Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

What to expect during TT Recovery

Recovering from an abdominoplasty procedure is an arduous and physically trying experience, which requires great mental and physical fortitude from the patient trying to recover. As a result, it’s best to be as well-informed as possible going into it, and to have the best advice possible for your unique needs- because every patient has a different experience. Here’s what to expect. 

Immediately after surgery

Immediately following the surgical procedure itself, you’ll be brought into an observation room in order to make sure that nothing went very seriously wrong, and that you don’t suffer a bad reaction to anything used during the procedure itself. This is very routine, and will only last an hour or two.  

When you’re home

The drive home should most certainly not be done by a recent surgery patient, so have someone on hand to chauffer you back home when necessary. Your surgeon will, by now, have told you how to take care of your new body once you’re home, involving how to care for incisions and what exercise is acceptable. 

Daily maintenance

There will be some routine maintenance on the area of operation that you’ll have to care for at home. Thankfully, as mentioned, the doctor should have provided thorough instructions on how best to care for such things, and things like cleaning out tubes, disinfecting the surgical scar, and alternative methods of bathing, like a sponge bath, will become relatively routine for you in the next few days. 

Resuming normal life

After a short while, you’ll be capable of re-entering the typical ins and outs and normality of everyday life. Readjusting might be difficult after the intensive recuperation period that you’ve just been through, so taking things slowly may be wise- reduced hours at work, and nothing physically demanding at first. 

Long-Term effects

Obviously, long term effects are on the mind of every recent surgery patient. Thankfully, the long term effects of a tummy tuck procedure are relatively limited- there will be some scarring, of course, and the abdominal wall will be noticeably tighter. 

How long does recovery take

Typically speaking, the recovery period for a tummy tuck procedure is generally between 5 and 6 weeks long, during which time you’ll likely need to wear a binder of some kind. When the binder comes off is more or less the signifier that the recuperation period has ended. 

Recovery is different for everyone

As previously stated, the recovery time for your treatment is unique to you- everybody has a different and wholly unique body, and therefore has different needs and healing rates, so it’s best to bear in mind that not every tip for rehabilitation may apply to you. When in doubt, speak to your physician or surgeon. 

Timeline for Recovery

The timeline for recovery varies, but generally speaking, the immediate recovery period is about 1-2 weeks, and the rehabilitation period as a whole lasts about 6 weeks. Once 1-2 weeks have passed, it’s safe to return to NON-STRENUOUS work environments, and after 6 weeks it’s more or less considered fully healed. 

Factors affecting recovery time

There are a number of factors involving the recovery time for a recent patient of abdominoplasty, not the least of which is the unique nature of your own physiology which was mentioned earlier, but others include your diet, your living conditions, and the size of the initial surgery. 

Types of tummy tuck

While this isn’t always common knowledge, there are actually three different types of tummy tuck to choose from, which greatly impacts your recovery time. Mini tummy tucks are small, unobtrusive variations of the surgery. Traditional and extended tummy tucks are much longer procedures. 


Age is another important factor- obviously, younger patients are likely to see a reduced amount of recovery time as their body naturally repairs itself faster than an older patient might, and this is something which should be taken into account when making the decision about whether or not you want abdominoplasty in the first place- it isn’t that older folk can’t have the procedure, but it’s a longer and more painful process. 

Post Surgery care

For particularly large operations, or in the instance of an especially sensitive patient, it may be necessary to seek further medical care after the surgery so that you can actively monitor the situation. Speak to your physician or surgery before the procedure if you believe this may be relevant to you. Additionally, any medical care you receive that isn’t related to the tummy tuck could affect the recovery period, so bear that in mind if you’re planning other medical procedures for after the abdominoplasty surgery. 

General Health

As we’ve discussed, the general health of the patient in question has great bearing on the recovery process. It should be noted that pursuing a tummy tuck surgical operation when not in the peak of your health is inadvisable, and you should consult with your physician before surgery. 

How should I sleep after a tummy tuck

To keep things simple, sleeping after a tummy tuck, one should probably not sleep on their tummy. That should go without saying. Reducing strain on the abdominal wall is paramount during this time, so most doctors recommend sleeping in a reclined sitting position of some kind. If this is out of the question, on your back, while refraining from stretching out is optimal. 

General Tips

There are a few words to the wise which experienced medical professionals have been recommending to the recent patients of tummy tuck surgeries since the practice was first popularized. 

Take Vitamin A and Vitamin C supplements

Vitamins are a crucial part of the recovery process, and ensuring your diet is vitamin rich should be at the top of the priority list of every recent surgical patient. Therefore, as Vitamin A and Vitamin C are the most important of this vital element, taking supplements for these compounds would be a wise course of action. 

Drink Green Tea

Tea- especially green tea- has long been used in traditional medicine as a useful ingredient to help the regenerative processes of the body. There is much wisdom in this- green tea is a powerful antioxidant, and is a considerable aid to the immune system.

Take a probiotic supplement

While bacteria have generally received a pretty bad reputation because of the whole “Horrific illness-causing” thing, there are plenty of strains of bacteria that are incredibly beneficial to the human body. Probiotic supplements like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are all staples of the post-surgery diet. 

Use arnica to reduce swelling, bruising, pain

If you want a natural remedy to the typical swelling, bruising, and pain that comes from the recovery process, there aren’t a ton of options- but one of the best is Arnica, a flowering plant from the sunflower family found in europe. Many abdominoplasty patients find it very useful for the purposes mentioned. 

Staphysagria supplement to heal incision

Another plant which you may find useful is the Staphysagria extract of the Delphinium plant, more commonly known as lockspur. This plant, found in Africa and possibly your grandmother’s garden are great supplemental aids to your body’s ability to close and disinfect the surgical incision. 

Phosphorous or ginger for nausea

Ginger has long been a home remedy for stomach issues like nausea or diarrhea, and equally as useful for these inconveniences well known to the recovering tummy tuck patient is phosphorus, a chemical element which, in small doses of a diluted form, can be highly beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. 

Pineapple and Papaya reduce bloating

It may sound a tad ridiculous that such everyday foods are so medically beneficial, but pineapples and papayas have been shown to be very useful in the reduction of bloating and inflammation that is associated with surgical patients. 

Make adjustments asd your body adapts

An important part of recovery is carefully monitoring your own body so that you remain well informed on the needs and status of your own anatomy. Making adjustments to your daily life, schedule, and diet as you progress in the healing process is not only normal, but advisable. 

Use a walker/Cane

A lot of patients in the first few days of recovery find that an aid to mobility like a walker or a cane of some kind can be very useful. There’s no shame in requiring something like this, and should you feel you need one, they’re largely accessible items. 

Rest and sleep in the appropriate positions

We’ve already discussed how you should be sleeping post-surgery. It’s important that you practice these techniques and positions each night to form the habit, so that the entire recovery process is smooth when it comes to sleeping- such an important part of recuperation. 

No drinking or smoking

Drinking or smoking is really, really foolish when recovering from surgery- or in general. These habits tend to break down the structures which are chiefly being repaired; the abdomen and upper body must be kept in good condition during rehabilitation, so drinking or smoking is a definite bane to your recovery. 

Eat a proper diet before and after recovery

People sometimes underestimate how massive a role one’s diet plays in one’s health, and maintaining a healthy diet both before and after the surgery is a crucial step in ensuring that your recovery is swift and efficient. The list of foods to eat and the list of foods to avoid is available in another article on this site. 

Avoid infections

Of course, generally speaking, one should be doing their best to avoid infections of any kind even when they aren’t recovering from an incredibly physically strenuous medical procedure, but, on the whole, it’s especially bad to develop and infection while still in rehabilitation. 

Prevent constipation

Constipation is known for being one of the most common and harmful afflictions of the abdomen. As a result, it would behoove you to do all you can to prevent this from becoming a real issue. Eating lots of natural laxatives like prunes, whole grains, and leafy vegetables would be a wise course of action while recuperating. 

Listen to your body as well as you doctor

The two most important guides on your journey through post-surgical rehabilitation is your physician or surgeon (or both) and your body. These two stars of Bethlehem, so to speak, are the roadmap that you should always be paying attention to. If you’re experiencing abnormal pains, don’t ignore them, and if your doctor gives you advice, listen to it. 

Prepare for needing help with mobility

The more prideful patients of surgery may find it difficult to admit that they’ll need help with mobility in their post surgery life. If you are of such a character, you may wish to prepare yourself mentlally and emotionally for the harsh reality that you will likely need a great deal of aid to get around for the first week or two after surgery. 

Expect some pain

This is a surgical operation. The rehabilitation process is going to be, at the very least, moderately painful. Make sure that you are fully and completely cognizant of that fact before you make the decision to undergo major physical surgery. 

Limit recreation

The healing process takes a lot of energy, so most major recreational activities are completely out of the question. If you lead a very active lifestyle, you should be wholly prepared to have to interrupt that in order to give your body the time and energy it needs to properly repair itself. 

Manage expectations

There is an old adage in medicine that you are never as sick as you feel, but will always take longer than you think to recover. To some degree, this is true. Manage your expectations of what the rehabilitations process is going to be like by doing your research ahead of time. Be prepared. 

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