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Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline & Tips for Reduce Scars

  • Post published:May 20, 2024

Feel confident and informed every step of the way with this tummy tuck recovery and scar management guide.

How bad is the pain? What’s recovery like? These are only two of the many questions we get from our patients at Yoel Rojas Medical. If you’re contemplating getting a tummy tuck surgery and are curious about how long it takes to heal and the in-between details, we hope this guide answers your important questions. 

What is a Tummy Tuck? 

A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is a surgical procedure that reshapes the abdomen. It removes excess skin and fat, and tightens the muscles underneath to create a smoother, firmer midsection. People often get it after losing a lot of weight, having a baby, or as they get older and their skin becomes looser.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

Healing from a tummy tuck is a gradual process, and the  full recovery can take up to a year. However, most people feel close to normal again within 6-8 weeks.Here’s what you can expect after your tummy tuck surgery:

Immediately After Surgery

You may experience grogginess and nausea, but these symptoms typically fade within a day. Your surgeon will give you some pain medication to help with any discomfort you may feel. Your mobility will be limited, so you’ll likely need assistance with activities such as walking. The incision site will be covered with surgical dressings, and there may be drainage tubes in place to remove excess fluid. 

Weeks 1-2

This stage is focused on rest and healing. You’ll likely experience swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Pain medication will be prescribed by your surgeon, and you’ll need to wear a compression garment continuously for support and minimizing swelling. Short walks are encouraged to improve circulation, but strenuous activity is strictly off-limits. If you have a dog, we recommend having someone else walk your dog for the first two weeks.

Weeks 3-4

As swelling subsides, you’ll gradually regain mobility and energy. Light activities like housework can be resumed, but lifting anything heavy is still prohibited. Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated to promote healing.

Weeks 5-6

You’ll likely experience a significant improvement in your energy levels and pain reduction. Your doctor might clear you for light exercise like walking or swimming. Be cautious and listen to your body – don’t push yourself too hard.

Weeks 7-8

By this stage, most of the swelling should be gone, and you can return to most daily activities.  You may still experience some tightness or numbness in the abdominal area, which is normal. Gradually increase your exercise routine, but avoid strenuous activity or weight lifting until your doctor gives the green light.

Beyond 8 Weeks

Continued improvement in scar appearance and overall tone is expected. Patience is key – final results can take up to a year to fully develop as swelling completely resolves and scar tissue matures.

6 Best Practices to Reduce Scars After a Tummy Tuck

1. Follow post-surgery care instructions: Stick to the post-surgery care plan your surgeon gives you. Keep your incision clean and dry to prevent scarring.

2. Use scar management products: Use silicone-based scar gels or sheets as your surgeon suggests. They can help flatten and lighten your scars over time.

3. Protect your incision from sun exposure: Shield your incision site from direct sunlight for at least a year following surgery. UV rays can darken scars and make them more noticeable.

4. Maintain a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and nutrients can promote skin healing and reduce the risk of abnormal scarring. Stay hydrated and include foods high in vitamin C and zinc, which are beneficial for wound healing.

5. Avoid smoking and alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can impair the body’s healing process and increase the likelihood of prominent scarring. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can improve your skin’s ability to heal.

6. Attend follow-up appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon. They can monitor your healing progress, address any concerns, and provide additional recommendations for scar management if needed.

7. Consider scar massages and treatments. Once your doctor approves, a gentle massage of the scar tissue can improve blood flow and potentially soften the scar. RF microneedling and laser treatments can also improve the texture and color of your scars so definitely give it a shot. 

Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It?

A tummy tuck can be life-changing for many men and women. Patient reviews from across RealSelf gives tummy tuck procedures a 95% “worth it” rating. But the procedure isn’t for everyone. 

Deciding if a tummy tuck is worth it depends on your situation and what you hope to achieve. If you’re bothered by excess skin or fat in your belly area and haven’t had success with diet and exercise, a tummy tuck could make a big difference. 

But there are things to think about, like your health, the cost, and how much time you’ll need to recover. It’s also important to know about the risks, like infection or bleeding. Your surgeon can help you weigh all these things and decide if a tummy tuck is the right choice for you

Talk to a Hollywood Tummy Tuck Surgeon. 

Getting a tummy tuck is a huge investment. We understand you’ll have plenty of questions about the procedure. But we’re happy to listen to all the questions and concerns you might have. 

Multi-awarded and board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Yoel Rojas produces some of the most stunning tummy tuck results you can find. Call us to book a consultation. We serve patients all over Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Glendale, New York, and surrounding areas.

Tummy Tuck Before and After Photos

Imagine achieving a smoother, firmer midsection. Look at these real results with our tummy tuck before and after photos. Head to our gallery to see more stunning results like these.