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Recovery Guide After a Tummy Tuck

Recovery after tummy tuck surgery typically takes about six weeks. However, patients should also keep in mind that the healing time for a tummy tuck may vary from person to person and may also be a bit different if they underwent other procedures along with your tummy tuck.

In general, most tummy tuck recoveries follow the timeline described below.


Day One

This is the day the tummy tuck surgery is performed. Once the surgery is complete, the patient will spend some time in recovery before going home with the adult designated as their driver after the procedure.

When the patient arrives home, they’ll immediately want to rest, as they’re likely still feeling the effects of anesthesia. They must have someone stay with them for at least the first 24 hours because they’ll need help getting up from the recovery area and settling in. Besides the anesthesia aftereffects, patients also may feel groggy from pain medication, so having someone help them get around is essential to prevent them from falling.

While bed rest is recommended for the first 48 hours after surgery, patients should slowly walk around their house a few times daily. Doing this increases circulation, encourages healing, and helps prevent blood clots from developing.

Week One

Patients will start to feel a bit better around day three following tummy tuck surgery, but they should still be careful about overdoing it. Immediately after surgery, they will wear a compression garment to help with swelling and shape their newly slender abdomen.

Patients can shower 48 hours after surgery but should be aware that lifting their arms above their head when washing their hair may feel uncomfortable. They can gently cleanse the surgical incision and replace the dressings as instructed. Continue to walk slowly around the house, but avoid any activities that require lifting or carrying anything over five pounds.

At the end of this week, patients will likely have a follow-up appointment where Dr. Pollock will examine them to ensure that they’re healing properly and remove the sutures.

Week Two

Patients will begin to feel significantly better during week two and can typically return to light activities around the house. Depending on their job type and how they feel, many patients can return to work 10-14 days after tummy tuck surgery. Remember that patients cannot drive for a while after surgery–if they have somewhere to go, someone will need to drive them. They will not be cleared for driving until they are off of narcotic pain medication and can comfortably enter and exit their vehicle unassisted.

Patients will continue to wear a compression garment to reduce swelling and support the incision as it continues to heal. Any residual pain or bruising will continue to fade, and the feeling of “tightness” in the stomach will diminish. Keep the incision clean and dry as it heals, and be aware of any changes to the wound. If they notice redness or unusual pain around the incision or develop a fever, contact Dr. Pollock, as these are signs of infection.

Weeks Three and Four

At this point in a patient’s recovery, they should feel significantly better. They’ll continue to wear a compression garment and may notice the swelling has decreased quite a bit. Most patients can return to their normal activities at this point in their recovery; however, it is essential that they listen to their bodies and not overdo it.

Weeks Five and Six

By now, the tummy tuck incision should be completely healed. Patients will visit Dr. Pollock again for a checkup, and he’ll clear them to return to a regular exercise program. It is important to note that they should refrain from exercises that engage their core for at least 8-12 weeks after surgery to allow the abdominal muscles to heal completely.

The scar from a tummy tuck may look intimidating, but massaging it regularly and applying cocoa buttter or silicone scar strips can help it fade more quickly.

By three to six months after tummy tuck surgery, all residual swelling should be gone, and the full results of the tummy tuck will be visible.

Quick Tips for a Better Tummy Tuck Recovery

The most important thing patients can do after their tummy tuck surgery is to follow Dr. Pollock’s instructions to the letter. If they have questions or concerns, contact Dr. Pollock immediately.

Prepare for Recovery Before Surgery

Patients should choose a space in their home to set up a recovery area and ensure all post-surgical necessities are within reach. Fill any prescriptions ahead of time, stock up on groceries and pre-made meals, and arrange for necessary child care or assistance with rides to school or activities.

A Recliner is the Perfect Recovery Spot

After surgery, keeping the upper body elevated can help reduce stress on the abs when patients transition from sitting to standing. Elevating the upper body also helps minimize swelling and makes it easier to prop themselves up for additional support.

Drink Water

Staying hydrated aids in recovery, as it helps transport vital nutrients to the incision site to encourage healing. Water also flushes toxins out of the body, including residual anesthesia. Drinking water helps avoid constipation, which often occurs after surgery due to reduced movement and narcotic pain medication.

Don’t Forget to Move

Walking slowly and consistently throughout recovery promotes healing and reduces the chance of developing blood clots. It also makes building up to regular exercise easier once healing is complete.

Want to Learn More About Tummy Tucks in Dallas and Allen, Texas?

Dr. Pollock performs tummy tucks in Dallas and Allen, Texas, as well as in surrounding areas, including Plano, Richardson, and McKinney, as well as the larger Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area.

If you want to learn more about a tummy tuck and find out if you’re a good candidate, contact Dr. Pollock to schedule a consultation by calling our Dallas location at (214) 363-2575.

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We are committed to helping you attain your cosmetic goals and are happy to work with you to find a payment method or plan that fits your situation. We offer financing through CareCredit, which provides flexible repayment options.

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Our Locations

Contact information for individual North Dallas Plastic Surgery offices

North Dallas Office

8305 Walnut Hill Ln #210
Dallas, TX 75231

Phone: (214) 363-2575

Directions & Office Hours

Allen, Tx Office

317 N. Central Expressway Suite 100
Allen, Texas 75013

Phone: (214) 509-0270

Directions & Office Hours