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What Are the Worst Days After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

By Dr. Charles J. Galanis

Worst Days After Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you’re concerned about suffering through the worst days after tummy tuck surgery, you’re not alone. Many patients ask about the pain and discomfort following abdominoplasty with concern for their well-being during this time.

Although it is certainly true that tummy tucks, being major surgery, do come with unfavorable symptoms during the recovery period, it’s important to remember that these symptoms tend to be short-lived.

Furthermore, don’t forget why you are getting this surgery. Tummy tuck procedures are often the only method of repair for severe tummy skin sagging and separated abdominal muscles.

Most patients are passionate about improving their physique, self-confidence, and overall comfort with abdominoplasty. And these motivations will be helpful to keep in mind when concern sets in about the discomfort of recovery.

Below, we’ll outline specifically what you can expect during this time, as well as the steps you can take to minimize your discomfort and perhaps even enjoy much of the recovery process.

What Are the Worst Days After a Tummy Tuck?

Day By Day Tummy Tuck RecoveryThe worst days after a tummy tuck procedure tend to be the first one to three days. During this time, it’s typical for patients to experience pain and soreness, swelling and bloating, fatigue, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

The good news is these symptoms should begin to disappear around the end of the first week of your recovery. And from there, the recovery process should be improvement after improvement.

Tummy Tuck Recovery: What to Expect

Swelling, soreness, and bruising are the most common symptoms following a tummy tuck procedure. Many patients experience a pulling sensation as well. This is because the skin on the upper abdomen has been stretched downward, and excess skin that once gathered primarily on the lower abdomen has been tightened, removed, or reduced.

Tummy tuck patients may also experience any of the following symptoms during their recovery:

  • Pain
  • Itchiness
  • Numbness or changes in sensation
  • Tightness
  • Bloating

Tips for a Smooth Tummy Tuck Recovery

#1 – Take pain medications as directed.

Throughout the first tummy tuck recovery week, post operative pain is normal. Therefore, most patients need to take prescription pain medication to improve their comfort and manage pain.

If possible, we recommend you pick this medication (and any others) up prior to your surgery so that there’s no need to run to the pharmacy after your procedure.

#2 – Get plenty of rest.

Total bed rest is not required after a tuck procedure, but you will need to limit your activity and get more sleep and rest than usual.

In general, you’re going to need to take it easy for at least one to two weeks. This is usually the duration of time that patients need to take off from work or school. If you have a job that is very physically demanding, you may need to take off longer.

#3 – Create a cozy recovery space.

Again, before your surgery — and not after — arrange your home so that it is especially comfortable and accommodating as you recover from surgery. Abdominoplasty is a major surgery. So, for a successful recovery, you’ll need to have a clean and tidy space with all you need close by.

We recommend setting up a central location where you can rest during the day. Put your chargers, tablet or computer, books and magazines, games and activities, snacks, bottles of water, tissues, lip balm, etc. nearby so that they are within arm’s reach. Then, make sure that your sleeping environment is comfortable and accommodating as well.

How Long Is Recovery From Tummy Tuck#4 – Don’t try to do too much at first.

Some patience make the mistake of trying to do too much after their surgery. Against their surgeon’s directions, they may start exercising, doing chores around the house, picking up their children or pets, etc. before they are really ready to handle these activities.

It is of the upmost importance that you take your recovery from a tummy tuck seriously. When your surgeon tells you not to partake in strenuous activities or lift anything heavy, take this to heart if you want to see great tummy tuck results.

#5 – Start moving when you’re able.

At a certain point in the initial period of your recovery, you’ll be cleared to take short, gentle walks. Moving slowly and carefully can actually promote healing and reduce swelling during your recovery. Wearing a compression garment can also help with this.

As time goes on, follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding physical activity. Slowly, you’ll be cleared to incorporate more exercise and movement into your routine. Still, this may not come for six to eight weeks, so have patience.

#6 – Keep track of your progress.

In addition to the physical challenges of tummy tuck recovery, this period can be mentally difficult as well. Many patients feel confused about the way they look during the first few weeks of their recovery because there is so much swelling and potentially significant discomfort for a few days.

They may wonder whether they made the right decision to undergo surgery. This is perfectly normal.

One way to help you through these emotions is to track your progress with pictures and a journal. Noting how you feel physically and mentally every day in a journal can help you see how you change throughout your recovery.

You can do the same thing with photographs. Although you may not see the slight improvements in your figure and incisions and the healing process, photos can show you that you are indeed healing as the days and weeks go by, and this can be encouraging.

FAQ: Tummy Tuck Recovery

When are the worst days after a tummy tuck and liposuction?

Typically, the most difficult period following any cosmetic surgery is the first one to three days.

How do I know if my tummy tuck is healing properly?

You should receive a list of rare, but potential complications that may occur during tummy tuck recovery. Unless you notice any of these symptoms and as long as you are caring for yourself and your incision sites properly, you should be healing well.

Of course, this can be confirmed at your regular follow-up appointments, which will be scheduled intermittently following your procedure.

Who is a good candidate for a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck candidates exhibit loose skin, excess fat, or dissatisfaction with their abdominal appearance. Whether due to genetics, pregnancy, weight loss, prior surgery, or aging, this procedure effectively addresses these concerns.

Schedule a Consultation Appointment

Please contact us today to schedule your tummy tuck consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Galanis. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you achieve your goals.



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