Tummy Tuck Downtime

Seven things you should know before you have a tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is an increasingly popular body reshaping procedure. Here our tummy tuck expert covers all aspects of the abdominoplasty procedure.

1 Expect a significant period of tummy tuck downtime

There’s no aroundng round this: a tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure, and it will take weeks for you to heal. After all, we’re talking about a hip-to-hip incision, the repositioning of your stomach muscles and removal of fat and skin, so you should be fully prepared for two to three weeks of tummy tuck downtime.

2 Expect a modicum of pain and discomfort at first

Immediately after the procedure, you will experience sensations of fatigue, swelling and soreness. It is totally normal to have moderate pain during the healing process, but this will steadily improve and you can start to return to normal activities.

3 Expect to need help at first

We can’t stress this enough: you’ve had an intense procedure on a part of the body that you’ve taken for granted all your life, and you’ll be surprised at what you won’t be able to do after the procedure, and it is essential that you allow yourself time to focus on rest and healing. If you think ‘rest and healing’ means ‘taking a week or so off work’, think again: abdominoplasty patients will need assistance with household chores and children, and very strenuous physical activities are completely off the table for at least four to six weeks.

4 You need to be at a stable weight before your tummy tuck

Why? Well, most surgeons will recommend that you are at or close to the ideal weight for your size and frame. This isn’t a carrot-and-stick thing, or a way for the surgeon to make their own job easier: weight fluctuations after the procedure can not only undo the shape achieved through your surgery, but it can also stretch the abdominal tissue, meaning you’ll have to undergo another procedure to reset your shape.

5 A tummy tuck will leave a permanent scar

This will run along the horizontal incision line, stretching from hip to hip, right above the pubic bone and there may also be an incision around the belly button. While the scar should heal very well, it will never disappear completely. During your consultation with our tummy tuck expert Mr Anthony MacQuillan, placement of the incision and how to ensure the best possible healing will be discussed.

6 You may need surgical drains after the procedure

After surgery, surgical drains – tubes which remove blood and other fluids from a wound or incision, which could really do with a nicer name – can be put in place to eliminate build-ups, keep swelling down and ensuring the healing process goes as smoothly as possible. You won’t have them in for long – they’re usually removed after a week or so. You’ll need to keep an eye on them and ensure they don’t get knocked out and your cosmetic surgeon will take you through whether you’ll need them and how to care for them.

7 Full healing can take up to a year

The timescale of post-op abdominoplasty is not swift. Over the first several weeks, you’ll experience redness, bruising, stiffness and swelling. This will resolve over the first four to six weeks, and you’ll be able to visualise your results. However, there can still be residual swelling for six months or longer and it can take a full year before the complete results of surgery can be seen.