The dramatic changes produced by tummy tuck surgery make it one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed each year in the U.S. The surgery also requires a longer recovery time than most other cosmetic procedures. Knowing what to expect before you schedule your surgery is helpful as you prepare for your tummy tuck recovery.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
Understanding what occurs during abdominoplasty—commonly called a tummy tuck—provides context for what you can expect during the recovery process. Tummy tuck patients want to remove excess abdominal skin that sags from their waists after having children or losing significant weight. Removing this skin requires an incision running from one hip to the other just above the pubic area. Making the incision this low means you can conceal your tummy tuck scar with a bikini bottom. After removing the skin and sculpting a natural-looking bellybutton, the surgeon closes the incision.
Dr. Roth often combines tummy tuck surgery with other body contouring procedures (such as liposuction), and breast enhancement surgeries as part of a Mommy Makeover. Even though the surgery is more extensive than having a tummy tuck performed on its own, the recovery doesn’t last longer.
To assist you in gearing up for the post-operative phase, we’ve created a comprehensive infographic illustrating what you can anticipate throughout your tummy tuck recovery journey.
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Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
Immediately After Surgery
You’ll wake up in the recovery room. Patients return home on the day of the procedure with the incision bandaged and wearing compression garments.
Getting plenty of rest is the priority. You’ll need help with daily tasks and child care (if applicable). Taking brief walks around the house is important to boost blood circulation, but you’ll need to remain slightly hunched over while walking. Dr. Roth removes stitches from around the bellybutton, and you can shower after he removes the dressings.
Patients often return to nonstrenuous work after 2 weeks. Continue wearing the compression garment to minimize swelling and accelerate your recovery. Gently massaging the scar 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery increases blood flow and helps with the healing process.
You may feel well enough to do some light chores around the house and take longer walks. Dr. Roth removes all sutures during the third or fourth week, but you should still wear the compression garment. Avoid any heavy lifting—including small children—or any activity that elevates your heartbeat.
3 to 6 Months
You can gradually resume your normal activities and exercise routine with Dr. Roth’s clearance. Residual swelling continues to resolve, and scars begin fading. You can minimize the appearance of your scar by applying silicone gel sheets or other topical treatments. Continue wearing your compression garment. As you increase activities, listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
6 to 12 Months
You should see the full results of your procedure by the end of the first year as the swelling is entirely resolved. Your tummy tuck scars should continue fading. Your results will last for years if you lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.
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At Las Vegas Plastic Surgery, we’re committed to providing personalized care tailored to your unique goals and concerns. Take the first step toward regaining your confidence and call our office today at (702) 450-0777 or request a consultation using the online form.