What Should I Expect After My Tummy Tuck Procedure?

Published on January 10, 2019
By Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Acadiana

A tummy tuck is a significantly complex and invasive surgery, and as such, your recovery should not be treated lightly. If you don’t follow the instructions provided to you and give yourself enough time to heal fully, you could experience severe complications and even affect the outcome of your surgery.


Here is our guide to what to expect after your tummy tuck procedure.

Staying in our medical facility after your procedure

After the general anesthetic has worn off, you will still need to stay in the care of your healthcare provider until you are released to go home. This is usually only for a day or two each side of your procedure. This will help ensure that you get the best start to the recovery process after your tummy tuck surgery and that there are no immediate complications.


It is far better to be prepared for the fact that you will almost certainly be in some discomfort than it is to try and avoid thinking about the prospect. You will have a fairly large wound to contend with, and it is likely that you have had your stomach muscles stitched back together so that you have a flat, firmer core once more. Both of these mean that some pain is certainly on the agenda. It is helpful to stock up on over-the-counter pain relief, but our surgeon will also be able to prescribe you stronger medication to ward off your discomfort if you need it. Whatever drugs you are given, ensure you take them as prescribed, even if you think you don’t need them.


Our surgeon will need to dress your abdomen after your procedure. This will take the form of a compression garment which will help to protect the incision as well as reduce the amount of swelling and inflammation you experience. This is vital to kick-start the healing process and you should wear your compression garment for as long as directed by our doctor. Our surgical team will also show you how to change your dressings.

Moving around and exercise

Although it may not be very comfortable, you will be encouraged to start moving around within 24 hours of your procedure. Gentle movement has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing a blood clot after surgery and improve your circulation, which helps to speed up the recovery process. Make sure you have someone with you as your balance and strength could be compromised as a result of your surgery.

Our surgeon will recommend that you increase the amount that you move around a little each day. However, you will need to hold off on exercising, heavy lifting and anything else energetic for at least six weeks. You will be advised when it is safe for you to recommence these activities. You may also find that your fitness and strength has dropped a little while you have been restricted in your mobility, so it is important to build up to your usual activities slowly. If you are concerned that anything you are doing may be placing stress on your tummy tuck wounds, speak to our surgeon.

Taking time off work

Unsurprisingly, you will need to schedule at least 10 days away from work, or longer if your job involves anything more physical than sitting at a desk. You should also avoid driving for this period of time as the movements needed to use the medals and sudden breaking could cause your wounds to rupture. If you need a medical letter from our surgeon to give to your employer, ensure that you ask for this ahead of the procedure so that you can submit it before and don’t need to be stressed about dealing with work while you are recovering.

Scarring and the final result

You will have some scarring after a tummy tuck procedure. This may appear red and angry at first, but like all scar tissue, over time it will begin to fade and become much less noticeable. Once they are fully healed, many patients choose to use moisturizers specifically designed to reduce scarring and these have been noted to be fairly successful. You should be able to see a significant improvement in your shape immediately after your surgery, but there may be some swelling and bruising and so your final results will be visible after these have eased.

If you have further questions about what to expect after a tummy tuck procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact us and get in touch with our experienced and knowledgeable cosmetic surgery team.