Tummy Tuck Questions and Answers

The following Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) questions are asked by real people like you. The answers are provided by board-certified doctors or qualified medical providers who meet our exacting standards.

It depends on your doctor’s approval and your individual case; you might need to spend 1 to 3 night in the hospital.

Full recovery from an abdominoplasty takes about 1 to 4 weeks. During the first week after the surgery, you will experience the most swelling and bruises. These side-effects will subside over-time and by following the doctor’s instructions. It is crucial to stick to a healthy diet program and refrain from strenuous activities during this period.

To understand about the most common side effects after tummy tuck, read our articles on tummy tuck pain and swelling after tummy tuck.

If you have a desk-job, you can get back to work in 10 to 14 days. However, it is necessary to follow doctor’s instructions for at least a month after the surgery.

For about 2 weeks after a tummy tuck, you need to avoid exercising. However, walking for short sessions can be helpful during this period. During the third and fourth week after the surgery, light exercising may gradually increase. More strenuous activities like heavy lifting should be avoided for at least 7 to 8 weeks. Generally speaking, exercising and doing physical activities should increase slowly and as advised by your surgeon.

For about 3 days after an abdominoplasty, drains will be attached to your body. These small and thin tubes are placed to prevent fluid accumulation (seroma) at the surgical site. They will be removed on the third day during a follow-up appointment.

Usually, you are recommended to remove the bandages in a day or two after abdominoplasty. Then, the surgical wound and stitches have to be carefully cleaned using water and soap. Lastly, the area should be pat dried and wrapped with a new dressing. You should change the dressing with this routine on a daily basis.

The stitches after a tummy tuck are usually absorbable. That is, they don’t need to be removed but dissolve after 10 to 14 days. The sutures inside you navel, however, are usually non-absorbable and will be removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery.

Depending on how much tissue has been removed and the amount of fluid drainage, your surgeon will tell you when you can remove the bandages (gauze dressing). Usually, the dressing can be removed within 2 to 5 days.

The fluid will continue to be drained from the surgical site for about 7 to 14 days. It is a normal side-effect of the surgery and keeps happening for as long as there is a space between the skin and the underlying muscles.

During the abdominoplasty surgery, you won’t feel any pain on account of the anesthesia. For 2 to 3 days after the surgery, you might feel moderate pain and discomfort which could be managed using pain killers.

To understand more, go to abdominoplasty pain: all you need to know.

You should rest for at least one week after a tummy tuck surgery and increase your activity level over time. The recovery after an abdominoplasty is different per case. Yet, most people can resume their daily activities within 10 to 14 days after the surgery. In order to drive a car, you should wait for 2 to 3 weeks. Most workouts will also be restricted for a while.

For the first 2 weeks after the abdominoplasty, you should sleep with your head elevated (to 30-40 degrees) and your knees slightly bent toward your stomach. While it is prohibited to sleep on your stomach, you may sleep on your sides with bent knees.

For about 7 to 14 days after the surgery, you may walk with your body bent.

Once you are fully conscious after the surgery, you may drink water and juice unless you feel nauseous. You may also consume fruit compote or biscuits with softened texture if your stomach can tolerate them. For your first dinner after the surgery, it is okay to have light meals like soup or grilled chicken.

From the day after your tummy tuck forward, you can return to your normal diet (with small to moderate portions). You should refrain from overeating and adopt a healthy diet program following the surgery.

Read more about the suitable diet on: a guide to post tummy tuck diet.

No. The surgery is not considered a weight-loss procedure. For successful results, you should stick to a diet program and exercising routine to lose weight as much as you can and maintain it for 6 months before the surgery.

During a tummy tuck, you will be put under general anesthesia.

Yes. The scars will fade away significantly and barely visible within a year after the surgery. For women who have had a c-section surgery, we will make the incision on the previous scar left from the c-section.

Yes, you may have a tummy tuck after your c-section surgery. However, we recommend that you wait for at least 6 months to a year after giving birth so that your physical state is stable and the amount of fat underneath the skin and your muscle tonus can be measured.

You can get pregnant after a tummy tuck. However, it could reverse the results of your abdominoplasty and you may require a revision tummy tuck. And in rare cases, pregnancy after tummy tuck can leave your skin with deep stretch marks. We recommend that you opt for abdominoplasty about 6 months to a year after pregnancy.

You are prohibited to shower or take a bath as long as you have drains. To keep yourself clean, you may use a damp towel. About 24 to 72 hours after the time that the drains are removed (usually between 3 to 7 days after the surgery), the wounds left by drains are healed and you may shower.

Not all of them, the most stretch marks that can be removed during an abdominoplasty are those surrounding the navel. Therefore, you may not be able to get rid of those stretch marks that are located above the navel through a tummy tuck surgery. However, the surgery can really enhance the overall appearance of your abdomen.

No. Given that the fat cells stop multiplying in adulthood, the results of surgery won’t be reversed if you maintain your weight. It is important to note that those who have had an abdominoplasty, can achieve satisfactory results if they follow a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Surgeries that can be done in conjunction with tummy tuck surgery are include some of the procedures that are performed on the body such as breast reduction, breast implants, liposuction as well as facial surgeries like blepharoplasty, eyebrow lift, cheek implants, dimpleplasty, or double chin removal surgery

While performing abdominoplasty, another surgery can be done at the same time if they don’t interfere. Therefore, you may undergo tummy tuck surgery at the same time with procedures like umbilical hernia, small PCOS surgery, Tubal Ligation surgery or femoral hernia surgery. That said, you should always seek your surgeon’s opinion on the matter.

During mini abdominoplasty, the surgeon will perform the procedure on the sagging skin below the belly button without altering its location. The scarring will be minimal. With regular tummy tuck however, the entire soft tissue below the belly button, surrounding it, and above it will be modified and removed when needed. As a result, scarring will be significantly more than that with mini tummy tuck.

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September 5, 2021 1:30 pm

had a mini tuck with abdominal muscle tightening and I am 4 days post surgery but ever since day 1 I have had a large sold outward buldge above my belly button to the top of my abs. It feels hard. Below my below button is flat. I was only a size 10 before this surgery and I just needed my abs fixed after pregnancy. Now I am so worried something has gone very wrong as my stomach is very big up the top.

Dr. Shokrzadeh
Dr. Shokrzadeh
Reply to  Emma
September 6, 2021 3:07 pm

Thank you for your question.
This bulging above your belly button is normal in the first days post-surgery because of the fluid accumulation in the surgical area.
Much of this fluid will be removed through the drains that are placed at the end of the incision lines and the rest will be gradually absorbed by the body.
In order to speed up the drainage of the fluid, you need to have slight physical activity and drink plenty of clear fluids.
If the fluid discharge has no smell or infection signs, there is nothing to worry about. But if they turn red or brown or have a bad smell, discuss it with your surgeon as soon as possible.