I think it is best to prepare for a “recovery” of 3-4 weeks (longer if strenuous work) after tummy tuck surgery. Descriptions of recovery times shorter than this, in my opinion, is over-promising.
I do have another word of advice for you. Patients who are about to undergo tummy tuck surgery spend a lot of time thinking about the physical preparation for the procedure (for example weight loss issues) but do not spend a lot of time thinking about the emotional aspects. It is not uncommon for patients who undergo the procedure to experience severe “mood swings”. These emotions may range from depression ( “why did I do this to myself”) to elation (which may lead to over activity). I think it is helpful to be aware that these emotional swings do occur postoperatively.
It is not unusual for some patients to require several months before they regain preoperative strength/stamina/energy levels. What I have observed is that many patients are about 70 to 80% of their energy level at the 4 to 6 weeks post op period and may require 3 to 4 months before they are 100%.
Suggestions I have for patients undergoing this procedure: 1. Make sure you have a strong support system in place who have time/patience to take care of you. 2. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. 3. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies. 4. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work too early and let others take care of you (for a change). 5. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience. 6. Keep in mind the end result!