Your Tummy Tuck Home Recovery Schedule

Your operation went well, and now you need to allow your body time to heal, even if you’re the bounce-right-back type.  Your recuperation will depend on your age, general health, weight, and the type of tummy tuck you’ve undergone. This recovery schedule will help you understand how much time you will need away from work and what your home routine might look like as you recover. Prepare ahead of time by stocking your refrigerator and lining up your best downtime entertainment: videos, books on tape and simple home tasks. 

 Don’t hesitate to call or contact us if you have questions: Stephen Bresnick, M.D., (818) 981-3333

Essentials for the First Two Days after Surgery

Have someone drive you home from the hospital and help take care of you. 

Physically, you’ll experience abdominal swelling, soreness, and sluggishness. You’ll be wearing a compression garment for better healing, comfort, and support during your first month—even while you sleep. This compression garment will help manage swelling and skin re-draping after surgery.

Take special care to empty and maintain any surgical drains. 

Medications may be necessary: antibiotic, an anticoagulant, and, if needed, a topical skin preparation. For managing any discomfort, we recommend that you use non-aspirin-based products to prevent bleeds. Dr. Bresnick will prescribe the best medications for you and tell you what over the counter products you should use once he reviews your medical history. And, if you are concerned about the first few days of your recovery, many non-opioid pain medications are available.  

Rest is a priority. Dr. Bresnick may caution you to sleep on an incline for the first few days, keeping your upper body raised slightly to help reduce swelling. 

Movement is vital to help circulation and reduce the risk of forming blood clots in your legs. You won’t be doing any exercise during your initial healing, but you should walk around the house for a few minutes every hour or two. 

Diet: Keep it healthy and well balanced. To minimize swelling, reduce your sodium intake and drink plenty of water. Many nutritionists recommend high protein foods, vitamins A and C supplements, green tea to boost immunity and antioxidant levels, and enjoying pineapple and papaya to reduce bloating and inflammation. Alcohol and pain medication are a risky combination, and smoking can hinder your healing process.

Days 3-6, Restrained Progress

You should be feeling much better now, but you will still need to adhere to the above guidelines. 

Hygiene is limited to a refreshing sponge bath. (If your abdominoplasty included liposuction, there might be certain areas you need to keep dry. Dr. Bresnick will let you know based on your surgical plan.)

Medications can cause constipation, so if you haven’t had a bowel movement yet, probiotics and whole-fat yogurt can help. 

You can begin to move around a bit more after the first few days. Stand straight and increase the duration of your walks. Don’t push too hard and be patient with your healing body.

First Week Post-op—No More Drains!

At your post-op appointment, Dr. Bresnick will likely remove your drains, check your incisions, and ensure everything is healing correctly. You should now be cleared to take showers. 

Continue a low-sodium diet and drink plenty of fluids. Dr. Bresnick can recommend safe laxatives if constipation persists. 

Keep moving. You can start preparing your own meals and possibly return to some work at your desk. Listen to your body, though, and don’t overdo it.

2 Weeks Post-op— Escape the House

You’ll have another follow-up with Dr. Bresnick at this point. Your mobility has improved, and you can enjoy a regular healthy diet.

You’re getting out of the house to socialize, run a few errands, and enjoy some fresh air. However, strenuous activity is still out. Don’t lift anything over 10 pounds.

One Month Out—Regular Underwear and Sex

You’ll come in for another check-up and probably begin a scar healing protocol to help scars fade and flatten. Get an okay from Dr. Bresnick before you stop wearing your compression garment. You’ll probably be able to wear regular underwear now and resume your sex life.

6 Weeks after Surgery and Beyond

Swimming, running, yoga—you’re up for it now. Establish a routine of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Residual tightness is completely normal, but tone down any exertion when you feel it. 

Two to three months following surgery, you should enjoy the full benefits of your tummy tuck. Enjoy your new body!


Schedule a consultation if you have questions. (818) 981-3333

Dr. Bresnick, MD, is a board-certified, highly trained expert cosmetic surgeon. 

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