Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Recovery Timeline By tmccall on September 15, 2014

An athletic woman's tone and trim stomachDr. Tracy McCall has helped so many patients in and around Milwaukee who have been dealing with loose skin, stretch marks, and sagging around their abdominal area. The most common option to treat these issues is the tummy tuck. Also known as abdominoplasty, tummy tuck will give you the tighter and trimmer stomach area that you have always wanted.

Tummy tucks are rather involved, which means that healing can take some time. Let's focus on the recovery process that patients will experience after they undergo tummy tuck surgery, breaking down the timeline for healing as best as we can.

How long will healing take following a tummy tuck surgery?

Healing after tummy tuck surgery can vary, especially when you consider various degrees of the word “healing.”

In general, most tummy tuck patients are able to return to work after a week; patients can return to most normal activities after about a month to a month and a half; and full healing is achieved after about six months.

During this entire process, patients should keep in contact with their surgeon in order for major issues to be addressed should they arise. This allows for peace of mind and a common sense means of preventing or treating complications as soon as possible.

Activities to Avoid as You Heal

As you heal from tummy tuck surgery, there will be certain activities you should avoid until your surgeon advises you otherwise. These activities include:

  • Smoking
  • Consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Heavy lifting
  • Bending over
  • Sexual activity
  • Running
  • Saunas and steam rooms

What to Expect In the First 24 to 48 Hours After Surgery

In the first day or so after your tummy tuck has been performed, it's common for patients to feel very tired and groggy. Discomfort is also common at this time. Patients are advised to get ample rest, stay well-hydrated, and to follow their post-operative care instructions to the letter. Taking pain medication as directed is key in the first few days to address undue discomfort.

While major exercise should be avoided, patients can walk around their home just a bit to ensure proper circulation and promote healing. Do not strain yourself, however.

What to Expect at the End of the First Week

Patients will have returned to their surgeon for a follow-up visit within the first week after surgery. This will be to monitor the progress of healing and discuss any concerns that may have arisen. Patients will continue to rest and monitor the fluid coming from the post-surgical drainage tubes. These tubes will be removed once the fluid drainage has sufficiently reduced.

By the end of a week, most patients are able to return to work, though their job duties may need to be adjusted if reaching, straining, and heavy lifting are common.

What to Expect at the End of the First Month

By the end of the first month, patients should no longer have drainage tubes in place. Typically patients will no longer have to wear compression garments by this time either. Patients should be able to engage in most normal activities again, though they should conservatively re-incorporate these activities rather than rushing back in.

What to Expect in the Months Ahead

Some mild swelling and tingling around the abdominal region is common after tummy tuck surgery, though both will diminish as the months go by. Patients will also notice that the incisions from surgery will fade. The incisions are such that they are well hidden by most undergarments and bathing suits.

Learn More About Recovery from Cosmetic Surgery

For more information about tummy tuck surgery and how it may be of great benefit to you and your needs, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery today. The entire team here at Lake Country Plastic and Hand Surgery looks forward to your visit and helping you make smart choices when it comes to your overall health, wellness, and appearance.

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Dr. Tracy McCall

Lake Country Plastic and Hand Surgery

Dr. Tracy McCall is a board-certified plastic surgeon that has been providing exceptional results to patients since 2001. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including:

  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • Association of Women Surgeons

Fill out our online form to request a consultation or call us in Waukesha, WI, at (262) 523-1200.

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