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Plastic Surgeons’ Guide to Tummy Tuck Recovery in Raleigh, NC

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) helps to contour your abdomen by removing excess fat and skin while tightening the abdominal muscles.

We have created this tummy tuck recovery guide to help prepare and educate our patients. Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality results and a smooth recovery. We will be with you every step of the way!

BEFORE Your Tummy Tuck Surgery:

Before your surgery:

  • Set-up a “recovery area” for yourself. This is a place where you can sleep, rest, and have the essentials easily accessible. This can be your bed, a recliner, or a couch.
  • You will need extra pillows to help you recline in a “beach chair” position. Imagine you are relaxing on the beach! This will take the pressure off your abdominal muscles and incisions.
  • Keep fluids, protein snacks, and medications close by to limit movement and aid the healing process.
  • Pre-cook your meals or have easy food and beverage options available..
  • Pick out your entertainment and reading materials
  • Make sure to stock your bathroom with toilet paper. (LOL!)
  • Fill your medication prescriptions before the surgery.
  • Arrange for someone to help you for the first day or two following your tummy tuck.
  • Avoid medications and supplements that increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery.
  • Hydrate the two days leading up to surgery!

Waking Up After Abdominoplasty

A compression garment will be around your midsection to support your new body and help reduce swelling.

You may or may not need surgical drains to remove excess fluid that can build up inside your abdomen. If you do require drains, we may need you to wear these for one or two weeks.

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Tummy Tuck Recovery Week One

You will likely experience some discomfort due to significant swelling and bruising. Apply a cold compress and take your pain medication as directed.

  • We recommend liquids and soft foods for the first day after your tummy tuck.
  • If drains are in place, you will be given detailed instructions on how to check and care for them.
  • Stay put and rest with your head elevated to ensure proper blood circulation.
  • Once we remove your bandages, your surgeon will give you permission to shower. We do not want you to submerge yourself in a bath, pool, or jacuzzi.
  • Don’t rub, scratch, massage, or put pressure on your incision to avoid splitting the incision.
  • Wear your compression garment as instructed to reduce swelling and assist your recovery.
  • Avoid lifting and bending at the waist.
  • After day two, take slow, short walks to improve blood circulation and prevent blood clots.
  • Don’t drive and avoid riding in cars when possible.
  • Do not travel by air until cleared by your surgeon.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Week Two

Most swelling should have subsided, but some discomfort, soreness, and bruising may persist.

  • Continue to use cold compresses as needed.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • If you are feeling well, you may be able to return to work unless your job requires any strenuous activity.
  • Keep the incision site clean to reduce the chances of infection. This is the most common complication of surgery.
  • Continue taking slow walks and add stretching and light exercise. Do not engage in any strenuous activities.
  • If you had drains inserted at the incision site, they are typically removed by this time.
  • Keep wearing your compression garment.
  • You may take short car rides, but no air travel.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Week Three

Bruising and swelling will have subsided by now, and you will start to see your results. These results will continue to improve over the coming weeks.

  • While you may feel tightness or soreness in your midsection, you should be able to stop prescription pain medications.
  • Gradually resume routine activities but refrain from strenuous or high-impact exercise.
  • Continue drinking plenty of water and wearing your compression garment.
  • Continue to avoid air travel.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Weeks Four Through Six

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the last phase of your abdominoplasty recovery.

If cleared by your surgeon, you can resume your normal activities and regular exercise routine. You may experience intermittent bloating and swelling towards the end of the day.

If cleared by your surgeon, you can now travel by air.

You will be able to appreciate your tummy tuck results more and they will continue to improve over the next few months.

Schedule Your Tummy Tuck Consultation With Specialists in Plastic Surgery Today

Our plastic surgeons have over 75 years combined experience performing cosmetic surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina, including tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty).

Please call us at (919) 785-0505 to learn more or book a consultation online by clicking the button at the top of this page.