Tummy Tuck Recovery Guide

If you are interested in getting a tummy tuck, we want to help you be better prepared for your recovery process. What does tummy tuck recovery look like? What can you expect? Is tummy tuck recovery painful? We got together with our expert surgeons and asked all the questions you want to know before having a tummy tuck (and even covered some topics you didn’t realize you wanted to learn more about!).  

Getting a tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is the most effective way to get a flat tummy. Results are so wonderful that it’s not a coincidence that every year, more than 127,000 Americans get one. For patients who have achieved significant weight loss or have had multiple pregnancies and find themselves with sagging skin, a tummy tuck is usually the only way they can restore a flat and toned tummy. So, when you get a tummy tuck your plastic surgeon will remove fat, excess skin, and if necessary, will tighten your abdominal muscles. Healing after this surgery is more than wondering if the scars from a tummy tuck will go away. Recovery after a tummy tuck is internal and external, beyond what you can see. When it comes to taking care of your scars, these fade and our surgeons place them carefully where you’ll barely notice them. What else? Let’s talk about tummy tuck recovery everything!

“We know how exciting it is to get a tummy tuck, however, we also want to make sure that our patients know how the days and weeks following the surgery will be like. We want the pre-surgery excitement to last a lifetime! Being informed and asking us how to take care of themselves during recovery will ensure a successful procedure and decrease any chances of complications,” shared with us Dr. Carlos Castañeda, VIDA plastic surgeon and body contouring expert at VIDA Wellness and Beauty Center.


Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

Understanding the recovery process for a tummy tuck is as easy as 1,2,3! Right after the surgery, there are three main tummy tuck recovery stages you can expect. First, right after the surgery, your surgeon will want you to spend the night at our clinic, so nursing care is available 24/7. During this initial stage, it’s normal for your body to start healing itself by forming scar tissue and bloating.

Tummy Tuck Recovery: The First 48 Hours

Around 48 hours after the surgery is when you might be the most uncomfortable, but your surgeon and our team of attentive nurses will be ready to address any pain or discomfort that is not normal. Pain medication will also be timely administered to minimize discomfort as much as possible.

One to Two Weeks Following Surgery

During the second stage, one to two weeks post-surgery, you’ll see most of the bloating and swelling disappear. During these two weeks, most patients also see pain decrease substantially when following the doctor’s post-op care instructions.

The Third Stage of Tummy Tuck Recovery

The third and final stage of your recovery can last up to 12 months. This is the process where your body will heal 100%. Tummy tuck recovery varies for every patient, but the last 20% of swelling in your abdominal area can take several months to fully disappear. Minor pain or soreness will start to gradually disappear until nonexistent too!

Swelling, tightness, and numbness are normal at first, and you shouldn’t worry. How long the tightness and numbness last after a tummy tuck will vary from patient to patient. These are natural healing responses from your body and will practically disappear during your recovery, usually within 2 to 3 months or up to 12 months. Trust your surgeon and be patient with this process.

Tummy Tuck vs Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

‘Should I get a mini tummy tuck if I want a shorter recovery period?’ This is a question we get a lot from patients, however, the answer is not that simple! While a mini tummy tuck does offer a slightly shorter recovery period and a smaller scar, not all patients will be ideal candidates for a mini. A mini tummy tuck is recommended mainly to patients whose excess skin or stubborn ‘fat pocket’ is located in their lower abdomen. While the idea of a shorter recovery period and smaller scar are very attractive for patients, the differences in the recovery period are not enough to have you sacrifice the amazing results a tummy tuck can give you. As our chief of surgery, Dr. Alejandro Quiroz said: “The best tummy tuck is the one that will help you get the toned body you want. No two tummy tuck cases are the same. The best procedure depends on different factors. With the right care, your recovery period will go by without complications.”

Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

Once you’re ready for your tummy tuck, remember these additional recovery tips from our surgeons to make your recovery a breeze!

  1. Trust and talk with your surgeon. While feeling a bit sore, swollen and uncomfortable is normal following any surgical procedure, remember that your VIDA surgeon is there for you. If there is anything you feel insecure about, or anything that bothers you do not hesitate to contact your doctor. “We’re always available for our patients. We are fully aware that a procedure isn’t over once we discharge them from the hospital. At VIDA we care for our patients through recovery from their cosmetic surgery procedures until they are 100% healed and happy,” concluded Dr. Fuentes, one of our VIDA surgeons and patient care expert!
  2. Your surgeon’s advice is the only advice you should follow. It’s important to take care of your wound following the doctor’s instructions. While you might have friends or relatives who have had tummy tucks, remember that your surgery and recovery are yours alone. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations, such as don’t remove the bandages too soon, don’t reapply them too tight, and don’t mess with the drains. During a follow-up appointment, you’ll know when the doctor will remove the drains and stitches.
  3. Take it easy and ask for help. When recovering at VIDA, you’ll have 24/7 nursing care and support. But once you go home, ask for help for the first few days. You won’t be able to do house chores or activities such as cooking, driving or cleaning. So, having someone to help you is important to not jeopardize your recovery. You’ll also need help to shower, which is generally allowed 48- 72 hours after surgery.
  4. Move up your recovery. But only a little and following your surgeon’s instructions. Yes, you need to rest and relax after a tummy tuck but you also need to take short walks even from the initial stage of your recovery. Walking will decrease the risk of blood clots and increase your circulation. At first, you’ll need help getting out of bed and standing up, but don’t let that stop you from taking a couple of short walks right after surgery. Don’t do any abrupt movements or lift heavy stuff.
  5. Nourish your recovery. Our surgeons always advise patients to follow a healthy diet before and after the surgery. Immediately after the surgery, it’s best to follow a soft or liquid diet, always sitting up to ingest your food. After this period, keep on avoiding foods high in sugar or fats that could slow down your recovery. You should also watch out for foods that cause gas or contain excessive sodium, to help your body avoid bloating, which can be quite uncomfortable during the recovery period. Avoid alcohol and tobacco for at least 3 weeks to avoid complications. Furthermore, adopting a healthy diet will prolong the results of your tummy tuck for life!

Get yourself a tummy tuck with the best medical team available: your VIDA surgeons and nurses who will make your recovery comfortable and safe! You can easily contact us with any doubts or questions at (619)738-2144 or info@vidawellnessandbeauty.com

Dr. Alejandro Quiroz

Dr. Quiroz is our board-certified Chief Plastic Surgeon at VIDA Clinic in Tijuana. He specializes in Facial Rejuvenation, Neck lift, Buttock Augmentation, Breast Augmentation, Body Contouring and more. He is member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, San Diego Plastic Surgery Society, the Mexican Society of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and the Mexican Council of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, to mention a few.