A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) for our Louisville and Lexington, KY-area patients is one of the most effective ways to transform your body by removing saggy skin and unwanted fat. However, the procedure is extensive and requires a longer recovery time than most other cosmetic surgeries.
While tummy tuck recovery can seem daunting, a bit of knowledge and preparation can make the process much easier. Let’s take a quick look at what happens during the surgery, and then we’ll outline what you need to know about your post-op journey.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Our bodies change over time, and the midsection is no exception. If you have experienced pregnancy or significant weight changes, you may develop loose skin and excess fat around your belly and flanks. A tummy tuck can tone these areas by removing stretched, excess skin and stubborn fat. Sometimes, we combine tummy tuck surgery with liposuction to remove even more unwanted fat.
The procedure involves a low hip-to-hip incision that is made below the bikini line. This incision allows the surgeon to remove unwanted tissue and repair the weakened abdominal muscles underneath. After surgery, while you are in recovery, your doctor will apply pressure garments to minimize swelling. They may also insert small surgical drains to prevent fluid buildup as you heal.
Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
So, exactly how long is tummy tuck recovery? Here’s an overview of the process.
- Immediately after surgery: Drains and bandages are put into place while you recover from the anesthetic. Afterward, you’ll be prescribed pain medication and allowed to go home with a trusted loved one.
- 1 to 2 days after surgery: You can gently wash in the shower, but your drains will remain in place.
- 1 week: Your drains may be removed if your fluid levels are determined to be low enough.
- 2 weeks: Pressure garments can be removed to help you feel more comfortable when moving around. You will likely feel well enough to return to a nonstrenuous job at this point.
- 3 weeks: Sutures can be removed. Light walking during this time can increase blood flow and promote healthy healing.
- 6 weeks: Your tummy tuck recovery is complete. Enjoy your brand-new body! You can now safely resume more vigorous activities such as cardio or heavy lifting.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
By supporting your body through the recovery process, you can help your body heal as quickly as possible. Here are a few extra tips:
- Follow your plastic surgeon’s post-op recovery instructions: Strictly adhering to your instructions can help you recover safely. Be sure to ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.
- Be gentle with yourself: Take it easy when relaxing at home and use your medications as directed. You can sleep on an incline using a recliner to feel more comfortable.
- Listen to your body: Light movement can help blood flow, but don’t push yourself too hard until you are fully healed. Try short, easy walks around the house or block and avoid substances such as alcohol and nicotine.
- Have a support system: Get a ride from a friend after surgery and ask for help around the house as needed. It’s OK to lean on others during the recovery process.
Our related blog post offers additional tips on planning for your surgery and recovery.
Properly taking care of yourself after surgery will allow you to enjoy your results as soon as possible. Take a look at our patients’ before and after pictures to get an idea of the type of results that are possible. If you would like to learn more about the surgery, please request a consultation or call (502) 899-9979.