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Tummy Tuck Recovery Day by Day

The only thing standing between you and a flat tummy is your tummy tuck surgery and recovery. We’ve got the surgery handled. You’ll be under anesthesia and won’t need to do a thing. Recovery is your job. We’ll monitor you throughout the process and are available to answer any questions or concerns, but you’ll be the one putting in the time and effort to recover safely from surgery. 

Here’s what to expect from your tummy tuck recovery in Charlotte, NC. We’ll walk you through the process day by day.

Day 1: Surgery Day

Many patients go home on the same day as their tummy tuck procedure. Someone will need to drive you, so arrange for a trusted adult to bring you to and from your surgery. 

When you wake up from anesthesia, you’ll remain in recovery for a couple of hours. Our nurses will carefully monitor you and attend to your needs until you’re ready to return home. 

Patients report feeling groggy, tired, and occasionally nauseous. You’ll feel weak and sitting or standing up may be uncomfortable.

Days 2-7: The First Week

Rest and recover the first week after your tummy tuck procedure. This week you’ll be restricted in the activities you can perform and you’ll need to be off work. 

  • You’ll return to meet with us, usually the day after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will check on your healing, tell you more about your surgery, and answer any questions at your follow-up visit. 
  • You may have drains for the first few days. These drains help remove fluid from the surgical area. Drains are removed three to seven days after surgery. 
  • Patients wear compression bandaging or garments during the first week. Compression helps to reduce swelling. 
  • Start taking gentle walks as soon as you’re able. 

You may feel tired and tender and will likely have some bruising and swelling after surgery.

Days 8-14: The Second Week

During the second week, you’ll start to feel much better. By the end of the week, many patients are ready to return to work.  

As you resume your regular activities, do so slowly. Doing too much too soon can lead to injury or complications. It’s difficult, but don’t rush.  

Keep wearing your compression garment to limit swelling and hold your new contours in place.

Days 15-21: The Third Week

By Week 3, most patients are back to work and feel much better than they did originally. Most patients will no longer need prescription pain medication. If you still have discomfort, over-the-counter pain medications can be used. 

Keep wearing your compression garments. We usually recommend that patients use compression garments for about a month after surgery.

Week 4 and Beyond

By this point in recovery, you’ll be back to many activities. Most patients feel significantly better and can see the results of their procedure, a flatter and tighter tummy. 

  • Many patients can resume gentle exercise at four weeks post-surgery. Wait six to eight weeks before returning to abdominal exercises or very strenuous activities. 
  • Some residual swelling is common, even several weeks after surgery. 
  • Scars are usually very prominent at four weeks post-surgery but don’t worry. They will start to fade soon after. As scars heal, they become smoother and lighter. 

We’ll give you specific instructions about recovery and what to expect.

Making Tummy Tuck Recovery Easier

Our goal is an easy and comfortable recovery for all our tummy tuck patients. We’ll talk about simple strategies to improve your recovery experience. These options aren’t a good fit for every patient, but if you’re a good candidate, you can improve your recovery experience.

  • Drain-Free Abdominoplasty- Our drain-free abdominoplasty uses TissuGlu® Surgical Adhesive to eliminate the need for post-surgical drains. Cleaning and maintaining drains are some of the most difficult parts of tummy tuck recovery. Patients find that recovery is easier and faster when drains aren’t needed. 
  • Pain Medications- Prescription pain medications make recovery easier and more comfortable for many of our patients. We’ll talk with you about your options and help you find effective solutions for controlling discomfort after surgery. 

We are available to help throughout the recovery process. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns. 

Schedule your tummy tuck consultation at H/K/B in Charlotte, NC by contacting us online or by calling 704-659-9000.