If you have decided to have a tummy tuck, you are probably excited to finally get rid of that belly pooch, but a little concerned about what the recovery will be like. In order to ease any concerns you may have, you should definitely ask your plastic surgeon – how much downtime is typical after a tummy tuck procedure.
Tummy tuck surgery
A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a body contouring procedure that is done to flatten the tummy by removing excess skin and fat, and tightening the abdominal muscles.
Tummy tuck surgery is a popular mommy makeover treatment, as many moms have the procedure done to help restore their pre-baby body. It’s also a common treatment for men and women that have undergone significant weight loss, and need to remove excess skin and tissue from the abdomen.
The incision for tummy tuck surgery is typically made just above the bikini area, and depending on the extent of the correction required, it may extend from hip to hip. However, the scar will fade over time.
How much downtime is typical after a tummy tuck procedure?
Although there are guidelines regarding recovery after a tummy tuck, it’s always a good idea to schedule more time off than anticipated should recovery not go as planned, as a result of unexpected delays.
Downtime after a tummy tuck typically takes 2-4 weeks, but most patients are able to return to work within 10-15 days. However, patients with strenuous jobs will need a longer recovery time, because all lifting should be avoided for 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Patients are advised to have someone drive them home after surgery, and arrange to have a friend or family member stay with them for at least the first 24 hours.
Downtime will vary for each individual, so patients are advised to follow the post-operative instructions of their plastic surgeon. However, recovery after a tummy tuck usually takes at least 6-8 weeks.
Choosing an experienced surgeon will help to minimize the recovery period, and ensure that patients get the best results possible. An experienced surgeon will not only safeguard the safety of the procedure, but will also help to reduce the chance of post-surgical complications.
What to expect during tummy tuck recovery
Patients can expect to experience some swelling, bruising, and tightness after tummy tuck surgery. Most of the swelling and bruising should resolve within 2-3 months, but residual swelling may remain for up to 6 months. The skin on the abdomen will also be numb for several weeks.
Patients generally have to wear a compression garment for at least 3 weeks to help minimize swelling and support the tummy during the healing process. It also helps to minimize any uneven contours. Drainage tubes may also be used to remove the fluid that often accumulates beneath the flap.
Below is a summary of what patients can expect during the first few weeks after tummy tuck surgery.
Abdominoplasty affects the lower abdomen, which is an area that is used a lot during normal movement. Consequently, there will be some pain and discomfort in the lower abdomen, which will make moving around very difficult, especially during the first week. However, patients are encouraged to take easy walks each day to help increase blood flow, and encourage healing. Discomfort tends to peak about 5 days after tummy tuck surgery, so patients should start feeling a lot better in the following days.
Weeks 2 and 3
Most patients are up to doing some light activity by the second week of recovery, but it’s still important to rest as needed. It’s generally okay to return to a desk job by week 3, but there should be no lifting.
Patients are generally able to resume normal activities by week 4. Light exercises can be resumed at this time.
Would you like to learn more about tummy tuck surgery?
If you are in the greater Orange County area, contact Dr. Kyle Song at Song Plastic Surgery in Irvine, CA for a consultation.
You can reach Dr. Song at www.kylesongmd.com, or by calling (949) 835-4472.