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Seven Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

Successfully preparing for a tummy tuck procedure also involves planning ahead for the recovery process. Knowing what to expect and making arraignments in advance can have a profound effect on safe and timely healing, as well as optimizing the outcome of your procedure. Below, our board-certified plastic surgeon in Austin, Dr. Steven Holzman, shares tummy tuck recovery tips to help minimize discomfort, decrease side effects, and limit potential complications.

    1. Ask for help – Enlisting assistance from family and friends for hospital transportation, child and pet care, household tasks, meal prep, and other responsibilities allows patients to focus on proper rest and healing. Ideally, it is often best to arrange to have assistance for at least the first three to four days after surgery—possibly longer if a tummy tuck is combined with other procedures as part of Mommy Makeover or post-weight loss body contouring treatment.


    1. Set Up Your Recovery Space in Advance – After arriving home from surgery, patients are often tired and groggy from the effects of medication. Having your recovery space arranged in advance can make the transition easier for you and anyone enlisted to help with your care. This can include things such as charging any electronics, setting up pillows and blankets, laying out a comfortable change of clothes, and preparing simple, easy-to-digest meals in advance.


    1. Get adequate rest – The first 24 to 48 hours after surgery should be spent resting, ideally lying down with pillows propped behind the head and under the knees. It’s best to plan for one to two weeks off from work and regular routines, while strenuous or vigorous activities and heavy lifting (over 20 pounds) should be avoided for at least four to six weeks. Dr. Holzman can provide personalized guidance regarding activity restrictions during your follow-up visits.


    1. Take light, short walks – Patients are encouraged to begin carefully walking around the house the day of surgery, maintaining a slight bend in the knees to avoid straining the abdomen. This movement and circulation can promote blood flow, inhibit blood clots, reduce swelling, and prevent other complications from occurring.


    1. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water – A nutritious, balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein is an excellent way to promote healing from the inside out. Consuming plenty of water and fluids also has a significantly positive effect on the healing process. It is best to limit or avoid alcohol and salt prior to surgery and during the recovery period, as either may contribute to dehydration and swelling.


    1. Refrain from smoking and using tobacco products – At least one month prior to surgery, patients should stop using all nicotine products and plan to abstain for at least four to six weeks after surgery. The chemicals in nicotine have shown to impede the recovery process in numerous ways, including slower wound repair, more noticeable scar tissue, increased chance of infection, and other complications.


  1. Follow post-surgery instructions – The advice and recommendations provided by surgeons are strategically planned to optimally promote the health and well-being of each patient. Wearing compression garments, taking care of any necessary drains, attending follow-up visits, controlling swelling, and getting ample rest as instructed are all imperative steps that should be outlined by your surgeon to support a safe and successful recovery.

For more information about tummy tuck surgery and recovery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Holzman to discuss cosmetic surgery options, please contact us today.