Tummy tuck patients, men and women alike, are often impatient to show off their new, flat midsections. In fact, one of the questions we’re asked most often is how to recover faster after a tummy tuck.
Choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon is the most important step you can take to achieve your aesthetic goals and have a comfortable, successful recovery. And while tummy tuck recovery can be a bit challenging, there are several things you can do to help the healing process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Choose a Surgeon Who Can Perform a Drainless Tummy Tuck
A drainless tummy tuck allows for a much more comfortable recovery than a traditional tummy tuck and reduces the risk of complications. This makes it the better option for most patients.
With a traditional tummy tuck, surgical drains are placed to remove excess fluid from between the skin and muscle tissue layers as you heal. But during a drainless tummy tuck, your surgeon uses an internal progressive suturing technique that closes this space, preventing fluid buildup and eliminating the drainage tubes that would otherwise need to be monitored and emptied while you heal at home. Another benefit? You can expect a finer, less noticeable scar following a drainless tummy tuck.
Follow Your Plastic Surgeon’s Recommendations
This may sound like an easy-to-follow step, but it can be a challenge not to lapse into your usual way of doing things once you’re back at home. Your plastic surgeon’s recommendations will include how to sleep after your procedure, how to care for your incision, which pain relievers to take, how much and what types of movement you need throughout the healing process, and more. Follow their recommendations closely. And if there’s something you don’t understand, just ask. We’re here to help.
Tummy Tuck Before/After (After Photos Taken 6 Months Post-op)
Get Plenty of Rest
If you’re used to being on the go and juggling many projects during the day, this might be the toughest part of recovery for you. But there’s simply no substitute for proper rest when recovering from surgery. Schedule at least 2 weeks of downtime after your tummy tuck to allow yourself the rest, sleep, and self-care you need.
Block off this time from your schedule and get family and friends to help you around the house and with childcare. Don’t worry about work, cleaning the house, or running errands during these 2 weeks. Give your mind and body the space to heal, and you’ll be ready to go when it’s time to resume your normal routine.
Make Healthy Choices
It’s tempting to reach for comfort foods when you’re healing, but it’s best to stick to a balanced diet as you recover from your tummy tuck. Foods rich in vitamins, protein, and fiber will give your body the nutrients it needs for proper healing. While it’s okay to indulge yourself occasionally, try to get a good helping of lean protein, whole grains, and leafy greens at each meal.
Your body will need plenty of fluids as you recuperate. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water every day during your recovery period.
If you’re a smoker, it’s a good idea to quit a week or more before surgery and to avoid smoking throughout your recovery. Smoking can suppress your immune system and delay healing, creating the potential for infection at the incision site.
Don’t Rush Back to the Gym Too Soon
Many tummy tuck patients are eager to get back to the gym and resume their normal workout routine. While you’ll begin gently moving your body during the first week of recovery, you should be cautious about taking on strenuous exercise too soon. Doing ab workouts or lifting heavy weights can aggravate your incision and prolong your recovery.
Wait at least 6 weeks before resuming high-intensity workouts, and make sure your plastic surgeon okays it. When doing ab-focused exercises, pay attention to your body and back off if you feel any discomfort in your midsection.
The above tips can help you recover more quickly, but your main goal should be allowing yourself enough time and rest to heal well. Focus on following your surgeon’s instructions so you can enjoy the best results possible.
While keeping in mind that results vary by patient, take a look at the before and after photos of some of our previous tummy tuck patients. This will give you an idea of what to expect and keep you excited about the results you’ll soon see on your own body. For the most dramatic results, some patients choose to enhance their tummy tuck surgery with liposuction.