Tummy Tuck Recovery

What to Expect During Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

A toned and flat stomach is something that most people desire. Sometimes after weight loss or pregnancy, loose skin develops on the stomach. 

Additionally, some patients have a bulge in their abdomen. This bulge is due to a condition known as Diastasis Recti. This happens when abdominal muscles separate after one or more pregnancies, or after significant weight loss. Women are commonly affected after twin pregnancies or multiple pregnancies, but it can happen even after one pregnancy. Men can also experience diastasis recti if they have a history of being obese.

 A “tummy tuck” or abdominoplasty is a popular surgery that addresses loose skin on the abdomen by removing the excess tissue. A tummy tuck can also address the separation of muscles by bringing the muscles back to its normal position in the middle of the abdomen, preventing a bulge.

Many patients enjoy renewed confidence after their tummy tuck surgery, which is why the surgery is consistently one of the most popular cosmetic procedures. Despite the popularity of this surgery, many people still don’t know what to expect from the recovery process.

At Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Brian Bassiri-Tehrani and our patient care team are dedicated to making sure our patients know what to expect throughout their surgical journey. When you visit our Manhattan office, we’ll walk you through the steps of the procedure and your tummy tuck recovery.

The Typical Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

While there’s no single answer for how long your recovery will last, when you visit an expert tummy tuck surgeon, you can expect certain milestones. 

There’s a general timeframe for recovering from a tummy tuck, but that timeframe can be impacted by age, general health, the type of tummy tuck you had done, and how well you follow your post-surgery care instructions.

During a tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Bassiri-Tehrani performs a nerve block (Transversus Abdominis Plane Block a.k.a. TAP Block) to reduce post-operative pain.

Immediately After Surgery

An abdominoplasty can be an outpatient surgery, however, you may want to spend the night in the recovery suite for enhanced comfort. If you decide to go home the same day as surgery, you will need to have someone available to drive you from our office. You’ll rest in the recovery room at our Manhattan surgical center until you’ve woken up from the anesthesia and are ready to head home. 

The incision on your abdomen will be covered in a surgical dressing, and you may have drains placed to help with healing. You’ll be given prescription pain meds to help manage any discomfort for the first few days.

Before you go, our care team will make sure you understand your post-care instructions and how to care for your incisions. 

Once You’re Home

Your number one priority after your surgery is to make sure you are walking around. This is important to prevent the risk of blood clots. It is important to avoid lifting anything heavy (anything greater than 5 pounds) for the first 4-6 weeks to protect your incisions.

To protect your incision, you won’t be able to stand up straight for the first few days. Your abdomen may feel tight, so you may find it easier and more comfortable to walk slightly hunched over. After one week, you should feel able to stand up straight. It’s important to have some at-home help during your recovery.

You’ll need to wear a compression garment for the few weeks following your surgery. For the first week you will be put in an abdominal compression binder. After the first week, you will be placed in a Faja compression garment that will continue to provide compression. We will take measurements of your body to make sure the compression garments fit you well.

Eating plenty of vegetables and other foods that are rich in protein and fiber can help with the healing process. Be sure to stay hydrated.

4 to 5 Days

Towards the end of the first week, most patients are able to stand up straight and switch to non-prescription pain meds.

1 Week

Most patients can return to working from home within about 1 week of their surgery. It’s important to take brief walks each day to help with blood flow and healing, but strenuous exercise isn’t recommended.

Lymphatic Massage: Typically after one week, your drains will come out. At that time, you may be a candidate for lymphatic massage. Lymphatic massage is important to help the swelling go down after surgery. This will help the healing process and recovery go by much faster.

2 Weeks

By the second week, you can expect to resume your normal diet. It’s a good idea to limit sodium and stay well hydrated. Lightly massaging the treated area and using scar-minimizing creams can help as the incision continues to heal.

You may still be experiencing some swelling or tightness, but this should be fading as your tummy tuck recovery continues to progress.

1 Month

After 1 month, you should be getting your strength back and can introduce more vigorous exercise (with approval from your surgeon), but you should still prioritize rest when you’re tired. Gradually reintroduce activity into your routine.

6 Weeks

By the end of 6 weeks, you’ll feel back to normal and able to resume all activities after you’ve been cleared by Dr. Bassiri-Tehrani. Most patients feel fully recovered within 6 to 8 weeks.

Make your recovery easier with these tips

The most important thing you can do for your tummy tuck recovery is to follow your post-surgical care instructions. Beyond that, there are a few things you can do to make your recovery easier:

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is crucial to helping your body recover after a tummy tuck procedure. Water helps move nutrients and oxygen through your body and also helps to prevent infections.

Sleep Well

Rest is the most critical part of your recovery period. Getting enough sleep and taking it easy gives your body time to focus on healing. Trying to get back to normal activities too quickly can impact your incision and prolong your recovery.

Get Moderate Exercise

While rest is essential when recovering from surgery, some light exercise can help stimulate circulation, which helps the healing process. Walking every day is excellent, and you can build stamina by trying to walk a little more than you did the day before. Walking is also helpful to prevent blood clots.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

A tummy tuck does help smooth the abdomen, but weight changes can impact your results. Following a well-balanced diet is an important part of your recovery and is essential for maintaining your results for the long term.

Are there restrictions during tummy tuck recovery?

There are a few things you’ll need to avoid while recovering from surgery to ensure you heal quickly and well.

No Smoking, No Tobacco at all

Smoking and any form of tobacco (hookah, cigars, vaping, nicotine patches, nicotine gum) all can delay or impair healing because it deprives the body of oxygen, which it uses to heal wounds and build healthy tissue. The nicotine found in tobacco significantly narrows blood vessels, which prevents the body from delivering the necessary nutrients to the surgical site. Smokers tend to have higher rates of complications because of this.

Avoid Strenuous Activity

Overly strenuous exercise can slow down healing by leading to unnecessary bruising, swelling, and fluid buildup. You could also risk opening your incision or causing an infection, which might cause excess scarring and prolong your recovery.

Avoid High-Sodium Foods

Salty foods can make the stomach feel more cramped and can lead to excess swelling that prolongs your healing time.

Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck?

An abdominoplasty, known more widely as a tummy tuck, is a restorative solution for the abdomen. A tummy tuck can improve your self-confidence in your figure with a leaner, more slender appearance.

Ideal candidates for tummy tuck surgery are:

  • Non-smokers, or willing to quit at least 4 weeks before the surgery
  • At a stable weight for at least 3-6 months that can be maintained after surgery
  • Experiencing excess skin and/or fat on the abdomen
  • Done having children or not planning to get pregnant

Some patients might also have severely weakened or separated stomach muscles after giving birth. An abdominoplasty can help tighten those muscles, providing greater strength and support in the abdomen, which can improve posture and reduce back pain.

What should I expect during a tummy tuck consultation?

You’ll visit our New York City office for a confidential tummy tuck consultation. Dr. Bassiri-Tehrani will listen to your concerns and goals for an abdominoplasty, with his priority being to provide an individualized surgical plan tailored to your specific anatomy and goals.

We highly encourage you to ask questions during your consultation. Our team will walk you through each step of the procedure and recovery process so you can feel comfortable and confident in your decision.

Some questions to consider asking:

  • What technique do you think will be most effective?
  • What is the recovery process like?
  • Where will the incisions be made?
  • Should I combine my tummy tuck with liposuction?
  • Should I combine my tummy tuck with other procedures?
  • How long will I need to take off work?

You’ll also take time to view before and after photos of other patients during your in-office consultation.

Why consider Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery for your tummy tuck in NYC

For years, our practice has been persistent in our search for perfection as the best plastic surgeons in New York. We bring evolution, experience, expertise, and uniqueness to our tummy tuck patients in our Manhattan office. 

Our goal at Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery is to help patients actualize their ideal self-image for the highest level of personal authenticity and attractiveness possible. Our surgeons couple an attentive bedside manner with genuine concern for their patients’ welfare to deliver the best abdominoplasty results possible.

Interested in learning more about the tummy tuck procedure? Schedule a consultation.

A tummy tuck offers an effective solution to restore your figure for a refined, slimmer result. If you’re struggling with shedding excess skin or fat, reach out to schedule a consultation with Pearlman Aesthetic Surgery.

Dr. Brian Bassiri-Tehrani is a highly skilled plastic surgeon who specializes in breast surgeries, liposuction, tummy tucks, and mommy makeovers.

With all of his patients, Dr. Bassiri-Tehrani combines his passion for medicine and his love for aesthetics to create amazing results. His ultimate goal as a plastic surgeon is to deliver personalized care that not only enhances his patients’ physical appearance but also improves their overall well-being.  

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