The initial recovery time for tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) requires at least 2-3 weeks and for a few days, you need to rest and have downtime. This is to reduce scarring and to avoid bruising and swelling.
Daily Activities after the tummy tuck surgery
During your tummy tuck, the surgeon will place small drainage tubes near your incision to stop fluid from building up in that area while you heal. You will need to empty your drains several times a day. The nurses will show you how to do this before you leave the hospital. Your drains will remain in place until the surgeon removes them in a follow-up visits or there is less than 10 mls of fluid collected within the past 24 hours.
You will be able to start scar massage and use scar tapes or creams to minimize the appearance of your scar at least three weeks after surgery.
What to Wear
After your tummy tuck procedure, you will have wound dressing over your incisions (surgical cuts). You will also wear a compression garment around your abdomen to prevent fluid buildup and to support you while you heal. You should always wear your compression garment except when showering or washing it. You can stop wearing it shortly after your drains are removed however most patients found it to be comfortable and continue wearing it for a few more weeks.
Initially, you will want to avoid clothing that digs into your waist. You may be most comfortable wearing loose-fitting pants, such as drawstring pajama pants or dresses.
Showering & Bathing
You can resume a daily shower two days after surgery however you must keep the dressing dry by covering it with waterproof sheath. Do not soak in a bathtub, pool, or hot tub until your incisions heal or approved by your surgeon.
Physical Activity & Exercise
Walking: Expect to spend plenty of time resting the first few days after your tummy tuck, with the exception of walking around the house to maintain healthy circulation. After three weeks, you should be able to walk normally, but not forcefully.
Bending and squatting: For six weeks after surgery, you should avoid or ease into these positions as they may be strain your incision line.
Lifting: For the first four to six weeks, you should not lift anything over 10 pounds.
You can gradually start increasing your physical activity six weeks after your tummy tuck. However, you should avoid any strenuous activity or motion with excessive force until three months after surgery.
How to Sleep
For the first few days after surgery, you should sleep on your back or side and place pillows under your knees to take the pressure off of your abdominal muscles. When you get out of bed, you should turn on your side first and/or have someone support your back. You can also try to sleep in a recliner, if you have one, to maintain the proper position.
Driving & Returning to Work
Before you drive or return to work, it’s best to get your surgeon’s approval at a follow-up visit. In general, you should not drive until you’ve been off of your prescription pain medication for at least 24 hours and can safely operate a vehicle in traffic.
You may be able to drive and return to a desk job as early as two weeks after a tummy tuck. If your work requires heavy lifting or strenuous activity, you will need to wait at least four to six weeks.