3 min read

How long does it take to recover from a tummy tuck?

25 May

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure designed to make the tummy flat and firm with youthful contours. For the best results you should follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions after the surgery. In this blog I’ll discuss what you should expect after having the procedure, and what you should be doing post surgery to aid the healing process.


Once your tummy tuck procedure is finished, you are required to stay one-three nights in hospital. The day after your surgery, you may not be able to fully stand up straight as your skin and muscles need to adjust to their new shape and the increased tension due to the tightening. It is normal to feel tight but it is important that you take short walks to promote blood circulation. Sitting in a chair and lying in bed with two pillows under your knees are comfortable. Any lifting, bending or straining can cause discomfort or bleeding hence, should be avoided.


Learn more about tummy tucks by reserving a free spot at an upcoming information evening. Ask Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Naveen Somia any questions you have about any cosmetic surgery or treatment you're thinking about having   


How long is the recovery time?

The recovery time for the surgery varies between patients. While your plastic surgeon can give you a rough timeframe for recovery, it is important to remember that each person’s tissues are unique, and heal at different rates. The timeframes listed in this blog are a rough guide.


Within one week, you will have your surgical drains removed and your abdominal dressings changed. Most of the sutures are dissolving ones. The suture line has a specialised dressing fixed with skin super glue that stays on for two-three weeks. This protects the suture line from moisture and other irritants. Short walks are important and are encouraged. Your abdominal binder or compression garment offers extra support and should be worn for four-six weeks or as advised by your Plastic Surgeon. Bruising is evident and usually lasts for one-two weeks.


Usually within two-three weeks you will be able to return to non-strenuous activities of daily living and work. In many cases most normal activities and even gentle exercise can be undertaken. During this period of time it’s normal to experience some mild pain or discomfort, as well as swelling. Any severe pain should be reported to your surgeon. Patients find sexual activity uncomfortable for about three-four weeks post surgery. After six weeks you can increase the intensity of your activities and after 12 weeks, there are no restrictions and you can participate in all activities.


Swelling and bruising are normal and expected to occur after the surgery. Depending on the patient, they can take some time to disappear completely. Most patients notice the swelling disappear over six weeks, with continuing improvement over the subsequent six weeks. In some patients, swelling resolves over months.


Numbness below the belly button is common and it can take between three-six months to regain feeling.


Scarring from the incision sites will be red or pink in colour and remain like that for three-six months after surgery. Scarring often appears worse before it begins to fade. The scar maturation process is about 12-18 months.


Unless you experience a significant change in weight, or fall pregnant, the results from your procedure should be evident for many years. Ageing and gravity will naturally change the appearance of your abdomen in time, if you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your tummy when this occurs, you may decide to have regular liposuction to restore the contours. Very rarely you may have to undergo another tummy tuck to restore your abdomen to a flatter and firmer condition.


If you’re thinking about getting a tummy tuck done but are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation, why not attend one of my free monthly information evenings? Learn more by clicking on the button below.


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Topics: Body
Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.