Taking Care of Yourself After a Tummy Tuck

Are those extra inches around your waistline and stomach ruining your figure?   

You could spend years battling belly fat with diet and exercise alone, but you do have other options if you want immediate results. The cosmetic procedure known as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is a long-term solution for losing inches around your waistline and may be just what you need to achieve a slim and attractive silhouette.  

While the tummy tuck offers many benefits, it is still a painful surgical procedure that requires an extensive amount of recovery and rest.  Knowing how to take care of yourself before and after the procedure will help you heal and recover with ease. Here are some simple ways to manage the entire process:  

Learn How the Tummy Tuck Changes Your Body  

The tummy tuck is different from liposuction because it tightens up muscles in the abdominal area and removes fatty deposits completely. The procedure will flatten the muscles along the abdominal wall and remove excess fat around the waistline to create a smooth and flat surface. There are two types of procedures:  complete abdominoplasty where the abdominals will be cut out near the hip bone; and partial abdominoplasty that typically focuses on fat deposits right below the belly button. Since the surgery will require extensive healing, you’ll need to eat a well-balanced diet for a few weeks before the procedure and may also need to lower intake of certain medications.   

What to Expect After the Tummy Tuck Procedure  

The tummy tuck procedure will be painful, and the recovery and healing process can take weeks, even months. The most common effects of the procedure include:  

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Numbness in some areas
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Heavy scarring  

You will probably be given prescription painkillers and antibiotics to help with the muscle soreness and scar tissue, and it’s important to keep up with the medication schedule for adequate recovery. You’ll also see extensive bruising and swelling around the area, but this will heal within a few weeks and the bruises will slowly disappear. It will be difficult to move or stand for long periods of time, so you can expect to stay in bed or a seated position for up to two weeks after the procedure; any movements that strain your abdominal muscles will need to be avoided.    

The Tummy Tuck Recovery Process  

Taking care of yourself after the surgery may require lifestyle changes and modifications to your diet. You’ll need to apply ice to any sore muscles and make sure the area is well ‘cushioned’ while you sleep. You’ll also need to wear loose clothing that doesn’t constrict your waistline or tugs and pulls around your stomach. Skin healing balms and other topical agents may help reduce the appearance of scars and other marks left over from the surgery.   

Still, the critical factor for recovery is adequate rest. You may need to skip the workouts for a few days and engage in only light physical activity. Any exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and sports that require extensive stretching or cardiovascular exercises will need to be avoided for up to two months after your procedure.  

Your cosmetic surgeon will guide you through the process of the abdominoplasty procedure during your initial consultation, and may give you an estimated recovery time so you can plan ahead.  Knowing what to expect from your procedure will help minimize anxieties and fear about the procedure, and can help you create a complete recovery and healing plan.  

You don’t have to worry about that stomach ‘pooch’ or excess fat around your waistline when you have the right cosmetic procedure. Learn more about abdominoplasty and other abdominal cosmetic procedures in our information guide, or find a cosmetic surgeon in your area for your initial consultation.