How long does it take to recover from tummy tuck surgery?

luglio 21, 2022

Tummy tuck is among the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in the U.S. [1]. Men and women of all ages choose to have tummy tuck surgery to eliminate excess or loose abdominal skin after pregnancy, weight loss, or other factors. As with any cosmetic procedure, the road to recovery might seem intimidating and daunting for many. However, understanding what to expect during the healing period and having the right compression garments can make the recovery journey easier and faster.

What is tummy tuck surgery?

Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure used to remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal area. Men and women may choose to go under tummy tuck surgery for multiple reasons, including rapid weight loss, post-pregnancy, or ageing skin.

A tummy tuck procedure requires an incision in the area between the belly button and the pubic hairline. [2] However, the length and shape of the incision will be determined by the type of operation and the amount of excess skin to be removed. Like most cosmetic surgeries, abdominoplasty is done under general anaesthesia.

The first few days after tummy tuck surgery

Although tummy tuck surgery is a proven and safe way to create a firmer and smoother abdominal profile, it does come with some recovery time.

Immediately after tummy tuck surgery, you will likely feel pain and discomfort in the area. However, prescribed medications will ease the pain and help with inflammation. During this time, your surgeon might also advise you to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and minimize excess fluid build-up. After 7 to 10 days, tightness and discomfort around the area will start to go down, and you should soon feel like yourself. However, you should still avoid strenuous activity or exercise for about 4-6 weeks. [3]

Tips for fast recovery after tummy tuck surgery

Following tummy tuck surgery, your body will need some time to recover. Ensure that you follow your doctor’s advice and keep the below in mind after your operation. [3]

  • Limit sodium and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eat fibre-rich foods to avoid constipation as straining may cause discomfort during the first weeks of recovery.
  • Avoid high-impact activities and heavy lifting
  • Plan to take at least two weeks off work or studies; if you have kids, plan for assistance.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking during the first weeks of recovery.
  • Wear compression garments to minimize swelling and accelerate healing.
  • Lightly massage the area to promote healing.
  • Apply scar minimizing technologies to help heal the incision site, such as vitamin E, silicone sheets, or scar guard.
  • Don’t wear tight clothing.
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics
  • Keep the incision site clean and dry, following your doctor’s advice
  • Take time off from physically demanding work


Types of tummy tucks

Depending on your concerns and goals, there are different types of tummy tucks available. Your cosmetic surgeon will recommend the type of tummy tuck that is suitable for you. [4]

Mini tummy tuck: A less extensive surgery that addresses loose skin with a single incision just above the pubic mound. The benefits of a mini tummy tuck include a shorter and quicker recovery.

Full tummy tuck: Addresses the full length of the abdominal wall through a horizontal or U-shaped incision. Recovery is longer, but benefits include a smoother, more defined abdomen.

Extended tummy tuck: An extensive surgery that involves a longer incision to remove excess fat from the abdomen and the flanks. Scars after an extended tummy tuck might be visible.

Factors affecting recovery time

Although there is a general recovery timeline after tummy tuck surgery, it’s important to understand that each person heals at their own pace. Some common factors that impact the recovery timeframe include:

  • Type of tummy tuck surgery
  • Age
  • General health and health conditions
  • Post-surgery care
  • Amount of excess fat

Questions to ask your doctor

Understanding what to expect post-surgery is fundamental for preparing yourself mentally and physically. Before you embark on your new self, it’s important to ask your doctor questions about your recovery, such as:

  • How to care for your incision site
  • What to avoid in terms of activity
  • When to return for follow-up care
  • What medication you must take after the operation
  • What you can eat
  • How to wear compression garments and for how long.
  • How much to rest
  • What clothing to wear
  • How to bathe after the operation

Wearing compression garments after tummy tuck surgery

Bruising, swelling, and pain are common side effects after tummy tuck surgery. During this time, compression garments can go a long way in minimizing pain and accelerating your healing process.

Abdominal Compression Pro is a unique, tri-band compression binder that provides gentle compression to the abdominal area. The compression relieves pain by decreasing swelling and bruising and counteracts the increased abdominal pressure during coughing, sneezing, and straining. The upper band can easily be folded for added comfort and increased support to the lumbar region when sitting down.


Tummy tuck surgery can help you regain confidence by removing excess or unwanted fat. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to tummy tuck recovery, but with the proper support and knowledge, healing is attainable and manageable. 

Although this article serves as a general recovery guide, it’s essential to recognize that each person will experience recovery differently, depending on the type of procedure, any health problems, and adherence to post-op protocols. Your surgeon will provide you with a post-operative care plan tailored to your needs and the type of surgery.




[1] 2022. 

[2] American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 2022. Tummy Tuck Procedure Steps.

[3] 2022. 

[4] ABCS. 2022. Tummy Tuck | Patient Guide | The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. 

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