What to Expect During Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon located in Nashville and Brentwood, TN

By Dr. Alton Ingram

Recovery from a Tummy Tuck in Nashville TN
A tummy tuck procedure is one of the most popular, life changing procedures in the Nashville area. Dr. Alton Ingram discusses what to expect during the recovery process to help you fully prepare for your procedure.

The tummy tuck procedure, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in Nashville Tennessee. It is a procedure that can help improve the appearance of your midsection by removing excess skin and fat, and tightening abdominal muscles. This surgery can have a dramatic effect on your figure and self-confidence, but it is important to remember that it is still major surgery and the body needs time to heal. Before you decide whether this surgery is right for you, it’s important to understand what recovery will be like. Below we’ve outlined some key facts about recovery after a tummy tuck

Immediate Post-Surgery Care 

Immediately after surgery, your abdomen may be wrapped with bandages, an abdominal binder or a compression garment to minimize swelling and provide support for your incisions. You may have 1-2 drains placed near the incision sites to collect fluid from the area. Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on how to care for these drains, including when and how often you need to empty them and where they should placed under your clothes.

Your doctor will also likely prescribe an antibiotic and a pain medication to help manage any discomfort during the first few days after surgery. It is important to take those medications as directed. Additionally, if you received general anesthesia during your surgery, you might feel weak or tired initially following the procedure.  

Immediately after surgery, you will need to rest for several days and nights. You should have someone there to help take care of you during this time. It is important to move slowly, and follow your doctor’s instructions regarding activity level. Swelling and bruising are normal; however, if these symptoms become severe or last longer than expected, contact your doctor right away. 

Your surgeon will likely tell you to not shower or bathe until your drains are removed after your tummy tuck procedure. Your surgeon will most likely allow you to sponge bathe after a few days. 

Longer-Term Recovery 

Once any initial post-surgical effects subside, your recovery process will continue over several weeks to months. The length of this period depends on factors such as your health prior to surgery and how quickly your body heals afterward. In general though, it will take 4-6 weeks before you feel normal from a tummy tuck procedure. During this time, it’s important that you follow all of your doctor’s orders regarding activity level—this includes avoiding strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects or exercising until cleared by your physician—so that you can promote proper healing and avoid any complications from arising related to activity levels too soon after the surgery took place.  

You may experience some significant changes in your body over the weeks following your surgery. Your stomach muscles may ache or feel tight when you laugh or sneeze; this is normal and should subside within a few weeks. You will also continue to experience swelling for up to four months after surgery; again, this is normal but if it becomes too severe contact your doctor right away. Once all of the swelling has gone down, you will begin to see the full results of your tummy tuck procedure!

It’s also important to remember that patients heal at different rates; some may experience prolonged swelling or bruising depending on their individual healing process. A full recovery from an abdominoplasty procedure can take 6 months to 1 year. If at any time during recovery there are signs of infection around an incision site (redness/swelling/pain) or other concerning symptoms such as fever/chills/nausea/vomiting contact your doctor right away!

Tummy tuck surgery can be life changing. Remember that the process takes time; even though it might seem like an eternity while waiting for healing progressions such as swelling to go down or discomfort relief—it’s worth it in order to ensure optimal healing outcomes! Overall, recovery after a tummy tuck can vary between individuals depending on their overall health prior to surgery and how well they follow their doctor’s instructions during the weeks following their procedure. With that being said, it’s important for anyone considering undergoing an abdominoplasty procedure in the future to understand what their own individualized recovery process may look like so they can adequately prepare both mentally and physically beforehand! For more detailed information on what recovery looks like specifically for YOU please consult with Dr. Alton Ingram a double-board certified cosmetic surgeon who is knowledgeable about abdominoplasty procedures!