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Tummy Tuck Recovery Care?

What should I be doing as part of post-Tummy Tuck care (like showering, compression garment use, washing the binder, changing wound dressing, etc.)?

Doctor Answers 7

Post Tummy Tuck Care

Great Question Filly -

As the other surgeons have commented, what's most important is that you and your surgeon are communicating. There are many different post-operative regimens that we all use to maximize our patients' results.

In my practice, we follow some basic guidelines:

  • Take medications as prescribed (antibiotics, pain medication and a muscle relaxer).
  • Keep track of drain output.
  • I have my patients leave the dressing intact until the first post-op visit, usually a few days after surgery.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.
  • No driving or operating machinery while using the pain medication.
  • But most importantly, if they have questions, issues or problems - call me!

I'd recommend you follow that last suggestion to get exactly what your surgeon would like you to do as follow-up.

I hope this helps!

Everyone MD is different

This is something that is very MD specific. You should really talk with your doctor. I ahve patients wear an abdominal binder for 3-6 weeks. If they have drains, then they can not shower. They can only sponge bathe until they are removed. I usually do not let patients run or exercise for 4-6 weeks. Situps and weight lifting should be avoided for at least 6 or more weeks.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Do what your surgeon directs for post-op care


We all treat these things differently:

(1) Some of us see you alot after surgery.

(2) Some of us do larger cases.

(3) Some of us use pain pumps.

(4) We all vary technically.

The bottom line is that you need your surgeon's preferred "game plan" after this operation to guide you through the post-operative period.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Have your doctor participate in your care

Plastic surgery is an elective medical specialty where patients are not sick and physicians should do everything in their power to keep them that way. In my practice, we have many layers of education for each treatment and surgery. Finally, the buck stops with me.
In other words, call your doctor and have him/her help with your care.
Robert Freund, MD, FACS

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What did your surgeon advise?

Every surgeon has their own set of guidelines for post-surgery care, and they should have given you specific advice on this. You shouldn't have to "wing it" after surgery or find care instructions online! Whatever the instructions are, do follow them, don't take advice from well-meaning friends or other sources if it conflicts with what your doctor told you.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery Care

Immediately after surgery, patients are placed in compression garments that must be worn for six weeks to help support and shape the healing tissues. If drains are placed, they are generally removed in the office in seven to ten days when they are putting out less than 30 ml per day. Recovery times following a tummy tuck vary, but patients are generally able to return to work in one to two weeks, light exercise in three to four weeks, and full exercise in five to six weeks. Antibiotics and pain medicines are prescribed following the surgery.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Post-op tummy tuck care

Every plastic surgeon has post-op instructions per procedure. It is important to consult with your doctor regarding your particular care since every patient is unique and may require specific instructions. However, for tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery, depending on the severity and complexity of the case, patients are unable to shower for atleast 2 weeks or until the drains are removed to avoid infection. The abdominal binder is to be worn for 4-6 weeks to minimize swelling and support the incision from any tension, you may wash the binder as needed.

The most important part of recovery, is staying hunched over for 4 weeks to avoid superficial openings. I would recommend renting a walker or a cane to remind you to stay hunched to prevent any complications. Learn more about the procedure on my website and check out before and after photos of patients. Good luck!

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.