6 Tips for a Smooth Tummy Tuck Recovery

One of the main concerns patients typically have about tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is the unknown of the recovery process. How long will it be? Will there be much pain? How much assistance will be needed?

While the exact answers to these questions are unique to every individual, the following tips from Dr. Jon Kurkjian can help facilitate a smooth and uneventful recovery from abdominoplasty:

  1. Coordinate help for at least one to two days post surgery. You should arrange for a close friend or family member to drive you home and take care of you after your tummy tuck, as you will need to rest and limit excessive movement initially. Having someone available to assist you in getting out of bed, looking after children, making meals, showering, changing clothes, and performing other basic tasks/responsibilities will allow you to focus more on healing while providing peace of mind.
  2. Rest, walk, rest. A critical component of any healing process is ample rest, and recovery from abdominoplasty is no different. Most of the first 24–48 hours after surgery should be spent comfortably stretched out on a couch or bed, ideally lying on your back with a few pillows behind your head and one below your knees for optimal support. Despite the importance of rest, however, it is equally vital not to remain sedentary for overly extended periods of time, as doing so increases the possibility of blood clots developing in the legs or other body areas. To help minimize this risk, you should get up to take short walks periodically, which encourages blood flow and can also help accelerate the reduction of any swelling experienced.
  3. Eat healthily and drink plenty of fluids. A nutritious, balanced diet and sufficient water consumption can have a significantly positive impact on healing. Barring any dietary restrictions you may have, fruits, vegetables, and protein should be made a high priority among meals—but be careful to avoid food and/or beverages that cause bloating, and don’t overeat.
  4. Avoid strenuous activities for a minimum of four weeks. While desk jobs and non-strenuous actions can usually be resumed after one to two weeks, it is critical to refrain from heavy lifting (anything over 20 pounds), vigorous exercise, contact sports, and other physical activities that place stress/tension on the incision and treatment area for about one month post surgery. Failure to do so may inhibit proper healing, potentially leading to complications and/or an unsatisfactory abdominoplasty outcome.
  5. Quit smoking at least one month prior to tummy tuck surgery, and refrain from resuming the habit for several additional weeks after treatment. Among many issues, the chemicals present in cigarette smoke can impede proper healing, increase the chance of infection, and may even heighten postoperative pain. The recommended timeframe for quitting is generally four to six weeks before treatment, which is typically enough time to minimize the negative effect smoking has on recovery. If you do plan to smoke again after surgery, you should wait at least three to four weeks post abdominoplasty for the same reasons.
  6. Follow the advice and recommendations of your plastic surgeon as closely as possible. Having performed your abdominoplasty, your surgeon will be able to provide personalized postoperative instructions based on your health status, the complexity of your treatment, and various other factors specific to you. This custom guidance is intended to minimize the chance of complications arising throughout recovery, and ultimately help yield the best results.

For more information about tummy tuck recovery, or if you are interested in abdominoplasty and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kurkjian in Fort Worth, please feel free to contact our practice today.