Surprising Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips


Compared to most body contouring surgeries, tummy tuck recovery is generally more challenging in a sense that getting back your pre-surgery energy level could take up to 6-8 weeks.  Nonetheless, healthy patients who adhere to their surgeon’s instructions can expect returning to work or “gentle” activities about two weeks postop.

It is important to note that following tummy tuck recovery tips does not give you the “freedom” to resume strenuous activities sooner than the generally agreed upon guidelines.  The consensus is to only begin with low impact aerobics such as brisk walking or biking only about a month after your surgery.

Strenuous activities, particularly when they involve weight lifting and resistance exercise, are best postponed for 2-3 months to prevent healing problems or significant swelling, which of course can prolong your recovery.

Aside from “taking things slow,” there are other surprising tummy tuck recovery tips that you may not know about.

Avoid over-straining.  Coughing, sneezing, vomiting (due to nausea) and passing hard stool (not uncommon due to narcotic painkillers) during the initial healing stage not just cause discomfort but may also interfere with healing. 

It is critical to control nausea, which may cause also vomiting, through medications.  Eating saltine crackers and sipping cold water in the first few hours may also help.

And should you need to cough or sneeze, it is advisable to gently press a pillow against the lower abdomen to act as a support for the incision site.

To further support the incision site, most patients are advised to wear a compression garment for a couple of weeks postop.

Always move around.  The problem with prolonged bed rest is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots affecting the pelvis, arms, or legs).  The general rule of thumb is to take short walks throughout the day as soon as you can safely move around (without fainting or feeling too nauseated).

Nonetheless, it should take about two weeks before you can return work or resume your normal activities.  Strenuous exercise, meanwhile, should be postponed for 6-8 weeks to prevent healing problems.

Prevent constipation.  Many patients may not be aware that hardened stool is not uncommon after any surgery, particularly when they need to take narcotic painkillers. 

To prevent constipation, you can ask your surgeon if you can switch to non-narcotic painkillers as soon as the postop discomfort improves.  Taking stool softener and eating fruits known to combat constipation (such as prunes and dried apricots) can also make a huge difference.

Article by
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon