Do’s and Don’ts of Tummy Tuck Recovery

March 7, 2018
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A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat for a better look. Your post-op recovery care plays a big role in how your tummy tucks turns out, so it’s something that you should be sure not to overlook. There are plenty of things you’ll want to do and not do while recovering from tummy tuck recovery.


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  • Ask Questions – Be sure you understand the side effects of surgery. If you experience pain or discomfort, you should ask your doctor right away to make sure it’s not a serious problem.
  • Plan Ahead – You’ll need certain items to help you recover, but you’ll likely be in no shape to go shopping right after your surgery. These items include heating pads and cold compresses, as well as easy to cook foods and plenty of water and other drinks. If you do find yourself needing something, rely on a friend or family member or use a delivery service.
  • Take Medications – Your cosmetic surgeon may prescribe you with medication to help with pain and soreness. Take these prescriptions as directed and avoid over-the-counter medicines without talking to your cosmetic surgeon first. Fill your prescriptions before your surgery so you don’t have to deal with it afterward.
  • Use Compression Garments – In order to reduce swelling and optimize your tummy tuck results, it’s recommended that you wear a compression garment one month to six weeks following your tummy tuck procedure.
  • Wear Comfortable Underwear – So that you experience as little irritation as possible following a tummy tuck, choose underwear with a comfortable fit. Cotton is ideal, as it is breathable fabric that will assist with healing.
  • Keep Up with Incision Care – The incision made during your tummy tuck needs to stay clean, dry, and protected. Follow the instructions given by your surgeon about suggested proper incision care procedure, and be sure to report any discharge, swelling, or intense pain to your surgeon.
  • Ensure Adequate Antibiotic and Pain Medication – To help you manage your pain and minimize the risk of infection, it’s important to stay on top of your supply of prescriptions.


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  • Skipping Appointments – Follow-up appointments are scheduled for a reason and can ensure that you are recovering properly. They can adjust your recovery time or medications if needed.
  • Rushing Recovery – You may want to show off your new and improved body, but you need to take it slow and be sure you fully recover. Get plenty of rest and don’t return to your normal routine until you are cleared to do so.
  • Smoking and Drinking – Smoking increases your risk of complications and can prevent your body from healing properly. Alcohol can also weaken your immune system and increase the likelihood of complications.
  • Driving – Driving is not recommended until your cosmetic surgery incision has healed, although you may be able to travel a short distance depending on how you feel. You should be able to open and close doors, use the seatbelt, sit, and turn the wheel comfortably. Consult your surgeon for advice.
  • Swimming – Because your tummy tuck incision is an open wound, exposure to water can increase your infection risk. As well, the body movement that swimming requires can cause your incision to split. Therefore, swimming isn’t recommended until at least six weeks following surgery.
  • Engaging in Sexual Activity – Because sexual activity involves the abdominal area, having sex is not recommended until at least four weeks have passed since your surgery.

Recovery Tips Following Tummy Tuck

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In addition to the above dos and don’ts, taking the following recovery tips into consideration will help the healing process with as little risk of infection as possible:

Listen to your surgeon – Following the advice of your cosmetic surgeon is the best and most effective way to avoid complications and speed your healing. Letting them know as soon as possible about any possible signs of infection, such as intense pain, is also strongly recommended.

Make rest and comfort the priority – The best way to take care of your body following tummy tuck surgery is to rest and make sure you’re comfortable. Eliminate pulling at your incision site by propping your knees and head up with pillows, for example.

Enlist help – In the initial days after surgery, it will be difficult for you to accomplish simple tasks like standing up straight, getting dressed and getting out of bed on your own. That being said, having a family member or trusted friend do help you with these and other tasks will be of great help to you.

Nourish your body – Proper nourishment will be absolutely instrumental to your healing and health. Incorporate foods rich in Vitamin C, as well as pineapple and dark leafy greens into your diet, and avoid gas-causing foods like cabbage.

Take the time you need – Instead of rushing back to work, it’s a good idea to take adequate time off to heal. Typically, two weeks is sufficient to ensure reduced pain, fatigue, and tension at the incision site.

Move around, carefully – Walking short distances frequently is suggested for recovery for tummy tuck and reduced clot risk. However, it’s important to avoid strenuous physical activity or heavy lifting.

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Located in Galleria, the Aesthetic Surgery Institute is Houston’s choice for a wide range of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures for face and body. Learn more about the benefits of choosing us for your tummy tuck or other cosmetic procedure. Call (832) 271-5560 or visit our contact page.