7 Questions people ask about abdominoplasty recovery
Here are some helpful tips about recovery from Tummy Tuck surgery (Abdominoplasty).
Firstly, no surgery or tummy tuck recovery is ever identical. Each abdominoplasty surgery is as unique as the patient who has the procedure. Each person’s recovery period after a Tummy Tuck will also be unique.
Secondly, a variety of genetic and lifestyle factors may impact your actual Tummy Tuck recovery experiences. These include:
- Your perceptions, your individual sensitivities, your environment
- Your sleeping habits and emotional state
- Your understanding of what to expect
- Your nutritional choices and whether or not you smoke
Thirdly, your discomfort or healing period length may vary depending on:
- Your tolerance for discomfort and your pain receptors
- Whether or not your Surgeon used drains.
- Whether you had a complication such as an infection or bleeding
- Your patience levels for healing
- How long you can rest before having to resume your normal responsibilities
- Remember, whatever you do, do NOT smoke. Ever. Not even one.
*Smoking of any kind greatly increases all of your risks related to having plastic surgery, including risks related to Tummy Tuck surgery. If you haven’t quit smoking yet, don’t have surgery – or get professional help immediately to quit.
Read more about Lymphatic Drainage Massage Therapy after Plastic Surgery.
Download the Tummy Tuck Guide for more information on recovery
Read more about Tummy Tuck Surgery
Tummy Tuck Recovery – What to expect
1. What is the normal recovery time for a tummy tuck?
- The recovery time from a Tummy Tuck surgery can vary from patient to patient.
- It can be helpful to allow 3 months or more to feel completely recovered – although most patients are through the majority of the healing period in just a few week’s time.
- Bruising and swelling, can take longer than 2 weeks.
- On average, you’ll need 2 weeks or more off of your normal work, parenting and home responsibilities; plus another 6 to 12 weeks to allow your body to recover and heal.
2. What you can and can’t do after getting a Tummy Tuck?
- You’ll typically can’t DRIVE a car, lift children or anything else, for several weeks after having a Tummy Tuck.
- You’ll typically need to wait about 10-12 weeks before resuming any more strenuous activities, sometimes longer.
- High impact sports or training should be avoided for the duration specified by your Surgeon.
- If you are a competitive athlete, discuss your competition goals and your schedule with your Surgery planning team as far in advance as possible.
- Remember, when you get a Tummy Tuck, your body has been through reconstructive surgery.
- You may not feel fully healed for up to 3 months to as long as 4 or 5 months.
- Some patients say their healing felt like it took 6 months to up to a year – remember, every person’s different.
- But in general, most patients get back to the majority of their normal day to day activities within a period of a few months.
- Be patient!
3. How painful is a Tummy Tuck?
It may even leave you feeling as if you can’t stand tall. In time, the skin will adjust and the sensations will become less uncomfortable.
- Discomfort and the sensation of extreme abdominal skin tightness (that leaves you feeling you can’t properly stand up or stretch tall) will typically subside over a period of several days to several weeks.
- This is part of the process of getting you a tighter, flatter tummy.
- The scar maturation of your incision lines can take up to a year to fully mature (we offer special minimisation treatments, ask us during a consultation).
4. What are some tips to help me heal and recover faster?
- Even if you’re healthy, don’t expect to ‘bounce back’ quickly – especially if you had a sophisticated procedure that included liposuction shaping as well as an Abdominoplasty and Diastasis Recti Repair.
- Make sure you have someone there to help you for – ideally – a week or two after surgery (prepare meals, help you dress/bathe or go to the bathroom) – as your body is going to need healing time.
- Don’t push yourself or you could harm your incision lines, including leading to an infection or tearing out your stitches – or lead to a bigger scar.
- Do your research so you know what to expect.
- Be patient about how long it takes; expect variance.
- Use your RAPID RECOVERY TIPS as instructed, including all suggested supplements and probiotics.
- Set your healing environment up to be conducive to resting and recovery (make it a nice place to sleep, rest and heal). Read more on How to Sleep After Abdominoplasty.
Ask your Plastic Surgeon for information and support if you have any concerns about your healing process or your incision line care.
5. Why is the recovery time for a mini tummy tuck different?
- The mini Tummy Tuck recovery time is likely to be a bit shorter than a full Tummy Tuck.
- It depends on what type of procedure was performed.
- Even a ‘mini tummy tuck’ is a bespoke procedure, so no two mini tummy tucks will ever be identical.
- If liposuction was also used for shaping, your recovery may take a bit longer than if your procedure involved only skin reduction.
- The factors listed above will influence recovery from a full tummy tuck vs a mini tummy tuck.
In other words, the same factors still apply for a mini tummy tuck as for a full tummy tuck. The key difference is that you may have less discomfort or less abdominal tightness, and you may be able to return to normal activities a few weeks sooner than if you’ve had a full tummy tuck/abdominoplasty with abdominal muscle repairs for diastasis recti (torn abs).
However, few patients are suitable candidates for a mini-tummy tuck, and it may not get them the tighter, trimmer tummy area they’re wanting. If you have a mini Tummy Tuck, chances are you are very athletic and simply have a bit of loose skin (but no real abdominal muscle separation and no excess abdominal fat).
- Be sure you DON’T rush back into exercising after a mini-tummy tuck.
- Ask your Plastic Surgeon what he or she recommends about returning to exercise after an Abdominoplasty or Mini Tummy Tuck
6. Why does the recovery from Tummy Tuck Surgery vary so much from patient to patient?
The main reason is that no two Tummy Tuck procedures are alike. Every surgery is bespoke. The type of Tummy Tuck surgery you have may be more complex, or more intensive a procedure, than another person.
Additional factors that can impact your healing and recovery after a Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty include:
- your social support system and at-home support
- your overall health
- your skin health/skin condition
- whether or not liposuction was used for improved body shaping
- the quality of the rest you’re getting, and what you eat, drink and otherwise consumer
- life stress; unexpected stressful events
- whether you return to work too soon
So expect some variance and ask your Surgeon what is normal during recovery from a Tummy Tuck.