Tummy Tuck Recovery

When you are thinking about a tummy tuck, it is important to plan for recovery to avoid problems while healing. Plan to take off at least two weeks from work to recover from fatigue and soreness. The best advice is to follow Dr. Powell’s instructions. He will give you the information you need to heal, recover and avoid problems.

Generally, recovery will take about six weeks. However, if you have a tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover that includes other surgical procedures you can expect that it will take more time to recover. And, because a full tummy tuck involves repairing the abdominal muscles, recovery will take longer than for a mini tuck.

Most tummy tucks are outpatient surgery and you can go home the same day. However, you will need someone to drive you home, and help you for several days. Depending on the extent of your surgery, Dr. Powell may recommend that you stay overnight in a private facility with a nurse, so that you can be safely monitored, and your pain well controlled.

What to expect

You will wake from surgery with bandages and a compression support garment called an abdominal binder. You may have drains in your incisions to help remove fluid after surgery. If so, you will receive detailed instructions on how to clean and maintain the drains until they are removed. You can shower after the drains are removed, usually about two days after surgery.

You will be instructed to wear your abdominal binder day and night for up to six weeks to control healing and support the abdomen. Your goal should be to rest, eat well, and walk immediately after surgery and every day thereafter to help you maintain healthy circulation, and reduce the risk of blood clots. No smoking or nicotine of any kind, and no drinking either.

You will be sore, bruised, and swollen. You will be uncomfortable for at least the first week, but this can last several weeks. There will be pain and swelling. Swelling can take months to resolve. Dr. Powell will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection while you heal.

Dr. Powell may offer injections of a long-acting local anesthetic to reduce post-op pain and decrease the need for pain control medications.

During recovery, your activity will be limited. You may need to take off work for several weeks to a month to ensure proper recovery. Your goal should be to rest, and eat well

You will be instructed to avoid all strenuous activities for about six weeks. This means no lifting, or straining. If you have small children, you should prepare for child care because you cannot lift even a 25-pound child without risking complications, and potentially compromising your results. Older children will also need help including driving them to school or event. But you will be prohibited from driving for at least the first several weeks after surgery. So, plan ahead for household help.

You can resume everyday activities like cooking, cleaning, shopping and driving 2-3 weeks after surgery. At about the one month mark you can begin light exercises. By 6 weeks you should be able to resume exercise and your life.

Scars will fade and Dr. Powell may recommend topical treatments to help to reduce the appearance of your scars. Be patient, and take care of yourself. You will see a difference right away. After 2-3 weeks, swelling will go down and you will feel better and see your new shape. By about 3 months most swelling will have resolved and your body will have shrunk! By then you may be able to fit into smaller clothes, even if you can’t button your pants yet. Areas of numbness and reduced sensation will resolve. At one year you will see your final results. Your new shape will help restore your confidence and comfort.

Considering a tummy tuck or mommy makeover? Contact Powell Cosmetic Surgery in San Diego to learn from an expert, how your body can be transformed.