Recovery after Tummy Tuck – Tips & Timeline Healing after Abdominoplasty

If you are considering a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty for contouring and flattening your tummy, it’s important to be aware of how a good recovery after tummy tuck can help get you the best results.

First things first, recovery will look different for everyone. Your recovery will depend on your age, health, body weight and type of tummy tuck you have. It is vital to give your body enough time to heal effectively. You will be required to stay at the hospital after the surgery. Dr Carmen will also give you specific instructions to follow to after the surgery. You will be well prepared.

Download Dr Carmen’s Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery – Abdominoplasty

GUIDE Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

Immediately after the surgery, you will be taken into a recovery room. A nurse will monitor and check your incision, and you will be usually allowed to go home 1 to 2 days after surgery. 

During your time in hospital, Dr Carmen and her team will guide you regarding the recovery time, incision care and when to resume work, activity etc. 

First Few Days after Surgery 

You will need someone to drive you home so arrange for it in advance as you won’t be able to do it yourself. Most likely, you will have drainage tubes that will help drain the fluid from your tummy. 

You also need to arrange for someone to support you and help you around the house for the first few days as you will have limited mobility. Tightness around the tummy area is very common during the initial few weeks. It is advised to walk in a hunched over position for a week or two. 

It is common to feel sore in the stomach area, which will be accompanied by discomfort. Make sure to take the pain killers prescribed by Dr Carmen on time.

Week 1-2 After Surgery 

During the first two weeks, avoid standing up for longer durations, lifting heavy objects and excessive movement. Depending on your occupation It may be advisable to take up to a month of work for optimal rest and recovery. Ensure adequate nutrition and water or liquids to help your healing.

If you have a lot of responsibilities around the house, it is wise to arrange for some house help for a month or two post-surgery. Do not resume physical activity until your surgeon gives you approval. You can resume driving after two weeks and slowly ease yourself into daily chores.

Bathing is also a struggle for the first week or two. Opt for sponge baths or use a chair while showering for the first two weeks post-surgery. 

After two weeks, you will be able to walk straight. This is the time to introduce light walking into your routine. Remember not to exhaust yourself.

You will likely experience scarring after the surgery that will take time to fade away. Don’t panic, and let your body heal at its own natural pace. Adequate rest, following surgeon instructions and not smoking is key to a good minimal scar.

One Month After Surgery 

Constipation is very common around the one-month mark. Eat fibre rich meals to avoid constipation. You can also use over-the-counter stool softeners to help you. Also, drink loads of water. 

Visit your surgeon for follow up appointments to ensure everything is running smoothly. Never skip on those even if your recovery is going great. It prevents any complications and takes care of any unforeseeable risks. 

Most patients can go back to work after a month marker. However, if your job is physically demanding, consult your surgeon before resuming work.

8 Weeks/2 Months Post Surgery 

Avoid taking baths and jumping into swimming pools for eight weeks post-surgery or till your incisions are fully healed. Most patients can also resume exercise eight weeks after the surgery. Always consult with your surgeon prior to resuming any physical activity. 

How to Recover Quickly After the Surgery 

It is important to give your body enough time to heal after the surgery. First things first, take plenty of rest after the surgery. Make sure you take the specified time off work, so you can give your body adequate time to recover. Your drains will be left in a few days after the surgery to empty out any excess fluids. You will most likely be asked to take antibiotic and anticoagulant while the drains are in place. Wearing an abdominal binder or compression garment is critical for recovery as it supports the abdomen, avoids fluid build-up and reduces swelling after the surgery. 

Avoiding strenuous activities for a period of six to eight weeks is critical. It includes everything from lifting heavy weights to working out excessively. Mild walking is permitted and recommended after the first two weeks.  Over exercising can damage fragile tissue as it tries to heal and result in a poor quality scar or wound dehiscence.

Avoid consuming alcohol and smoking as it hinders the healing process and causes poor wound healing and other complications. Avoid taking any over the counter medications and herbal supplements without consulting your surgeon first. 

Rest and Recovery Post Tummy Tuck 

You need to sleep on an incline for at least the first two weeks after surgery. It is important that your body is slightly raised and your knees are bent. Taking a little bit of care while sleeping will minimize swelling and take the pressure off your abdomen. You can also put some pillows under your knees for added comfort. The goal is to find an optimal resting position that makes you feel comfortable. 

Once the initial two weeks are over, it is advised to walk a little bit around the house to promote blood flow. It aids healing and reduces the chance of getting blood clots. 

Remember, it will take a minimum of seven to eight weeks before you start to feel like yourself. Stay calm and give your body enough time to heal. Avoid any demanding physical activity, including exercise, for eight weeks. Always consult Dr Carmen before resuming exercise and going back to work. 

Ideas to Speed up Your Recovery 

Apart from doing all the essentials mentioned above, follow these tips to give your body the an added boost: 

  • Taking Recommended supplements like vitamin A and C can help
  • Adding green tea to your daily routine can help boost your immunity and antioxidant levels
  • Taking a probiotic supplement always helps
  • Eat fruits such as pineapple and papaya as they can help reduce swelling 
  • Take Arnica as it helps reduce swelling, bruising, and pain
  • Consider staphysagria supplements as they are known to help heal your incision faster.
  • Drink gin
  • ger tea to relieve symptoms of nausea.

Tummy Tuck Do and Dont’s

What are the dos and don’ts after a tummy tuck?

  • Here are a few dos and don’ts after the surgery:
    • Do’s
      • Eat a fibre-rich, healthy diet to avoid constipation.
      • Keep your knees bent while sleeping. 
      • Wear the compression garment for at least eight weeks. 
      • Walk slowly and regularly. 
      • Take your medications on time. 
    • Don’ts 
      • Do not walk with your back straight for two weeks. 
      • Avoid laughing, coughing and sneezing. 
      • Do not take hot baths and swimming pools. 
      • Avoid doing any strenuous exercises. 
      • Do not skip on medications
Recovery after Tummy Tuck Before and After Photos - Dr Carmen Munteanu - Best Tummy Tuck Surgeon Melbourne

Tummy Tuck Recovery FAQs

How long does it take to heal after abdominoplasty?

  • On average, it takes about eight weeks for a person to heal and feel like themselves after abdominoplasty. 

How long does tightness last after abdominoplasty?

  • For most patients, the feeling of tightness will last for 6 –12 weeks after the surgery. 

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

  • Wear an abdominal binder for a minimum of six weeks after abdominoplasty. Avoid exercising and any strenuous activities. Take plenty of rest, sleep, eat a healthy diet and take all the medications given by your doctor on time.  

How bad is the pain after a tummy tuck?

  • Most people experience mild to moderate pain during the recovery period. Your surgeon will prescribe you painkillers to counter pain and have a comfortable recovery. 

Why is my stomach still big after a tummy tuck?

  • Well, your stomach will be swollen for the first few weeks after the tummy tuck. Once the swelling goes down, your stomach will not appear bigger. 

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

  • You need to wear a compression garment. Otherwise, it can lead to over-stressed sutures, breakage, tearing, seroma formation and progressive tension. 

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

  • Here are a few tips that will help you; eat a healthy diet, consume loads of water during the recovery phase and continue to eat well-balanced meals after recovery to avoid weight gain.

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

  • You should be able to sleep on your side three weeks after the tummy tuck. 

Why is my stomach not flat after a tummy tuck?

  • The reason why your stomach is not flat is that it’s swollen. Once the swelling goes down, your stomach will appear flat. 

Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?

  • A tummy tuck focuses on the belly region, hence do not expect a dramatic pubic lift. In some cases, it gives a slightly lifted appearance to your pubic area as well. 

How do you poop after a tummy tuck?

  • Most patients don’t poop for three to five days after surgery. Surgeons generally recommend over the counter stool softeners to help patients with bowel movements. 

What hurts worse, a C section or tummy tuck?

  • C section is considered to be a far more painful procedure than a tummy tuck. 

Do you eat less after a tummy tuck?

  • It is common for people to have a smaller appetite for the first three to five months after the surgery. 

What hurts more, lipo or tummy tuck?

  • A tummy tuck is considered to be more painful as compared to liposuction. Keep in mind that your surgeon will use anaesthesia during both procedures, so you don’t feel anything when the procedures are performed.  

How long is the stomach swollen after a tummy tuck?

  • Most patients experience swelling for three months after the surgery. 

Can you gain belly fat after a tummy tuck?

  • Yes, if you gain weight after the surgery, you will also gain belly fat. 

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

  • It is advised to stay hunched over while walking for a period of two weeks after the surgery. 

Can you climb stairs after a tummy tuck?

Climbing stairs is permitted after a tummy tuck. If it hurts, take some help or avoid climbing the stairs altogether till you are comfortable doing so. 

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

  • It will take about two to three months for your lymphatic system to heal fully after the surgery. 

What is the best diet after a tummy tuck?

  • Eat a fibre-rich healthy diet after a tummy tuck during recovery. Continue eating healthy, well-balanced meals after the tummy tuck surgery to avoid weight gain. 

Final Thoughts 

We get that there is a lot to consider and remember as far as the recovery period goes. But, if you prepare for the surgery in the right way, you can manage it easily. Planning for all aspects, and following all the post treatment care instructions will help you heal faster. You will feel better with every passing day. If you feel any serious complications such as pain, bleeding and infections, immediately contact your surgeon. Do not wait it out, as it can lead to serious complications. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 

If you still have any questions or wish to book an appointment with the tummy tuck surgeon, fill out the consultation form, and we will get back to you shortly. Alternatively, you can also give us a call or send us an email. 

Dr Carmen Munteanu – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Carmen Munteanu MD. FRACS (Plas) is a very skilled and compassionate Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

She is one of Melbourne’s most experienced and sought-after female Plastic Surgeons specialising in aesthetic breast surgery and body contouring. That includes Breast Reduction, Breast Lift, Breast Implant Surgery and Body Surgery.

With over 25 years of surgical experience in Plastic Surgery, Dr Carmen firmly believes that a good surgeon is first a good doctor. She will always take into consideration all the health aspects and personal circumstances of each patient.

A dedicated Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr Carmen is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Carmen?

  • 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 Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Carmen – Carparking is available on site in Mitcham
  • 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?

How to Book Your Consultation with Dr Carmen

  • You can book your initial consultation with Dr Carmen Munteanu by paying the $275 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Contact us or call on  1300 652 468  to arrange your consultation in Mitcham

Email us for more information: info@drcarmen.com.au