University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday–Friday | 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

What To Do (and Not Do) During Tummy Tuck Recovery

Woman in white undergarments with hand on hip. (MODEL)

Many patients considering tummy tuck surgery have more questions about recovery than the procedure itself. Besides wanting to know how long it takes to recover from a tummy tuck, they have questions about details such as how to sleep after a tummy tuck, what’s it like to wear a compression garment, and how to care for surgical drains.

These questions and others fall into the category of dos and don’ts during your tummy tuck recovery. So, in this blog post, we provide a list to help you recover as comfortably as possible and minimize the risk of post-op complications.

The Do’s and Don’ts for Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

The Do’s

  • Sleep with your knees bent: Lying flat on your back puts tension on the stitches and might even cause the sutures to rupture. You should plan to sleep with your knees slightly bent and use pillows to elevate your upper body. Some patients elect to sleep in a recliner for the first week or two.
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet: Constipation is an unfortunate side effect following surgery and can be particularly uncomfortable after a tummy tuck. Eating fibrous foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, oatmeal, and bran cereal will minimize constipation. It’s also important to stay hydrated and drink prune juice.
  • Get plenty of rest: Abdominoplasty is a major surgical procedure; your body will need plenty of rest while it heals. That being said, another “do” is to take frequent, brief walks around the house to maintain healthy blood circulation. Remain slightly hunched during your walks to prevent strain on your sutures.
  • Wear your compression garment 24/7: The specialized, tight-fitting elastic garment is vital to healing because it helps reduce swelling and minimize bruising. It also helps protect incisions and improves the procedure results.
  • Follow your medication schedule: Taking your pain medication and antibiotics as scheduled is integral to your recovery. Waiting until you’re in pain before taking the meds results in needless discomfort.

The Don’ts

  • Try to do too much, too soon: Recovery can be challenging for people who typically lead busy, active lives. Even when you start feeling a bit better, doing chores or even increasing the pace of your walks can set your recovery back.
  • Lift small children: This is particularly difficult for patients whose tummy tuck might have been part of a mommy makeover. Lifting a toddler puts strain on the incisions and might rupture the sutures.
  • Skip follow-up appointments: Your surgeon needs to ensure your recovery is going smoothly and can also adjust your medications if necessary.
  • Get down on yourself: Patients sometimes expect their recovery to be quicker than what typically occurs because they’re fast healers. Have reasonable expectations and realize that recovery after a tummy tuck may be unlike anything you’ve experienced.
  • Be afraid to ask questions: Our team is here to help. If you’re unsure about post-op instructions or feel like something isn’t quite right, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

If you’re considering a tummy tuck in the Charlottesville-Richmond, VA, area and would like to learn more about the procedure and what to expect during recovery, please contact us using the online form or call (434) 924-1234 to schedule an appointment.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked with * are required.