Tummy tuck recovery and aftercare
A tummy tuck surgery should be seen as a relatively large plastic surgery operation and from the patients perspective the immediate after cycle is fairly uncomfortably. For the body the surgery is a great strain and takes time to heal.
Length of stay at the clinic
Depending on the scope of your tummy tuck you will leave the clinic after a few hours or up to a couple of days. You will be given a compressing stomach girdle which you will wear for up to two months.
Pain and tiredness
The area around the stomach will be swollen and you will be in pain for the first days after surgery. The pain is coped with painkilling medication. The pain that originates from movement is however hard to treat.
You will feel tired during the first weeks. It is also good if your faeces are loose so not to strain the stomach musculature when going to the toilet.
The sutures are generally removed in turns, beginning approximately after one week and finished after two weeks, unless the surgeon has used dissolvable sutures that disappear on their own.
Swelling and scaring
Swelling above the scar can last for several months and for the first three to six months while the scars are healing it will worsen before improving. This is completely normal. Expect it to take up to 12-18 months before the scars are smooth and pale. However, they will never fully disappear but can be hidden by most clothing, including swimwear.
You can learn more about scars and how to create the best possible conditions for fine ones after your tummy tuck on the information page about scars (coming soon).
Returning to normal activity after a tummy tuck
It can take weeks to months until you feel fully recovered. If you were in good shape to begin with and had strong stomach abdominal muscles the recovery will be substantially quicker. Some people return to work one week after their tummy tuck for others it can take up to a month.
Hard exercise should be avoided until you no longer feel discomfort. It is most important not to strain the abdominal musculature when lifting but to lift correctly, i.e. with the legs and maintain a straight back.
Restrictions following your tummy tuck
You will receive instruction from your plastic surgeon about showering and changing your bandages. Generally all white bandages are removed after three to four days and thereafter you can shower as usual.
You are to move slowly and will both stand and walk bent forward for the first days in order to avoid straining the wounds. However, it is important that you begin moving as soon as possible after your surgery.