Successfully Planning Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

For patients who have already made the decision to have a tummy tuck, the next step is usually to ask about recovery time. In most cases, the extent of a tummy tuck treatment is the key factor to how long recovery takes. However, most patients can return to sedentary work after a week or so. 

Preoperative planning is just as essential as postoperative planning in ensuring both a successful surgery and recovery. Dr. Stephen Hardy and his highly trained team at Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates in Missoula, MT, will prepare you for treatment so that your safety and healing are prioritized during your life-changing tummy tuck recovery

Possible Post-Operative Risks

A tummy tuck is not a simple procedure. It may require lengthy incisions, the removal of skin and fat, reattaching abdominal muscles, and even liposuction. As a result, there is a significant amount of strain placed on your body. It will take time to recover and properly heal. Since there is risk involved with all surgery, it is imperative that you follow Dr. Hardy’s instructions so as to avoid postoperative complications and a lengthy recovery time.

Possible complications include:

  • Skin infections
  • Lengthy wound healing 
  • Failed sutures
  • Scar tissue around the incisions
  • Uneven or unsightly scars
  • Blood clots
  • Seroma or hematoma formation

How Long Will My Recovery Take?

The time it takes to recover from a tummy tuck will vary from patient to patient. The extent of your tummy tuck surgery will be a big factor in your recovery time. You should plan and schedule at least two weeks away from work.

Most oral pain medication will be needed for at least the first five to seven days, which will limit your ability to drive and possibly limit your function at work. However, some patients may be able to return to a sedentary job after a week. 

Preoperative planning is just as essential as postoperative planning in ensuring both a successful surgery and recovery.

Your first week home from surgery will include mild to moderate levels of pain, bruising, swelling, and tightness. During week two, there should be a decline in pain and tightness, but some swelling may still be present. Around day 10, you may feel ready to return to work. After the third week, you will start to see your results emerge as the swelling subsides. 

Preparing Your Home for Recovery

Preparing your home for recovery well in advance will allow you the chance to heal without stress, added fatigue, or additional pain. Proper planning before a tummy tuck operation will lay the groundwork for a comfortable recovery period. Some of the ways you can prepare for your recovery include:

  • Identifying someone who can stay by your side: Who can you count on for support and care during the first 48 hours after surgery? You will likely need to rely on someone to assist with simple tasks like getting out of bed, changing clothes, showering, and basic mobility. Friends or family may need to help with household tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and tending to your pets and plants. 
  • Stocking your kitchen: Maintaining a healthy diet after surgery and drinking plenty of water can help you heal faster. Make sure you have healthy foods within easy reach. Preparing and freezing your meals ahead of time can also be very helpful. Stock up on several cases of water bottles and plenty of ice packs in advance.
Woman placing ice pack on lower belly
Ice packs and cold compresses can soothe irritation and cut down on swelling.
  • Applying cool compresses: Compresses or ice packs should be applied over the surgical site in 15- to 20- minute intervals to help reduce swelling.
  • Arranging childcare: If you have children, you should make sure that you have someone to care for them for at least the first seven to 10 days. Creating a schedule with a list of backup sitters can be helpful.

During your recovery, it is also important to walk around the house as much as possible. This will loosen up your body, reduce painful swelling, and reduce your risk of blood clots. 

Lay the Groundwork for Recovery

At Northwest Plastic Surgery Associates, you are not just another number in a long list of patients, but a valued member of our practice. We respect the trust you place in us for your reconstructive and cosmetic surgery needs. If you have any additional questions regarding your tummy tuck recovery, please contact us today online or by calling us at either of our offices.

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Dr. Stephen P. Hardy is a renowned plastic surgeon with prestigious national affiliations:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
  • American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA)

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (406) 728-3811.

Contact Us (406) 728-3811

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