Abdominoplasty is considered to be major surgery, so those planning to undergo such a procedure need to ensure they are well aware of what will happen during their recovery. It will likely take patients several weeks to recover from a tummy tuck, but knowing what to expect in advance can help this process go much more smoothly.
Tummy tuck recovery will vary from person to person and may also depend on the extensiveness of the surgery. In general, expect to take approximately two weeks off of work, and plan for more time off if your job involves physical labor. Larger abdominoplasties may need more time to heal, while mini tummy tuck patients may find themselves back on the job sooner.
For many patients, the toughest part of recovering from abdominoplasty is dealing with pain and soreness in the abdominal area. Since an abdominoplasty typically involves making a large incision in this part of the body, that's to be expected. Your surgeon should provide you with painkillers to make dealing with this pain much easier. Some patients try to avoid taking painkillers, but there's really no reason to, especially since you'll be staying at home, recovering.
While painkillers will help, there are other ways to reduce the pain. Before surgery, consider buying underwear and pants that are a few sizes too big for you. Nobody wants a tight elastic band around their stomach hours after surgery, and wearing oversized garments can help with this. In addition, try to reduce the activities that will put stress on your abdomen. Many patients don't realize it, but something as simple as getting out of bed or sitting upright can compress the stomach muscles. This can be very painful with fresh incisions, so be sure you have someone to help you out of bed. Invest in comfortable pillows to keep slightly elevated as you rest.
Although it's tempting to simply lay on a bed of pillows for two weeks, light physical activity can help reduce swelling and the risk of blood clots. Be sure to walk around every now and then after the surgery. Try to do a bit more each day until you feel comfortable enough to resume normal activity.
Finally, staying vigilant about your surgical drains is the key to a good recovery. These drains ensure the incisions don't get infected. Your plastic surgeon will give you more instructions, and be sure to follow these to the letter. While it may be unpleasant, routinely emptying the drains is critical to a safe recovery from tummy tuck surgery.