The timeline for a tummy tuck recovery is different for every patient. The kind of abdominoplasty technique they have undergone, the patient’s tolerance to pain, their willingness to follow doctor’s orders, and their overall health, all these affect a patient’s tummy tuck recovery period. While most patients need 3-4 weeks rest to fully recuperate from the surgery, some would need more time to get back to their normal activities. Let us discover the typical tummy tuck recovery timeline experienced by patients who underwent the traditional abdominoplasty technique.
Tummy tuck recovery: The first week after the surgery
When you have a tummy tuck surgery, your procedure will entail the use of general anaesthesia. So you can expect that you are unconscious throughout the operation and when you wake up, you will feel groggy and maybe a bit disoriented as the effects of anaesthesia are still in your system. Drains are attached to your surgical incisions to facilitate wound drainage. Your plastic surgeon may remove this within 1-2 days postop or after the wounds are completely drained. Pain and discomfort after surgery are a given since incisions and extensive manipulation of your abdominal area have been performed. Prescribed pain medications may address all these, and antibiotics are also ordered to avoid the occurrence of infection. You may not notice the effects of the surgery for now because your belly may still look swollen and is wrapped with compression dressings and bandages to provide support.
Tummy tuck recovery: Two to three weeks after abdominoplasty
By this time, your drain tubes are removed, and your plastic surgeon may have requested to see you on a weekly basis. He needs to check your surgical area and assess for the presence of infection. During your first follow-up, as your bandages are removed, you will have your first look at your new tummy and waistline. Although there will still be noticeable swelling, you can still see the difference your surgery made with regard to the excess skin it removed and the flat appearance it made your belly look. You are still required to wear your compression dressings, and this may still be the case for the next 2-3 months.
Tummy tuck recovery: One to two months after the surgery
Abdominal swelling is common during this period, although you can notice that it is gradually diminishing as time goes by. You may also observe that the surgical wounds are completely healed. Your scars may look pinkish for the first month, but following the wound care instructions your plastic surgeon gave you post-surgery, they may appear to flatten out and lighten by the two-month-mark. Hiding them under your bikini may be more comfortable now since less discomfort should be reported during this time. Most patients are up and about, able to perform daily activities. Most of them are actually allowed to go back to their work, provided that they follow the strict work limitations and restrictions imposed by their plastic surgeon.
Tummy tuck recovery: One year after abdominoplasty
By this time, most patients have made a full tummy tuck recovery. The swelling is usually completely gone, and they are enjoying the results of their procedure. Scars have faded considerably, and although they never completely go away, they should appear flat and faded. Almost everyone who has had the abdominoplasty surgery will have some permanently visible scarring. Patients with good skin tone and elasticity usually find that their scars fade well.
When you have a tummy tuck, it’s important to realise that it might take some effort to maintain your results. If your weight changes, your waistline and body contour may change too. For example, if you drastically lose a lot of weight, or you continuously fluctuate from gaining and losing weight, you may end up with more sagging skin. This is why it is recommended to have an abdominoplasty procedure after you have lost all the excess weight you want and you have reached your ideal body weight. Women are also advised that they should consider undergoing abdominoplasty after they are finished building their children and getting pregnant. If you can maintain a stable weight and no other life circumstances would lead you to gain more weight, your tummy tuck results will continue looking great for years to come!