As with other elective cosmetic surgeries, a tummy tuck requires a significant recovery period before patients can return to work and their normal activities. For the majority of patients, general healing will take between six and eight weeks. After this point, swelling will be the main symptom. Finally, this will slowly diminish until you finally have no swelling after around six months to one year.
Of course, it’s also important to note that tummy tuck recovery time is different for everyone. For example, someone who has a tummy tuck plus liposuction may have a longer recovery than someone who just undergoes a tummy tuck. Likewise, if you have a tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover, you’ll likely have an even longer recovery period. Your anatomy and general health will also play key roles in the duration of your recovery.
Up ahead, we’ll take a look at tummy tuck recovery week by week to help you understand exactly what you should expect after surgery.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Time Week by Week
Week 1: Right after surgery, patients will experience bruising, tightness, swelling, and some overall pain. Dr. Steinberg will provide pain medications and will recommend other at-home treatments such as cold compresses, which can be used to alleviate some of this discomfort.
Patients should follow the directions provided by Dr. Steinberg. This means wearing your compression garment, avoiding strenuous activities, drinking plenty of water, eating an easily-digestible and nutritious diet, getting plenty of sleep and rest, and keeping a close eye on their incision sites.
Week 2: If the patient had drains, these will be removed during the second week if they weren’t already removed in the first week. Patients will continue to experience some bruising, swelling, tightness, and overall pain, but these symptoms will be far less severe. It is still important to avoid strenuous activities and to continue wearing your compression garment.
Weeks 3 and 4: While patients will still have some swelling and tightness, overall, these symptoms will have diminished. Bruising should be mostly gone as well.
Patients should begin to have more energy and will be able to stand up a bit straighter when walking. However, it is still important to avoid strenuous activities, and (usually) to continue wearing your compression garment every day. Continue on with plenty of water and rest and a healthy diet.
Weeks 5, 6, and Beyond: Once patients reach weeks five and six, they should notice a marked improvement in their comfort levels. While it will still be necessary to avoid strenuous exercise for at least a few more weeks, patients will be more mobile overall, and soreness should be notably reduced.
As the weeks go on, patients should become increasingly comfortable and will soon be able to return to their normal activities. By the two-month mark, the majority of their healing should be complete, though slight swelling will likely persist.
Warning Signs After Tummy Tuck Surgery
Part of a successful tummy tuck recovery time is avoiding any complications, and this means knowing what warning signs to look for.
Below is a list of the top warning signs to be cognizant of. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to contact Dr. Steinberg as soon as possible.
- Excessive bleeding
- Wound separation
- Wound infection (notable redness and/or pus coming from the incision sites)
- Fluid accumulation
- Fat necrosis (often characterized by lumps beneath the skin)
- Blood clots
- High fever
- Intense pain
- A generally unwell feeling that does not go away
Frequently Asked Questions About Tummy Tuck Recovery Time
What happens 2 weeks after tummy tuck surgery?
You’ll notice a significant improvement 2 weeks after tummy tuck surgery. By this time, the tightness, bruising, and discomfort will have diminished, yet you will still have some swelling on your abdomen.
Do tummy tucks have a hard recovery?
You’ll have both bad and good days during your recovery from tummy tuck surgery. For the majority of patients, the worst days after tummy tuck surgery are at the beginning of the recovery period. Things generally improve from here.
Mostly, your challenges will be soreness, stiffness, and the inability to move and maneuver in the ways you want. You’ll be fatigued and may lack energy for a time. Yet, you’ll also have to take care when sleeping to only lie in specific positions, which can also be cumbersome.
How long does it take for a tummy tuck to look good?
This depends, but most patients see significant results after about two or three months. At this point, you should feel comfortable showing off your new figure, however, you may have some residual swelling.
Your surgical site will continue to heal, and your scars will continue to fade for the following months. It may not be until a year or so after surgery that your swelling is completely gone, and you are totally healed from surgery.
What is the fastest way to recover from a tummy tuck?
There is no “shortcut” to tummy tuck recovery time. It’s best to simply follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions, get plenty of rest, wear your compression garment, avoid strenuous activities, and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Is mini tummy tuck recovery time any different from standard tummy tuck recovery?
In part, yes. A mini tummy tuck recovery may be slightly less intense and shorter than a full tummy tuck (standard tummy tuck) recovery. This would mostly be due to the smaller incision size and the lack of need for a belly button incision with a mini tummy tuck.
Also, check out 5 Things To Know Before Getting A Tummy Tuck.
Contact Us Today to Schedule a Consultation
Tummy tuck surgery is one of the most impactful cosmetic procedures available today. Whether your goal is to look great in a bikini or you just want to feel like yourself again after having children or losing a significant amount of weight, this surgery can transform your confidence.
To find out if you’re a good candidate and learn more about Tummy Tuck recovery time, contact us today to schedule your consultation appointment. Dr. Ashley Steinberg would be happy to sit down with you to talk about your goals and discuss your options for surgery.