Tips for recovering from a tummy tuck to heal as quickly as possible

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that tightens the abdomen. This is done by surgically removing fat and skin and (in most cases) improving the integrity of the abdominal muscles.

This elective surgery is one of those that some people pay attention to when they want to lose weight. Sometimes this is desirable after significant weight loss.

Sometimes the abdominal muscles are divided in half. This condition, known as diastasis recti abdominis muscles , occurs most often as a result of pregnancy due to increased fetal pressure on the muscles. It can also be the result of excess weight on the stomach.

A tummy tuck may involve joining these muscles.

Long-term results are not guaranteed. However, preventing excess weight after a tummy tuck helps keep your stomach flat.

This article explains what to expect from tummy tuck surgery and ways to speed up the recovery process.

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Tips for recovering from a tummy tuck

Tummy tuck flattens the abdomen by removing excess skin and fat and bonding the skin. The procedure may also include surgical anchoring of the underlying abdominal muscles to give them the appearance of a tight core.

This major surgery uses a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique (with one or more small incisions and camera assistance to visualize structures) or a more extensive open technique (which involves one or more incisions that give the surgeon visibility and access to the underlying and abdominal fat ). muscles) …

  • A full tummy tuck usually involves a large abdominal incision, a large removal of fat and skin, and possibly the creation of a new belly button.
  • A partial tummy tuck may involve a smaller incision, a less extensive tissue resection, and may not include an incision around the belly button.

A reverse tummy tuck is a partial tummy tuck in which loose skin is removed from the upper abdomen. Sometimes a partial tummy tuck is used to remove skin and fat that is only on the lower abdomen.

When the paired rectus abdominis muscles separate, it is called a diastasis rectus abdominis . These muscles can be sewn together to reduce the appearance of the abdomen in a full or partial tummy tuck procedure.

With any tummy tuck surgery, you will need IV sedation or general anesthesia .

Since a tummy tuck is cosmetic, most health plans don't cover the procedure.


You will be advised not to have this procedure if you are at high risk for surgical complications. You may be at risk for postoperative problems if you have a severe chronic illness, a bleeding disorder , or an immunodeficiency . Smoking is also associated with postoperative infections after tummy tuck surgery.

Sometimes problems like a serious infection or newly discovered kidney disease can cause surgery to be postponed until the health problem is under control, even if these problems are discovered on the day of surgery.

It is important to know that anyone expecting significant weight gain or loss, or women planning pregnancy, may experience skin, fat, or muscle changes that will alter the cosmetic effect of a tummy tuck. Therefore, although the procedure is not prohibited for these people, it may not lead to the desired result.

A permanent postoperative scar will be visible when fully separated, but it should follow a natural crease that runs along the lower abdomen along the pelvic bone. If you are very concerned about this, you may not want to have a tummy tuck. (Discuss the incision and possible scars with your doctor in advance so that he can make an informed decision in your case.)

Potential risks

In general, the results of this procedure are good, and most people are satisfied with the results. Note that this operation will create a scar along the lower abdomen.

However, along with the usual risks associated with surgery and anesthesia, a tummy tuck can lead to additional postoperative problems.

You may develop health complications or a different appearance than what you expected or discussed with your healthcare provider prior to surgery.

Complications of a tummy tuck can include:

  • Wound infection
  • Blood clots
  • Asymmetry of the shape of the abdomen.
  • Severe scarring or discoloration of the skin.
  • Loose skin
  • Numbness or pain at the surgery site.
  • Unsatisfactory cosmetic results

A full procedure is more likely to cause complications than a partial procedure.

Purpose of tummy tuck surgery

Abdominoplasty is performed for purely cosmetic reasons: to make the abdominal area flatter and tighter. You may want to consider this surgery if your abdomen appears larger or when your skin is saggy, especially if it is due to stretching.

Your skin and muscle tone and elasticity may have decreased if you were overweight or if you gained and then lost weight significantly as a result of multiple pregnancies. Severe weight loss, even after weight loss surgery, can cause excess skin to become flabby and flabby.

This procedure can improve your quality of life if it makes you more satisfied with your appearance, but it cannot improve your physical health .

Abdominoplasty is not a substitute for diet and exercise and does not result in significant weight loss.

Tummy tuck is not weight loss surgery . You may be wondering if another type of surgery might be right for you when deciding whether to proceed with your tummy tuck.

Other treatments that your healthcare provider can discuss with you include:

  • Liposuction involves removing fat without surgically reshaping the skin or muscles, and is not limited to the abdomen. Like tummy tuck, liposuction is a cosmetic procedure.
  • A panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin from the abdomen without surgery for fat or muscle.
  • Bariatric surgery is a weight loss surgery that involves the surgical restructuring of the digestive system to avoid overeating and absorbing excess calories. This is generally done to prevent the medical complications of obesity, not for cosmetic reasons.

You will need some pre-operative tests and a medical clearance to make sure you can safely perform this procedure, including preliminary laboratory evaluations such as complete blood counts (CBC) and electrolyte tests to assess health problems.

Additionally, your healthcare provider may also perform other preoperative tests to ensure that you can safely undergo a tummy tuck if you already have a health problem that puts you at high risk during surgery, such as heart disease or lung disease. .

How to prepare

Often times, the decision to have a tummy tuck takes several months or more. You can try losing weight and exercising before deciding to proceed with this procedure to see if you can achieve the desired result without surgery.

Before planning your tummy tuck, make sure you have a relatively stable weight to get the most out of the procedure .


Your procedure will take place in an operating room or in an operating room at a hospital or surgical center.

You will most likely be discharged the same day as the procedure, especially if you have a less invasive or partial procedure. Overnight hospitalization may be required if you have health problems, complications during surgery, or inability to control pain with oral medications.

Your healthcare provider will explain the estimated length of your hospital stay when discussing your surgical plan.

What to wear

You will need to change into your hospital gown for your procedure so that you can wear whatever you want to your surgery appointment.

Food and drink

You will need to refrain from eating and drinking after midnight on the eve of your tummy tuck.


Your healthcare provider may ask you to stop taking blood thinners a few days before your procedure. If you are taking oral steroids or diabetes medications, you may need to follow the adjusted dosage regimen several days before your tummy tuck.

Vitamins and herbal supplements are usually stopped a month before surgery, and oral contraceptives are often stopped for a cycle.

Make sure you clearly understand the instructions for your case and follow them to the letter.

What Brig

Bring your ID, insurance information, and payment method when you arrive for your tummy tuck appointment.

Bring comfortable clothes to change into when you return home. Loose-fitting clothing is recommended to allow access to postoperative drainage, if available.

Lifestyle changes before surgery

Before your procedure, you should be at a healthy weight and maintain a good diet to maximize your chances of a good recovery.

Your doctor or dietitian may talk with you about dietary issues several weeks before surgery. If you are overweight or overweight, you can start with an eating plan to ensure you are getting the nutrients and calories you need to stay healthy and recover better.

Because smoking interferes with your recovery, your healthcare provider may also ask you to stop smoking if you smoke.

What to Expect the Day of Surgery

When you arrive for your appointment, you will sign the consent forms and register. You will be directed to the preoperative area where you will change into a gown and view your vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen level, and respiratory rate).

You may have blood tests, including a complete blood count and electrolytes, to make sure you don't have acute health problems or infections.

Your vital signs will be continuously monitored before, during, and for at least several hours after your surgery.

Before the surgery

When it is time for surgery, you will go to the operating room or operating room. An intravenous (IV) tube will be placed. You may also have a urinary catheter placed so urine can flow out of your bladder, especially if you have general anesthesia.

During the procedure, you may be given general anesthesia or IV sedation (controlled anesthesia):

  • For partial abdominoplasty, intravenous sedation can be used. In this case, you will be given pain relievers through an IV to make you sleepy.
  • Typically, a more extensive surgical procedure requires general anesthesia. You will be given pain reliever through an IV and it will paralyze your muscles to the point where you will not be able to breathe on your own. For this reason, your breathing tube will be intubated so that you can breathe with mechanical support during surgery.

The surgical team will cover your abdomen with a bandage, exposing the incision area. The skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Your surgeon may measure or mark areas in the abdomen before making incisions .

During operation

The tummy tuck procedure can last two to five hours, and it depends a lot on the technique used.

  • In a full tummy tuck, the surgeon will first make two incisions: one from the femur on one side to the femur on the other side of the body, next to the pubic region; another incision around the navel.
  • If you have a partial tummy tuck, your surgeon will make one or two smaller incisions. This is most likely an open procedure, although laparoscopy is sometimes used.

After the incisions are made, the skin is shed from the abdominal muscles. Excess fat is removed from the abdominal area.

If they are separated, the abdominal muscles can be brought together and sutured.

The separated skin flap is then placed on the abdomen; excess skin is removed for a denser appearance. If your surgeon has included the belly button in the incisions, it will be reconstructed into a position where it looks natural.

A surgical drain can be inserted under the skin to collect excess fluid. It will stay in place for several weeks before being removed.

The incisions are then closed with stitches and a sterile bandage is applied.

After the operation

After the operation is completed, the anesthesia will stop (intravenous) or reverse (general). If you have a tube to help you breathe, it will be removed so you can breathe on your own before leaving the operating room.

You will be transferred to the postoperative room where your vital signs will continue to be monitored. When you wake up and feel stable, the nurse may collect urine from the catheter or ask if you can urinate into the container.

It will be a few hours before you can get up and walk with help. Usually, you will go home or stay in the hospital according to the plan you had before your surgery.

During postoperative convalescence or during a postoperative hospital stay:

  • Your medical team will take care of your surgical wound and drainage and show you how to do it at home.
  • You will receive pain relievers and your healthcare professional will instruct you on how to manage your postoperative pain .
  • You will resume (or receive instructions on when to resume) any prescribed medication.
  • Before you leave home, your healthcare team will make sure you can walk, eat, and use the bathroom comfortably and safely.

If you show signs of complications, such as fever or severe pain, within hours of your recovery, you may need to stay in the hospital longer than planned to evaluate and treat your condition.


Recovery from any type of tummy tuck can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. However, in general, if you have a large wound and / or a significant amount of skin and fat has been removed, you should expect a longer recovery than if a small wound and a small amount of tissue had been removed.

Careful postoperative care helps prevent complications.


Keep the area clean and dry, and be sure to care for the wound and drain according to the instructions you received at the hospital. Make sure you know how to change the dressing if necessary and if it is waterproof, so take all necessary steps to keep the area dry while you bathe.

A visible abdominal scar after tummy tuck may not disappear significantly for up to a year after surgery. Keeping it out of the sun can help with healing.

During the recovery period, you will need to wear compression garments over the bandage and under the garment to keep swelling under control.

If you have pain, redness, discharge, pus, fever, or chills, call your doctor right away. The same is true if the fluid from the surgical drain (if you have one) increases in quantity or begins to look bloody or cloudy.

For a few weeks after your tummy tuck, you should avoid strenuous activity or lifting heavy objects. If you have a doctor's clearance, you can go back to work and start exercising .

Follow up

When you go to your doctor's appointment, your drain and wound will be examined. When the drain is no longer needed, it will be removed. A sterile suture or strip can be used to close the hole in the skin.

Your surgical wound will be examined and the nonabsorbable stitches will be removed as soon as it heals.

After you recover from your tummy tuck, you will not need any special long-term care.

Possible future operations

Generally, tummy tuck surgery does not require additional procedures and generally does not cause medical problems.

If you are not satisfied with your postoperative scar, you can discuss the scar revision procedure with your plastic surgeon. Your scar may not be what you expected if you have healing problems or a wound infection after surgery.

Any future abdominal surgical procedure for any medical or cosmetic reason will need to be planned with your incisions in mind.

Lifestyle adjustments

Weight gain can reverse the effects of surgery by adding fat to the abdomen and allowing the muscles to spread. Weight gain followed by weight loss can cause the skin to become saggy again.

Exercise and a healthy diet are essential for optimal long-term weight management and benefits after tummy tuck surgery.

If you are prone to extreme dieting, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.

Get the word of drug information

Tummy tuck is a routine cosmetic surgery that you may want to consider if you want a flatter, firmer abdomen. There are many issues to consider when deciding if this treatment is right for you, including concerns about healing times and scarring. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of this surgery.

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