What to Expect When Recovering From a Tummy Tuck

What to Expect When Recovering From a Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is a procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the midsection while also tightening the muscles in your lower abdomen. It can be helpful after weight loss or pregnancies.  Sometimes a tummy tuck is combined with a breast augmentation, lift, or reduction for a full-body makeover!

Tummy tucks are some of the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in the United States. Your recovery and post-operative care will focus on managing swelling, lower back pain, bowel problems, and scar healing.

Recovery Timeline

In most situations, a tummy tuck is an outpatient surgery, which means you will be able to go home the same day.

You will be required to wear compression garments, such as an abdominal binder for at least six weeks after surgery.  It is most important to avoid strenuous activity for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery and to avoid core exercise for the first 2 months after surgery.

For office/desk jobs that do not require strenuous activity or heavy lifting, most patients are ready to return to work 2 weeks after surgery.  For jobs that require heavy lifting or significant physical activity, patients may wait about 4 weeks before returning to work.

What to Expect During Tummy Tuck Recovery

After your surgery, your surgeon and the Straith Clinic team will review instructions for how to properly recover at home by explaining how to do the following:

  • Treatment of incisions
  • When to shower, clean, and change your dressings
  • When it’s okay to resume normal activity
  • What you’ll need to help relieve pain and manage discomfort after surgery
  • What type of exercise is appropriate during recovery
  • How to address any problems that may come up

Recovery Tips

Each patient, surgery, and circumstances are different – and so is the recovery.  It can take weeks to months to feel like your normal self again after a tummy tuck. You want to be sure to care for all aspects of your health by considering the following:


Maintaining a stable weight is the best way to maintain the results of the tummy tuck.  This is best achieved with a balanced diet.  Protein and nutrients are especially helpful while your body is healing from surgery.  It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.


In the first few weeks after your tummy tuck, you need to avoid strenuous activity and exercise.  Still, it is important to move around with light activity to maintain circulation in the legs.  This can be achieved by walking around inside the home or going for a leisurely walk.  After 4-6 weeks, you can return to your normal exercise routine.  Start slow and let your body be your guide for what feels tolerable.  You will want to wait 2 months before returning to core exercise (think planks!).  After 2 months, core exercise is a great way to maintain and enhance the beautiful contour improvement that comes with a tummy tuck.


You may need prescription pain pills regularly for the first week of recovery. As you need less prescription pain medication, over-the-counter pain medication can help to ease some of the post-surgical soreness.  Your healthcare provider will be able to recommend what might work best for you.


Typically, patients are able to shower 2 days after a tummy tuck.  Submersion of the incisions underwater (think bathtub, pool or hot tub) should be avoided for at least 2 weeks after surgery.

Contact Straith Clinic in Bingham Farms, Michigan

If you are interested in learning more about tummy tuck surgery and recovery, contact Straith Clinic in Bingham Farms to set up consultations with Dr. William Sabbagh or Dr. Marissa Baca. They are both board-certified plastic surgeons who have extensive experience with cosmetic body contouring procedures. Their staff offers top-notch care to help you recover after surgery and return to your normal routine as quickly as possible.

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