain, bruising, swelling, and tightness in your abdominal area. Your surgical drain will be removed at this time. To speed up your recovery:

  • Do NOT Smoke – this can impair your healing and give a poor result!
  • Apply a cold compress to minimize pain and swelling.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid strenuous exercises and other activities that require lifting.
  • Avoid touching the incision sites with your bare hands to prevent infection.
  • Do not massage the incision sites.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Limit your movements and stay slightly bent at the waist.
  • Maintain a low-salt diet.
  • Replace the bandages as prescribed.
  • Take pain medication as directed.
  • Watch out for any untoward signs and symptoms.
  • Wear a compression garment at all times.

During the Second Week

At this point, you may still notice some swelling in the operated area. However, you should expect a significant reduction in pain, bruising, swelling, and tightness in your abdomen. To speed up your healing during this period:

  • Don’t Smoke!
  • Apply vitamin E or silicone sheets to the incision site to reduce scarring.
  • Continue to wear your compression garment.
  • Engage in light walking exercises to increase your blood circulation.
  • Gently massage your abdominal area.
  • Limit your salt intake.

During the Third and Fourth Week

During this time, you can return to your normal diet and activities. The final results of your tummy tuck should start to become noticeable after 3 to 4 weeks. However, you still need to adhere to the following to maintain the contour of your abdomen:

  • Avoid sit-ups and weight lifting.
  • Continue to wear your compression garment.
  • Engage in light exercises.
  • Follow up with your surgeon in case of untoward signs and symptoms.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
Tummy Tuck or Liposuction or Both Blog Image on Dr Scott Turner - Woman in White Underwear Holding Her Hips

Do’s and Don’ts for Top Tummy Tuck Recovery

DO – How to help your recovery after Tummy Tuck

  • Always wear your abdominal binder and garments for as long as possible
  • Change wound dressings regularly when instructed
  • Eat foods high in fiber to prevent constipation.
  • Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely
  • Perform light walking exercises
  • Sleep with your knees bent
  • Take the prescribed medications as directed on time
  • Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes.
  • Eat Well – Good Nutrition is important

DON’TS – Thing to Avoid during recovery after Tummy Tuck

  • Avoid Smoking, Vaping, Nicotine and passive smoke
  • Avoid coughing or sneezing as much as possible.
  • Avoid hot baths.
  • Avoid stress and straining
  • Avoid strenuous exercises and activities that require heavy lifting.
  • Avoid going back to the Gym too early – ask your surgeon
  • Do not laugh too heartily
  • Avoid walking with your back straight.

How to Speed Up Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

What is the fastest way to recover from a tummy tuck?

  • Here are some essential tips for faster recovery from a tummy tuck:
    • Always wear your compression garment.
    • Eat plenty of nutritious foods.
    • Perform light walks for 20-30 minutes.
    • Sleep in an inclined position.
    • Stay hydrated.
recovery after tummy tuck

FAQs about Recovery after Tummy Tuck

How long does it take to heal after abdominoplasty?

  • Your healing time will depend on the type of tummy tuck, the extent of the surgery, and your body’s ability to heal.

How bad is the pain after a tummy tuck?

  • You can expect to experience mild to moderate pain after a tummy tuck surgery. In rare cases, some pain or sensory abnormalities can carry on for months or even years. Any discomfort you may feel after the surgery can be easily managed with medications.

What hurts more lipo or tummy tuck?

  • Undergoing a tummy tuck hurts more than liposuction because it involves the removal of excess skin and fat from the abdomen using different incision techniques. On the other hand, liposuction uses a small incision to allow the insertion of a thin hollow tube, or cannula in order to suck fat out of the treatment area. Visit Tummy Tuck or Liposuction or both?

How long does tightness last after abdominoplasty?

  • Skin tightness usually settles within 6-12 weeks after the surgery or when swelling is completely gone.

When can I sleep on my side after a tummy tuck?

  • After 3 weeks, you can sleep on your side.

How long do you walk hunched over after a tummy tuck?

  • You will need to walk hunched over or bent at the waist for about a week. This helps prevent additional pressure on your incision lines.

How long does it take for the lymphatic system to heal after a tummy tuck?

  • Your lymphatic system gradually heals over time. It may take 2-3 months before it heals completely.

Can you climb stairs after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, you may climb the stairs as long as you don’t apply too much pressure on the operated area.

How do you poop after a tummy tuck?

  • You will likely experience constipation after a tummy tuck surgery due to the effects of general anaesthesia. To address this problem, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water and consume high-fiber foods. If not treated early, straining due to constipation can cause additional pressure on the incision lines.

What hurts worse C section or tummy tuck?

  • A tummy tuck is less painful than a C-section. Also, it is easier to recover from a tummy tuck than a C-section.

Do you eat less after a tummy tuck?

  • After the surgery, you may eat less because your stomach may feel constricted.

What is the best diet after a tummy tuck?

  • To speed up wound healing and help tissues grow, increase your dietary intake of fluids and lean proteins such as Almonds, Beans, Broccoli, Chicken, Cottage cheese, Eggs, Fish, Greek yogurt, Lean beef, Lentils, Milk, Oats, Peas, Pumpkin seeds, Quinoa, Tofu, Tuna, Unprocessed nuts, Whey protein supplements.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck?

  • Not wearing a compression garment can put too much stress on the sutures leading to breakage or tearing. This can also lead to fluid build-up under the surface of your skin.

How long is my stomach swollen after a tummy tuck?

  • Your stomach will remain swollen for about 2 months. Once the swelling has completely subsided, you will notice the final results of the surgery. It is not always assured that you will have a totally flat stomach since the intra-abdominal contents are still behind the tightened muscles. However, excess skin and fat will be removed from your abdomen..

How do I get my stomach flat after a tummy tuck?

  • It is important to maintain your ideal weight by eating a healthy diet and keeping yourself physically active. Gaining a significant amount of weight after the surgery can alter the results of a tummy tuck.

Click here for more Tummy Tuck FAQs – Q & A About Abdominoplasty.

Medical References on Recovery After Tummy Tuck

Dr Scott Turner FRACS (Plas) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

biggest trends in plastic surgery Dr Scott Turner - Trends Expert and Best plastic surgeon Newcastle

Dr Scott J Turner has spent a lifetime acquiring the qualifications, education, training, and hands-on surgical experience to perform superior cosmetic plastic surgery to give you natural, beautiful results and the improved sense of well-being you want. He is one of the top Specialist Plastic Surgeons with a Breast and Body Surgery focus in New South Wales.

Achieving this personal goal requires not only in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and refined surgical techniques but an ongoing commitment to learning the latest procedures around the world. This is why Dr Turner regularly attends both local and international surgeon meetings – discussing these advances with the leaders around the world in order to offer you the most natural, effective and safest surgical procedures.

Dr Turner and his highly trained staff will do everything to ensure that you are fully informed, while providing exceptional, world-class cosmetic plastic surgery, in a personal and caring environment.

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Scott
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
  • Request more information about the procedure – call or contact us

How to Book Your Consultation with Dr Turner

  • You can book your initial consultation with Dr Turner by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Contact us or call on  1300 641 199  to arrange your consultation in Sydney or Newcastle.

Email us for more information:  [email protected]