Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

By Peter Fisher, MD on February 21, 2019

Before and after tummy tuck treatmentTummy tuck surgery is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic procedures at Dr. Peter Fisher’s plastic surgery practice. A tummy tuck addresses one of the most common problem areas on the body to give patients the flatter stomach they desire. Tummy tuck surgery eliminates excess skin and tissues to improve body contours, while repairing abdominal muscles that have become stretched.

The results of tummy tuck surgery are significant, but so is the impact it has on the body. Patients should have realistic expectations regarding the average tummy tuck recovery timeline prior to undergoing treatment at our San Antonio, TX practice. Here, Dr. Fisher prepares patients for what they should expect in the days and weeks following tummy tuck treatment.

The First 24 Hours of Recovery

The initial 24 hours of tummy tuck recovery will be the hardest. During this timeframe, patients will likely be experiencing the side effects of general anesthesia, all while beginning to experience the discomfort that is associated with any surgical recovery.

It is common for patients to deal with side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and pain during this first 24-hour period. The best way to get through this first stage of recovery is by resting as much as possible, and using prescribed pain medication as directed.

It is important that patients have someone to assist them during the first day or two of tummy tuck recovery because their functions and movements will be extremely limited.

The First Two Weeks of Recovery

After the effects of anesthesia wear off, the patient’s surgical side effects will become more noticeable. The most common side effects of tummy tuck surgery include:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Fatigue

Surgical side effects will be strongest during the first one to two weeks of recovery. Prescription pain medication or over-the-counter pain medication can be used to improve comfort levels. Compression garments are also extremely helpful during this stage of recovery. Compression garments support the stomach muscles and tissues as they heal, and help control inflammation.

Patients should allow themselves plenty of time to rest during this timeframe, and avoid returning to work or other routine activities.

At the same time, light and frequent exercise is important for encouraging blood flow and preventing blood clots. Short walks around the house can be extremely helpful.

Three to Six Weeks after Treatment

Within three to six weeks after tummy tuck surgery, most surgical side effects should be gone. Some inflammation and bruising may linger, but it should not be significant.

Around this time, most patients feel well enough to return to work and start leading a more active lifestyle again. To be safe, patients should refrain from heavy lifting and more strenuous exercises until at least six weeks post-surgery. At this point, the patient’s energy should return and the results of surgery will become apparent, making the first few weeks of recovery seem well worth it.

Contact Us

Tummy tuck surgery can get rid of stubborn fat and loose skin that do not respond to even the most strenuous diet and exercise routines. If you’d like to learn more about the tummy tuck procedure or the expected recovery timeline, contact us online at your earliest convenience, or call (210) 616-0798 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Peter Fisher.

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Dr. Fisher has been available to answer all of my questions and provide me with not only professional medical expertise, but also a much appreciated level of personal empathy. I would 100% recommend Dr. Fisher to anyone who is considering plastic surgery.



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