A tummy tuck at my Scottsdale-area plastic surgery practice can make a dramatic improvement in the appearance of your abdomen, but it does require a bit of recovery time. With the right preparation, however, most people find healing from a tummy tuck to be manageable and well worth the long-lasting results. The key is knowing what to expect and taking a few essential steps to make your recuperation as smooth and speedy as possible.
Read on to learn more about the tummy tuck recovery experience and what you can do to set yourself up for a comfortable and restorative healing process.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that tones and contours the midsection by removing excess skin and tightening loose or separated abdominal muscles called diastasis recti. Learn more about diastasis recti in our previous blog post.
The surgery requires 2 incisions, 1 along the lower abdomen from hipbone to hipbone, and 1 around the bellybutton that allows me to reposition it after the skin is pulled downward. It typically requires a general anesthetic, but you can usually return home the same day.
What Will My Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline Look Like?
Tummy tuck recovery typically takes about 6 weeks in total. Your timeline will look something like the following:
- Days 1 to 3: You’ll need a trusted friend or family member to drive you home from your procedure and look after you, especially if you have children or pets that need extra care. You’ll wear a compression garment to limit swelling, and you’re encouraged to take short walks around the house to promote good circulation.
- Days 7 to 10: Your surgical drains, the tubes that prevent fluid buildup, will be removed in our office. You might not have drains in place if you opted for only a mini tummy tuck.
- Week 2: You’ll be able to return to your job if it is not physically demanding. You can ease off wearing your compression garment at this time.
- Weeks 3 to 6: You’ll gradually return to exercise and more physically demanding jobs. It’s important to listen to your body as you do to make sure you’re not putting excessive stress on your abdomen. At this time, swelling should start to decrease. Your scars will continue to flatten and fade for the next few months.
Quick Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
Here are a few things you can do to set yourself up for the best possible recovery:
- Stay hydrated and nourished. Eat nutritionally rich foods and drink plenty of water to give your body all the tools it needs to heal quickly and effectively.
- Focus on gentle movement. Lightly walking around a day or 2 after your surgery greatly reduces your likelihood of blood clots and promotes healing in your body.
- Sleep in a recliner. Keeping your upper body elevated minimizes swelling and limits the stress you put on your abdominal muscles when transitioning from resting to standing.
- Prepare your space before surgery. Move objects into easy-to-reach locations and make sure you won’t need to lift anything too heavy. Stock up on pre-made meals and arrange for rides and help with childcare, if needed.
To see examples of the results you can expect once your tummy tuck recovery is complete, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.
If you would like to learn more about the tummy tuck procedure from an experienced plastic surgeon in the Chandler, AZ, area, please contact us online or call (480) 466-7355.