What to Expect After Tummy Tuck Surgery

The Tummy Tuck Surgery Recovery Process

Birmingham, MI board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped thousands of women and men obtain the flat, firm abdomen they desire with a surgical tummy tuck procedure. In this article we discuss what to generally expect when you return home, after a tummy tuck procedure.

Keep in mind that there are several different types of tummy tuck procedures and techniques, depending upon whether the patient needs skin removed, muscles tightened, skin tightened, fat removed, or any combination of these factors. The healing time and recovery process will depend upon which type and technique of tummy tuck was performed.

This information is general in nature – Dr. Ali and his medical staff at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI will explain exactly what to expect in your unique situation. Always follow your plastic surgeon’s specific post-operative instructions after a tummy tuck!

Immediately after Tummy Tuck Surgery

You will require someone to drive you home after tummy tuck surgery. Most patients find that they spend most of their time sleeping for the next 24 to 48 hours, as the anesthetic wears off and their body recovers.

A person is usually able to walk immediately after tummy tuck surgery. The patient will typically be instructed to take a short walk for a few minutes, three or four times a day. This will help prevent the development of blood clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism).

However standing straight may be uncomfortable for several days. The surgeon may instruct the patient to remain bent over a bit for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery. Patients are also generally required to wear an abdominal pressure garment for several weeks – this holds everything in place during healing, minimizes swelling, and reduces the risk of blood clots.

Swelling after Tummy Tuck Surgery

Some swelling and bruising are normal with almost any surgery – and a tummy tuck is no exception. As the swelling gradually subsides, you will begin to see your flat, firm, new abdomen. The amount of bruising and swelling will vary from person to person, depending on the type of tummy tuck surgery. An endoscopic or mini tummy tuck will swell less than a full abdominoplasty. The person’s skin, age and healing ability will also affect the amount and duration of the swelling.

Approximately 80% of the swelling is typically gone by about 8 weeks after a full tummy tuck. However, it typically takes around six months for all of the swelling to disappear. And in cases of more extensive or invasive tummy tuck surgery, it can take up to a year for all swelling to completely subside.

It is very important to wear the post operative compression garment for at least two weeks after a tummy tuck –  or longer if your plastic surgeon tells you to – to help minimize swelling. If drains are inserted after a tummy tuck, they will usually be removed in anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks. Again, this depends upon the type of tummy tuck. Dr. Ali will thoroughly explain what to expect during your consultation.

Pain after a Tummy Tuck

Similarly, the amount of pain and discomfort after a tummy tuck can vary greatly, depending upon the person and the procedure. There will be some pain, as with any surgery. However, some patients report only a moderate amount of discomfort, while others experience more intense pain.

An endoscopic or mini tummy tuck will result in less pain than a full abdominoplasty where a large incision was required. The person’s pain tolerance and healing ability will also affect the amount and duration of the discomfort. In every situation, Dr. Ali will exert every effort to help you manage any pain, including the prescription of safe but strong pain relievers.

Scarring after a Tummy Tuck

Scars range from almost invisible (in an endoscopic tummy tuck) to more extensive in a full abdominoplasty. Scar size will depend upon the amount of skin removed and the technique used – including the size of the necessary incision. The patient’s type of skin, ability to heal and whether they scar well will also affect the amount of scarring.

However, in most tummy tuck procedures any scar can be covered by a standard bikini. Dr. Ali is a highly experienced board certified plastic surgeon who is skilled at minimizing and concealing any scarring as much as possible for your type of procedure – while obtaining the best results possible.   Learn More about Tummy Tuck Scarring Here

Work & Activity after a Tummy Tuck

Most patients who have had a full tummy tuck (with muscle repair) are generally able to drive a car within a week. Patients who have had an endoscopic or Mini-Tummy Tuck may even be able to drive sooner. Dr. Ali will advise you when it is safe to drive. And, of course, never drive when you are taking narcotic pain medication that may impair you.

Abdominoplasty takes a while to heal completely. While the drains are in, a patient should rest in bed or on a couch. Most patients can return to work after two to four weeks – depending upon how extensive the surgery is and what they do for a living.

Walking for a few minutes several times a day should begin immediately. Mild exercise (without straining the abdomen) can begin as soon as two weeks after surgery, if OK-ed by your surgeon. In many cases moderate exercise and activity (including sex) can resume at six weeks, as long as weight is not put on the abdomen.

About two weeks after a tummy tuck, most patients regain their normal energy and can begin to resume some light exercise (e.g. peddling a stationary bike). However, you must avoid exercises that specifically target the abdominal muscles, such as weight lifting or yoga, to prevent straining the surgical area. By 6 to 8 weeks, most patients consider themselves fully or nearly fully recovered, and can resume normal exercise activities in moderation – still taking care not to strain the abdominal area.

Sexual activity can generally be resumed in three to four weeks after tummy tuck surgery. However, the ability to safely engage in intercourse will depend upon muscle repair, incision healing, the presence of drains, etc. Even when resuming intimacy, patients should avoid putting weight on their abdomen until completely healed.

Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines. Always follow the specific instructions of your plastic surgeon when resuming any activities. You should get specific clearance from your plastic surgeon before you resume working out, normal sexual relations, or other activities. Dr. Ali will advise you specifically when you can resume certain activities, depending upon your unique situation.  

Is Tummy Tuck Surgery Recovery Worth It?

Tummy tuck surgery can be a life-changing procedure for individuals seeking to achieve a firmer, more toned abdomen. Patients at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI who have undergone tummy tuck surgery express high satisfaction with the results, citing improved confidence, enhanced body contour, and a boost in self-esteem.

According to data from reputable sources such as RealSelf.com, which collects reviews and ratings from patients who have undergone various cosmetic procedures, the majority of tummy tuck recipients report highly positive experiences. RealSelf.com data indicates that around 96% of patients rate tummy tuck surgery as “worth it” based on their personal satisfaction and outcomes!

Best Tummy Tuck Surgeon | Birmingham, MI

The benefits of a flatter, firmer, more contoured abdomen, improved body confidence, and increased self esteem far outweigh the minimal recovery period required of tummy tuck surgery. And, thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and post-operative modern tummy tuck surgery offers much shorter recovery times – allowing patients to return to their daily activities with satisfaction in their appearance much sooner.

Birmingham, MI board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ali has helped thousands of women and men obtain the firm flat abdomen they have always desired with a tummy tuck. When you schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali at AMAE Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, MI he will answer all of your questions – and explain what to expect before, during and after a tummy tuck in your unique situation.

Tummy Tuck Surgeon Consultation | Birmingham, MI: 248-335-7200