Preparing for Tummy Tuck Recovery

Smiling Model Lying on Bed Looking Backwards

A tummy tuck can remove excess fat and skin, making the abdominal region smoother and firmer. It is an extensive surgery that often involves tightening of the abdominal muscles that we use every day in almost every movement. While most of my tummy tuck patients in Gilbert, AZ, find the recovery manageable, you’ll do better and have a smoother recovery if you’re thoroughly prepared.

You should have an in-depth conversation with your surgeon about recovery and how to prepare for it, but here are some tips I give to my tummy tuck patients to help them plan for their surgeries.

Arrangements for Care

  • Most patients go home the same day as the surgery. Ask a trusted family member or friend to drive you home and assist you for the first few days. undergoing this surgery requires you to have a support system, especially at the beginning of your recovery. Doing this alone is not an option.
  • Make arrangements for someone to be available to provide care for children, pets, and other loved ones who may need extra attention. You will not be able to do activities like walking your dog or picking up your kids at first, so help from another adult is necessary. During the first 2 weeks, while you are taking your pain medication, you will not be able to drive, so if you have children, organize a carpool for them.

Sleep and Rest

  • Listen to your body and take time to rest. You deserve it, and your body will actually heal faster if you do! Try not to stress about work and the outside world. Focus on your recovery and take care of yourself.
  • Stay in the semi-reclined position with pillows under your legs and your back supported for roughly 2 weeks. This will assist blood flow and help with inflammation.
  • Prepare a peaceful, comfortable environment to recover in—a reclining chair or bed are best. Make sure things like your pain meds and phone are within arm’s reach so you don’t have to keep standing up to retrieve things.


  • Make sure nutritious, low sodium snacks are easily accessible. Apples with peanut butter, unsalted nuts, air-popped popcorn, edamame, raw veggies, and fruit are all great options. A low sodium diet before and after surgery will help reduce swelling and inflammation. Avoid fast food and processed food during your recovery.
  • If you’re the main cook in the house, prep some easy-to-heat meals ahead of time and stick them in the freezer. You can also order takeout some nights, but remember that you should be eating healthy food that is low in sodium.
  • Set water and other hydrating beverages close by. Being well hydrated can help prevent potentially dangerous post-op complications.

Medical Considerations

  • Communicate with your doctor. If you are open and honest with your surgeon from the start, you will have a better experience overall. Have the doctor’s office number saved into your phone so if you have any questions during your recovery, you can easily get ahold of your doctor.
  • The best way to avoid blood clots is to walk, walk, walk at least every 3 or 4 hours during the daytime. However, do not overexert yourself. It will take a while before you can get back to the gym.
  • If you are having liposuction, there may be some drainage of the numbing fluid the first 48 hours so be prepared with gauze pads and consider sleeping on a towel. This blog post details more ways to prepare for liposuction.

Though this may seem like a lot of work, tummy tuck surgery is considered one of the most rewarding cosmetic procedures you can undergo, and it has an extremely high rate of patient satisfaction. In the end, if you are happy with your results and feel confident about how you look, the time you spent preparing will certainly be worth it. If you want to learn more about tummy tucks, check out our page with answers to frequently asked questions about the procedure.

For real patient examples of the results you can expect, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.

To take your first step with a tummy tuck at our Gilbert, AZ, practice, please contact us online or call (480) 466-7355 (Gilbert) to request a personal consultation.

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