Abdominoplasty/tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes extra skin and fat tissue from the abdomen. You may need a tummy tuck after pregnancy, significant weight gain and then loss, in menopause or if you are generally unhappy with the way your stomach looks.
At Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery, we use only highly experienced plastic surgeons in breast, body and face surgery.
Tummy Tuck Surgery Guide
Read more about Tummy Tuck Surgery
About Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty?
It is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fat from your tummy. Today, it is among the five most popular plastic surgery procedures. This is mostly thanks to the great results it can accomplish and a short downtime post-op. Patient satisfaction from this procedure is high.
Some of the advantages of a Tummy Tuck procedure;
- A tummy tuck improves the aesthetic of the stomach.
- It can also repair abdominal muscle separation.
- Loose fat and skin are removed,
- It can increase health, mobility and self-esteem.
- And it can also improve patients’ intimate life.
Recovery Timeline and Exercising after Tummy Tuck
As with any other surgical procedure, the abdominoplasty procedure demands some downtime. The tummy tuck recovery timeline outlined below is an estimate: your recovery time may be slightly shorter or longer, depending on several factors.
Please consult your plastic surgeon with any questions or concerns you may have.
- During the first week, it is important to refrain from any kind of physical activity.
- However, very short and slow walks around the house are great.
- They increase the blood flow and speed up recovery.
- In the first few days post-op, make sure that there is someone around to help you.
- It’s also important to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Sleep and sleep position are equally important.
- Make sure that you are sleeping in a reclined position, to keep the abdominal muscles loose and relaxed.
- After the initial few days, you may go on long slow walks around your neighbourhood or across the street. However, you should avoid;
- Standing for prolonged periods of time
- Bending over
- Or, lifting anything heavy.
- You will receive a compression garment that you must wear.
- This garment puts mild pressure on your abdomen to keep the tummy in place and to help the body reabsorb any extra fluids that may accumulate causing swelling.
- You will also be given instructions on taking pain medication to reduce discomfort.
- Mild exercise is encouraged, although special attention should be paid to not lifting anything heavy and not performing over-strenuous exercises.
- During this week, the compression garment is still worn.
- You may take pain relievers as your doctor dictates.
Weeks 3 – 4
- You can resume some forms of exercise, provided they do not involve the abdominal muscles.
- Rest often and for a prolonged time.
- You may go back to work as long as it is not physically strenuous.
- Continue to eat a healthy well-balanced diet and make sure you drink plenty of fluids.
Week 5 – 6
- You can resume low-level exercise.
- This includes lifting light weights (approximately 1-2 kg) as well as exercises involving arms and legs.
- Longer walks are still great.
- During this period, make sure to listen to the signals your body is sending you: is there any pain, pressure, or heat that you may be feeling? If so, please refrain from exercising for a while longer.
- If the warning signs do not go away in a reasonable period, please contact your specialist plastic surgeon.
Weeks 7 – 8
- You can resume most forms of exercise at this stage. However, this still excludes any particularly strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting, boxing or any extreme sports.
- You can swim only if your plastic surgeon gives you the all-clear.
- Both, running outside and on a treadmill may also be resumed.
- You can resume most activities at this point.
- However, you may still have to wait if exercises are particularly strenuous.
- Make sure you wait past three months post-op to resume these more difficult activities.
Exercise after Abdominoplasty – Why is it important?
Exercise promotes blood flow and quick recovery times. Furthermore, exercise is a great way to clear your mind and feel better after post-op downtime. Always remember to follow your doctor’s guidelines, since any injury can result in a prolonged recovery time.
In the first days after the procedure, very light exercise is done, in the form of walking. This is to increase the blood flow and increase the speed of recovery.
In the next few days, or as your surgeon indicates, slightly heavier forms of physical activity can be done. Longer walks and light arm and leg exercises are encouraged to keep you in shape and further stimulate blood flow. However, should any warning signs appear, stop exercising and consult with your surgeon.
As the healing progresses you can resume more and more activities. As a rule of thumb, you will need to avoid swimming and heavy lifting the longest. This is due to the fact, that swimming can cause an infection of the wound. Heavy lifting can also reopen the wound and cause bleeding or infection.
FAQs about exercise after a Tummy Tuck
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THE LOWER BELLY POOCH?
- A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty surgery is a great way to get rid of a lower belly pooch. It removes a part of the fatty tissues that are found under the skin. It also removes a fraction of the skin itself.
- Your surgeon will determine the exact extent of the abdominoplasty surgery. It also depends on a variety of factors.
DOES A TUMMY TUCK MAKE YOUR WAIST SMALLER?
- Yes. Although not necessarily intentional, a tummy tuck can make your waist somewhat smaller.
- The removal of the fatty tissues under the skin and the extra skin has a tightening effect.
- If you combine a tummy tuck with liposuction or even with tightening of the abdominal muscles, the waist can get even smaller.
HOW LONG AFTER A TUMMY TUCK CAN I SLEEP ON MY SIDE?
- You should sleep in a reclined position for at least a few weeks after an abdominoplasty procedure. This is to aid with any tightness that you may be experiencing post-op and to assist with recovery.
- You can sleep on your side safely after some 6-8 weeks or once you get the all-clear from your surgeon.
- If any mishaps took place post-op, consult your surgeon before making any changes to your sleep position.
DOES A TUMMY TUCK LIFT YOUR PUBIC AREA?
- No. That is not the intention of a tummy tuck.
- A tummy tuck procedure addresses the abdomen only.
- Due to the tummy tuck procedure, the pubic area may look a little bit better, in purely aesthetic terms.
HOW LONG DOES THE TIGHTNESS LAST AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Some tightness is normal after a tummy tuck procedure. Your skin was stretched and now it needs some time to adjust and heal completely.
- The feeling of intense tightness will stay around for about a week after the tummy tuck procedure. Then, it gradually fades away as the skin stretches and the nerves recover.
- You can expect abdominal tightness to last for some 6 to 12 weeks, although in a much milder form.
HOW LONG AFTER TUMMY TUCK DO YOU SEE RESULTS?
- You will be able to see most results 3 months post-op. Be mindful that it may take up to a full year to see complete results, including the look of the scar.
- In the initial period after the surgery, the results cannot be seen because of the swelling that may take place.
- Remember, swelling is a normal part of the healing routine. You can minimize discomfort by using a compression garment.
CAN A TUMMY TUCK COME UNDONE?
- Tummy tucks are considered permanent.
- The skin and the fat tissue that our surgeons remove cannot grow back.
- However, you should be aware that weight fluctuations, pregnancies and menopause can make your skin stretch further.
- Furthermore, some research points to the possibility that new fat cells may form later in life.
HOW DO I GET MY STOMACH FLAT AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- The best way to have a flat stomach after a tummy tuck procedure is to maintain a healthy diet, monitor your caloric intake and make sure that you have a healthy diet.
- Some swelling and bloating may appear initially after the surgery, although it should subside after a few weeks. During this period, you will need to increase your protein and fluid intake and rest as much as you can: this speeds up the recovery and shortens the swelling period.
- Once your surgeon gives you the green light you can undertake some light exercises after a tummy tuck.
WHY IS MY STOMACH STILL BIG AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Your stomach may appear bigger after a tummy tuck procedure for the first few weeks for a variety of reasons.
- The most common one is localized swelling which can be controlled by utilizing a compression garment.
- Furthermore, pain medication that you may be taking to make the recovery and healing more comfortable may cause bloating and constipation.
- If the stomach is bigger after a significant period has passed, you may want to consult our experienced plastic surgeons or revise your diet: although a tummy tuck can remove some fat cells, especially if coupled with liposuction, it does not prevent the remaining fat cells from absorbing extra calories you may be consuming.
HOW SOON CAN YOU WORK OUT AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Approximately, 7-10 weeks after your tummy tuck procedure your surgeon will probably clear you for normal exercise.
- In addition, 6 weeks post-op tummy tuck you may be able to resume your exercise routine. However, only as a very mild form, your surgeon will advise you on this.
- Furthermore, you will need to postpone any weight-lifting after tummy tuck until the healing is complete. This is normally a minimum of 12 weeks.
- You may resume exercise after a tummy tuck without muscle repair sometime sooner.
HOW MUCH CAN I WALK AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- We recommend some mild form of walking a few days post-surgery, such as, around your house or to the mailbox.
- NO exercise the day or the evening of the surgery.
- After the first couple of days, you may resume some slow walking around your yard, and around your neighbourhood on the second-week post tummy tuck.
CAN I DO SQUATS AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Any form of light leg exercise is fine during the first 4 weeks of the recovery timeline.
- This does not imply performing the exercise with any kind of weights or additional upper-body movement, such as elliptical with the arms.
- If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the exercise immediately and consult your plastic surgeon.
CAN I WALK ON THE TREADMILL AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Yes, you can.
- Approximately six weeks after the tummy tuck procedure is enough for your body to heal enough to allow for some cardiovascular exercises.
- Make sure not to make them too long or strenuous: remember that you exercise to improve circulation here and still need to preserve energy that your body will use to recover from the procedure.
WHEN CAN I STRETCH AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- You should always remember that after a tummy tuck, your body needs to heal. The skin around the incision site needs to attach and so do the tummy muscles.
- Give your body sufficient time to rest and recover after abdominoplasty surgery.
- You must avoid any exercise that is too strenuous, such as stretching (strenuous on the tissues that are healing) until your plastic surgeon says it is OK to resume a normal workout routine.
CAN I DO SIT-UPS AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- You should avoid any core exercises for at least 12 weeks after the surgery.
- If there were any complications post-op, this period maybe even longer.
- It is important not to put any pressure on your abdominal and core muscles, to let them heal properly.
CAN YOU TONE YOUR STOMACH AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- You should avoid any muscle toning exercises, especially core muscle exercises.
- Your surgeon will provide you with an exercise timeline after tummy tuck that you must strictly follow. What happens if you lift too much after tummy tuck, you can increase pressure in the region that is still healing which in turn increases your chance of injury.
DOES FAT RETURN AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- The fat cells that are taken during your tummy tuck procedure cannot come back.
- However, some research shows that new fat cells may form and that the remaining fat cells can increase their size.
- So, to make sure that your fat does not return after a tummy tuck, maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise.
HOW CAN I AVOID WEIGHT GAIN AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?
- Maintaining a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of fluids and exercising regularly will help you both to avoid weight gain and to keep the muscles toned, thus maximising the results the tummy tuck procedure yields.
- In any case, strict obedience to your plastic surgeon’s post-op regime is necessary.
- In addition to following your surgeon’s postoperative guidelines for proper and efficient healing, maintaining a stable weight is essential. Tummy tuck patients should avoid significant weight fluctuations by eating a healthy, balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly.
Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a proven procedure for the removal of sagging skin and extra fat tissue from your stomach. It flattens the stomach, removes some of the extra weight and contours your body.
Further Reading about Exercise after a Tummy Tuck
- 7 Questions People Ask About Tummy Tuck Recovery – Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery
- Tips for Recovery and Activities After Tummy Tuck – Dr Craig Rubinstein
- Tummy Tuck Recovery: What to Expect – Healthline
- Tummy Tuck | Patient Guide – The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
- Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) – Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons