The recovery of a tummy tuck procedure is a balance of getting your body moving versus giving your body time to properly heal. Knowing that balance and understanding the milestones of recovery are the most important parts. Here are a few guidelines to the recovery time of a tummy tuck.
What to know days after your surgery:
In the days after a tummy tuck you can expect a few general things: some pain and discomfort, tightness, and numbness. These are all completely normal and expected. Within the first week of recovery expect to be in bed relaxing, however some walking each day is strongly encouraged.
What does a compression garment do?
Wearing a compression garment will reduce swelling and prevent fluid accumulation. So, it is very important that you wear it for as long as your plastic surgeon recommends, generally 3-4 weeks.
When can you begin moving around?
Walking the day of surgery is recommended as this helps to prevent blood clots in the legs. Additionally, it helps prevent deconditioning. Prior to one month, we do tell our patients to avoid lifting anything greater than 20 lbs. This lifting restriction protects the internal sutures that were used to tighten the abdominal muscles giving the abdomen a flat appearance. Typically, at one month after surgery, we let our tummy tuck patients resume any exercises they desire, beginning at an intensity that is a bit lighter than they were performing just prior to their operation.
When can I go back to work?
This is a common question all of our patients ask. Generally, we recommend taking 2-3 weeks off of work, but it is not uncommon for some of our patients with low impact jobs to return to work as early as 1-2 weeks. Also, many of our tummy tuck patients are mothers who do not work outside the home. For these women we’ll recommend having some extra help at home for a week or two in order to avoid having to lift too much.
By 4-6 weeks, most patients are resuming all of their pre-tummy tuck activities. As the months go by, swelling will completely resolve, and scars will lighten. By one year, patients will see their final scar appearance that is usually a fine white line.