How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a surgical technique that helps to remove excess quantities of fat and skin from the abdomen. Also referred to as abdominoplasty, it can also restore separated or weakened muscular tissues, giving you a smooth and flatter abdomen.

Why it is Done

Probably you have been striving to achieve a well-toned and flat abdomen like Laura Henshaw or David Gandy through weight control and exercise, but these methods have been a futile endeavor. Even individuals with an otherwise average body proportion and weight can develop a flabby, sagging, and protruding abdomen. Some of the most prevalent causes of this problem include:

• Pregnancy

• Significant fluctuations in weight

• Aging

• Heredity

• Prior surgery

What a Tummy Tuck is Not

Abdominoplasty is not an alternative for an appropriate exercise or weight loss regimen. Although the results of an abdominoplasty are long-lasting, the positive outcome of this procedure can be remarkably vitiated by significant weight fluctuations. So, women who are considering getting pregnant, or individuals who are planning to lose weight substantially may be advised to postpone a tummy tuck.

You cannot correct stretch marks using a tummy tuck, although they can be improved or removed if they’re in an area where the excess skin will be excised.

Ideal Candidates

The decision to undergo an abdominoplasty is very personal. Don’t do it to please your mama, and neither should you do it to fit into any social ideal. You may be the right candidate for this procedure if you:

• Are bothered by your abdomen’s appearance

• Have realistic expectations

• Are a non-smoker

• Have a stable weight and are physically healthy

The Tummy Tuck Procedure

A tummy tuck is typically done in an outpatient surgical facility or hospital. Your doctor will administer to you general anesthesia, and you will be unconscious and unable to feel pain. In unique cases, you might be moderately sedated and given pain relievers.

A tummy tuck involves various procedures depending on the extent of the results you would like to achieve. In a typical tummy tuck, your doctor will make incisions to eliminate most of the fat and skin between your pubic hair and belly button in an elliptical or horizontal oval shape. He or she will then tighten the fascia (connective tissue) that lies over your abdominal muscles using permanent stitches.

Your doctor will then realign the skin around your belly button. He or she will then bring out your belly button through a small cut and stitch it to its normal position. The incision that runs from one hip to another above your pubic hair will be stitched together, leaving a scar along the natural crease on the bikini line. This procedure takes approximately three hours, and your doctor might give you antibiotics to prevent infection. To understand the process, watch an abdominoplasty video, and you will know how it is done.


Your recovery will depend on several factors that include your body weight, age, and overall health. It will also depend on the technique of the tummy tuck you undergo.

Naturally, you’d want to bounce back into action after the procedure, but you need to take it slow and give your body time to heal. You may have to remain in the hospital for a few hours after surgery, or one night, or longer, depending on your surgeon’s recommendation. So, carry some popcorns and a nice movie just in case.

You will keep your drain for a couple of days after surgery, and your surgeon will show you how to empty and take care of the pipes. While your drains are in place, you need to take an anticoagulant and antibiotic. You will also need to put on an abdominal binder for about five weeks to support your abdomen and avoid a fluid buildup.

Although recovery time for a mini tummy tuck is shorter, you still need to avoid arduous activities such as vigorous exercise and heavy lifting for about six weeks.

Your doctor or nurse will give you instructions on:

• Diet

• Rest

• How to care for your drain pipes and incisions

• The physical activities to avoid

• What to know regarding your overall health or infection

• Your next consultation with your plastic surgeon

You will need someone to drive you back home after surgery and help take care of you for a few days. Until you can shower, you may need to take a sponge bath, and your nurse may advise you to use a chair when taking a shower.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics and probably an anticoagulant. You may also receive some medication to apply to the skin on the treated area. You must not take medications containing aspirin unless instructed by your doctor.

You also need to avoid alcohol and nicotine for at least six weeks after surgery. Smoking may prevent proper healing and may cause some complications.

In a few weeks, you will be healed. However, you may feel some numbness in your belly for a few months. It is OK to experience bruises and some fluid-filled swelling on your abdomen, but these will also subside.

To speed up your healing, maintain a healthy diet, and drink lots of water to eliminate toxins from your body. You can also take vitamin A and vitamin C supplements and drink green tea to boost your antioxidant and immunity levels.

A tummy tuck is an excellent way of eliminating excess abdominal fat and skin when exercise and diet have proven to be futile. But before undergoing this procedure, watch an abdominoplasty video, then find a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon who will answer all your questions about the surgery.