Want a Tummy Tuck - want to know how long recovery is and will I have to be in hospital after surgery. (photo)

Doctor Answers 22

Recovery after tummy tuck and hospital stay?

The time required to recover after a tummy tuck definitely varies from person to person.  I tell my patients to expect 1-2 weeks of moderate discomfort and limited activity followed by 2-4 weeks of minor soreness and a gradual return to full physical activity.  By 4-6 weeks after your tummy tuck you should be 90+% back to normal and able to do the majority of daily activities and exercise that you were participating in prior to your procedure.  Unless someone has a medical issue requiring a hospital stay recommended by the primary care physician, all of my tummy tucks are performed as an outpatient procedure.  Typically the procedure would be completed in approximately 2.5 to 3 hours and you be up and walking to the bathroom and would go home on the same day.  I frequently use an injectable pain reliever that lasts 2-3 days so that your first few days after your procedure (typically the most uncomfortable days) are much more comfortable.  This has worked very well for many of my patients. Best wishes for your upcoming tummy tuck. 

La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Thank you for your question. 

The evening of surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed for short walks to promote blood circulation. Although you may not be able to stand up completely straight, it is best if you do not sit for long periods of time during the first several days. Straining, bending and lifting must be avoided, since these activities might cause increased swelling or even bleeding. You may be instructed to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Any surgical drains probably will be removed within a week following surgery, at which time your dressings may also be changed or removed. For the most part, doctors do not feel that abdominal binders are beneficial and in many cases may hinder wound healing. The reason for this is that the pressure caused by abdominal binders probably inhibits blood flow to the abdominal skin flap. Generally, stitches will be removed at two weeks after surgery.

You will notice swelling, which is to be expected. Although bruising is uncommon even if concomitant lipoplasty is performed, it occasionally occurs. The bruising and much of the swelling will disappear over a period of weeks. However, it may be months before all swelling subsides and you see the final result of your abdominoplasty. You may also notice some numbness over portions of the abdominal area, and this may persist for several months. Incisions will initially be red or pink in color. They will remain this way for many months following surgery and may even appear to worsen before they finally begin to fade. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel 

Double Board Certified 

Plastic Surgeon 

Hoffman Estates 




Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Tummy Tuck: Hospital or Outpatient Surgery Center?

Although tummy tuck procedures can be performed in the hospital, most are done in an outpatient surgery center. Normally these procedures are not performed in a hospital, and you should be home the same day although many surgeons prefer for you to stay overnight. Following surgery, you will be walking in a bent-over position to keep tension off the newly tightened skin incision site. Although strenuous activity, and lifting more than ten pounds, must be avoided for 6 weeks, some people can return to work and daily activities as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. Softening of the surgical scars, return of sensation, and loosening of the tight sensation may take several months to a year or more.
Abdominoplasty involves a recovery period of 10 to 14 days longer than most plastic surgical procedures. Initial discomfort and decreased mobility is typical. 3-5 days or more of assistance at home is usually indicated. You will be encouraged to move and walk regularly starting the day of surgery. Wearing your TED stockings at all times, except while washing, to prevent venous clots (deep vein thrombosis) is mandatory. Light activity is comfortable in 10-20 days. No sports or heavy lifting for 6 weeks or more – please discuss with your doctor for specific questions.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

How long is tummy tuck recovery

Thank you for your question about your tummy tuck.

Your photo suggests you are an excellent candidate for a tummy tuck with liposuction.
  • Usually you do not need to be in hospital
  • recovery is 2 weeks to full return of normal activity
  • 4-6 weeks to full return of energy and physically active jobs
  • Recovery is much easier if your surgeon can give you an Exparel injection into the muscle at the end of surgery. It greatly reduces the pain and speeds your recovery.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope this information helps. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Recovery after tummy tuck

Looks like you are a great candidate for a tummy tuck. Generally speaking, you need two weeks to recover from a tummy tuck. If you have a desk job, you can return at two weeks and drive. However, if your job has heavy lifting, you will need 4-6 weeks off . . . You'll be delighted with the results though! Good luck.

Joel Patrick Maier, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Tummy tuck

I usually send people home the day of surgery.  I ask you not to exercise for two weeks.  If you have a desk job, I usually think you can return Post-op day 11 (if I operate on Thursday then that is the Monday a week later).

Michael E. Decherd, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

How long will your hospital stay and recovery be after your tummy tuck?

Thanks for your question!

Typically, my tummy tuck patients are returning to work in 10-14 days following surgery after the drains have been removed.  I tell most patients that they can return to light aerobic activities at 3 weeks.  At 6 weeks, they are free to resume all normal activities.

I perform my cosmetic surgeries out of my in-office fully-accredited operating suite.  All of my surgeries are done on an out-patient basis, so there is no need for a hospital stay.  A tummy tuck can be safely performed as an outpatient.  If you would prefer to sleep in your bed the night after surgery, I would advise finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area that has a similar OR to mine.

Best of luck!

Brian K. Reedy, MD
Reading Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 144 reviews


Thank you for the photo. Typically recovery from an Abdominoplasty takes about six weeks. Often normal Abdominoplasty is perform as an outpatient procedure therefore there's no need for a hospital stay. I recommend that you consult with board-certified plastic surgeons for  more detailed recommendations.

Recovery after a Tummy Tuck

Thanks for your question.  Recovery time varies by the amount of surgery done.  Most women need a tightening of their rectus muscles at the time of surgery which usually lengthens the recovery period.  For the past 7 or 8 years, I have been treating all of my Tummy Tuck patients as an outpatient.  Very rarely does someone need to spend a night in the hospital.  For me, I find this works very nicely.

Suresh Koneru, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Tummy Tuck Recovery

Thank you for your question. The surgery is usually performed in an outpatient  surgery center.  It generally takes 10-14 days to recover from the surgery. However, It can take a couple of months before you get your final results.

Jon E. Rast, MD
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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.