Recovering from a tummy tuck

07 August 2020

Woman in athletic wear showing tummyBy plastic surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

No matter which cosmetic surgery procedure you undergo, recovery is one of the most important aspects and plays a huge role in just how succesful your results can be - something that many patients underestimate. A tummy tuck is a procedure that's incredibly popular among both women and men but it typically requires a longer recovery period than many other surgeries. This recovery period is vital and though it can be frustrating having to wait before you fully appreciate the result, that final result of a dramatically flatter and better toned stomach will be worth it provided you allow yourself to recover correctly.

Below are a few tips that you should follow to help ensure you experience the best recovery period possible following your tummy tuck procedure - and in turn, achieve the best results possible:

Make healthy life-style choices

  • Limit exposure to the sun - Exposure to the sun can damage the skin and darken scars, so during your recovery period avoid sunbathing in a bikini no matter how tempting the sun lounger may be. When you do eventually return to sunbathing, avoid doing so for long periods of time and always protect yourself with sunscreen.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol - It's important to keep your body as healthy as possible during recovery, so I'm afraid for some of you this will mean kicking bad habits for a while. You're going to be on some form of pain medication as well for a while, so you'll benefit greatly if you're able to quit smoking and avoid alcohol.
  • Get your nutrition on point - During the healing process your body needs an adequate amount of nutrients to repair, so this means consuming the right blend of healthy foods that are rich in protein. Processed foods and food that contains high sodium can contribute to unwanted swelling, so avoid these. Make sure you drink plenty of water!

Be mindful with body movement

  • Stick to very gentle activities - Rest is very important during recovery, especially during the initial week or so where you won't feel up to much. However, you won't want to be bed-ridden either, so any movement that you do just needs to be done so gently. Most patients are able to slowly walk around the day after surgery to encourage blood circulation, but things need to be kept simple for a while to ensure there's no disruption to the sutures.
  • Avoid exercise and heavy lifting - Exercise and other rigorous activities should be put on hold for several weeks following surgery until your surgeon gives you the green light. The tummy muscles will be very delicate after your tummy tuck, so you're unlikely to want to engage in exercise for a while anyway. Lifting items (or young children!) that are more than just a few kgs can cause complications, so avoid anything that looks remotely heavy.

Use recovery as an excuse to chill out

  • Slow and steady is the game - Sleep as much as you need during the first two weeks of recovery. The swelling will begin to slowly subside during this period and after two weeks of regular napping you'll finally be able to get a real idea of how the results look.
  • Keep yourself entertained - With hours, days and weeks of doing very little you need to find things that can keep your mind entertained. You could prepare for this before your surgery even takes place by having books, TV shows, movies and the like all at the ready and within easy reach.
  • Remain positive - A tummy tuck can be an intense experience for you both mentally and physically, but it's important to remember that it's also a very safe procedure that yields fantastic results when it's performed by an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon and recovery instructions are followed attentively. Discuss your surgery plans and experiences with trusted friends and family throughout, build a support network around you with people who can help you out and look forward to your boost in body-confidence that's just around the corner.

If you've been considering a tummy tuck and would like to discuss the procedure further then feel free to book in your initial consultation so that we can go through everything in detail. I offer a wide range of body procedures here at Harley St Aesthetics, so we can take a closer look at all of your options. Call today on 0845 519 7232, e-mail or complete the online contact form.


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