Thinking of having a tummy tuck or have one scheduled? If so, you may be concerned about the recovery process. While tummy tuck recovery depends upon many different factors, such as your age, your weight, your overall health, and the type of tummy tuck you undergo, there are some things you can expect no matter your personal circumstances.
The Tummy Tuck Recovery Process
After your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure, you may need to stay in the hospital for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. But once you leave the hospital your true recovery process will begin.
Week One: The first week of your recovery is typically the most uncomfortable. Your abdomen will be swollen, bruised, and sore. Putting ice packs on the area will help reduce swelling. Your doctor will prescribe a pain medication to help with the pain. Make sure to take the pain medication as directed. Additionally, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to help prevent infection. Because tummy tucks require incisions, your body can be prone to bacterial infection. Taking these antibiotics will help you avoid any such problems and will actually help speed the recovery process.
During this time, you will also be wearing a compression garment on your abdomen 24 hours a day to help reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. This compression garment will also ensure your body heals into the contour you are looking for. Make sure to change your bandages and clean the area daily.
In the first week to ten days, you should relax. In fact, you should not undertake any vigorous activities for up to six weeks. However, do make sure to get some exercise. Try to take a short walk (around your house is fine) every hour. This keeps the circulation flowing in the body, and helps with recovery. When lining down, place a pillow under your knees to help alleviate any discomfort. Take sponge baths during the first week.
Throughout your entire recovery process, do not drink alcohol, do not smoke, and remember cut out salt, as this will help prevent bloating.
Week Two: During the second week of your recovery, the pain will subside, the swelling will lessen, and your bruises will fade. Follow your medication schedule, do only light activities, and rest whenever possible. In week two, the stitches are typically removed. Change your bandages regularly and keep wearing your compression garment 24 hours a day. Some people return to work after 10 or 14 days, but you should still avoid strenuous activities.
Weeks Three and Four: Most people feel normal after three or four weeks. You can typically start to do some light exercises, but make sure to consult your doctor first. You should not do any strenuous exercising yet. By week six, you should be able to resume regular exercising. During weeks three and four, the swelling, pain, and bruising should be gone. You can typically stop wearing your compression garment at this time. You can go back to your normal diet by week four and may drink alcohol in moderation.
You may still have some numbness in the months after your tummy tuck procedure, but this is normal. Wearing garments like Spanx can help. Consult your doctor if you have worrying pain, or if you have any other questions.