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It takes 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a Tummy Tuck, also known as Abdominoplasty. The recovery involves initial rest with limited physical activity, especially during the first few weeks after surgery, to promote healing.

Swelling and bruising are common but subside over the initial couple of weeks. During this time, it’s vital you get adequate rest and avoid strenuous activity for at least the first few weeks after surgery.

You will also need follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor recovery and address complications.

How Can You Best Prepare for a Tummy Tuck?

The best way to prepare yourself for a Tummy Tuck is to have a thorough consultation with experienced plastic surgeons at Cadogan Clinic to discuss your goals, risks, and results of the procedure. 

Here are a few things they will discuss with you during the consultation:

  • Weight: As significant weight fluctuations affect the procedure result, achieving a stable body weight is important before a tummy tuck. Start by adopting a balanced diet enriched in vitamins, proteins and other nutrients several weeks before the surgery to stabilise your body weight.
  • Smoking: Quit smoking or vaping tobacco at least six weeks before the tummy tuck procedure to prevent complications.
  • Support: Arrange for a support system for post-operative care, as you will need help with daily activities during the initial recovery period. Procure supplies like compression garments, ice packs and over-the-counter pain medication ahead of time.
  • Pre-operative instructions: Strictly adhere to the pre-operative instructions, including fasting guidelines and medication adjustments. You should also complete the necessary blood work or medical evaluations that clear you for the surgery.
  • Mental preparation: Prepare yourself mentally for the recovery, setting realistic expectations for healing and outcome. Our surgeons will provide you with realistic expectations during consultations. 

How Long is Tummy Tuck Recovery?

Healing after Tummy Tuck takes 6 to 8 weeks. The initial two weeks are the most crucial for proper recovery and preventing complications. The swelling will gradually subside over several weeks, and complete recovery and final results are evident around six months after surgery.

Does Tummy Tuck Recovery Vary by Technique?

Tummy Tuck recovery time varies based on which technique is used. This depends on whether it’s a full, minimal endoscopic, or extended Abdominoplasty. The typical recovery times for each method used are as follows. 

Traditional or Full Tummy Tuck Recovery

It is a comprehensive approach involving removing skin and fat from your abdomen and tightening the abdominal muscles. Full Tummy Tuck recovery takes longer due to the extent of the surgery. You will need 6-8 weeks to return to normal activities and up to 6 months for the swelling to subside fully and final results to appear.

Mini Tummy Tuck Recovery

A Mini Tummy Tuck is a much less extensive surgery that targets the lower abdomen. It offers a quicker Tummy Tuck recovery time, and you can resume your everyday activities sooner than with a Full Tummy Tuck. The swelling and discomfort are also less pronounced, making the overall Mini Tummy Tuck recovery more manageable, taking around 2-4 weeks.

Extended Tummy Tuck Recovery

An Extended Tummy Tuck targets the excess skin and fat in the side and lower back areas and has an initial recovery time of 3-6 weeks. Full Extended Tummy Tuck recovery can take 3-6 months or more. This is due to the increased surgical area that affects recovery duration, swelling and discomfort.

Endoscopic Tummy Tuck Recovery

This is the least invasive Tummy Tuck procedure and focuses on muscle tightening without removing the skin. The technique yields a significantly shorter and less painful recovery period. It typically takes 2-4 weeks to recover. 

Regardless of the technique used, it is crucial to adhere to post-operative instructions for a smooth recovery.

Fleur de Lis Tummy Tuck Recovery

This involves removing excess skin from the bottom and top of the abdomen to tighten the skin vertically and horizontally. It’s an option for those who want more drastic contouring around the abdomen compared to a standard Tummy Tuck. Recovery time is 6-8 weeks.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

Recovery after a Tummy Tuck takes about 6 to 8 weeks of rest and recuperation. The initial two weeks after the surgery are the most challenging. You will experience discomfort and swelling, and surgical drains may be needed to prevent fluid build-up. Your mobility will also be limited and rest is crucial during this period of recovery.

By the second week, you will be able to slowly resume your daily activities, but you must avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting.

The swelling will slowly subside from weeks 3 to 6, and you can resume most of your normal activities. You will still need to wear abdominoplasty compression garments during this time for support and minimising swelling.

Healing after Tummy Tuck surgery will accelerate over time as the swelling decreases and the incision lines fade. You should closely follow the post-operative instructions of our surgeons, attend follow-up appointments and maintain a healthy lifestyle that supports optimal healing during recovery after Tummy Tuck.

What Are the Best Tummy Tuck Aftercare Tips for the Best Possible Results?

The best Tummy Tuck aftercare tips involve following your surgeon’s instructions, wearing compression garments and avoiding strenuous activities. 

Here are some abdominoplasty recovery tips for the best results: 

  • Adhere strictly to your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, including medication schedules, wound care and activity restrictions.
  • Use compression wear after Tummy Tuck as directed by your surgeon to limit swelling and support the healing tissues.
  • Consume a healthy diet rich in vitamins and proteins to aid healing after Tummy Tuck and stay hydrated.
  • Refrain from lifting heavy weights and vigorous exercises until your surgeon approves it.  
  • Follow the showering guidelines and keep the incision area dry and clean to prevent infections.
  • Keep all your post-operative appointments with your surgeon, as it will allow them to monitor your healing and address any concerns promptly.
  • Once approved by your surgeon, take gentle walks to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. 

How to Reduce the Swelling After a Tummy Tuck?

Swelling during recovery from a Tummy Tuck can be reduced by wearing compression garments, staying hydrated and maintaining a low-sodium diet.

Here are some tips to reduce swelling during the abdominoplasty healing time:

  • Consistently wear the compression garments provided by your surgeon.
  • Opt for a low-sodium diet, as excessive sodium exacerbates swelling and causes fluid retention.
  • Drinking a lot of water will flush out excess fluids and help reduce swelling.
  • When resting, slightly elevate your torso to reduce abdominal swelling.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol during the Tummy Tuck recovery period, as both of them impair healing and worsen swelling.

What Compression Garments Do I Need to Wear?

You must wear a medical-grade compression garment designed for post-abdominal surgery recovery after a Tummy Tuck. The garment should offer firm support across the abdomen, hips and lower back. It should fit snugly but not cause pain or discomfort.

Our surgeons at Cadogan Clinic recommend wearing compression garments 24/7 (except while showering) during the first few weeks post-surgery. The exact duration will vary, but wearing compression garments after tummy tuck for 4 to 6 weeks is common.

Top 5 Tummy Tuck Recuperation Tips

Here are five Tummy Tuck recovery must-haves to help your recovery: 

  • Adhering to your surgeon’s post-operative guidelines is essential for optimal healing.
  • Wear the compression garment prescribed by your surgeon to reduce swelling and support the abdominal tissue during recovery.
  • Drink 2-4 litres of water daily and eat a balanced diet containing vitamins, minerals and protein.
  • Refrain from strenuous exercise and lifting heavy weights to prevent strain on the incision line and ensure proper scar healing.
  • Keep post-surgery follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your healing progress and adjust care plans as needed.


It is strongly advised you don’t drive after the surgery for several weeks following surgery. Always consult your surgeon for personalised advice before resuming driving your vehicle post-surgery.

You should start short, gentle walks within a day or two after your tummy tuck surgery to prevent clots and promote circulation. However, these should be gentle walks around your home. More extended outdoor walks can start as comfort allows or when your surgeon recommends.

You can start sleeping on your side after a tummy tuck once the initial swelling decreases and you feel comfortable doing so. For most patients, this happens during weeks 2 to 4 post-surgery. Use pillows for support and talk to your surgeon for personalised guidance.

The average tummy tuck recovery time is between 6 and 8 weeks.

Following the recovery instructions correctly, mild discomfort may be experienced in the area of the incision for a short period after the procedure.

Painkillers can be taken for the coming weeks after surgery and we advise you to consult a professional for the exact steps to take to ensure optimal recovery after the surgery.

Although the thought of an incision may sound painful, with the use of an anaesthetic, the process is pain-free. Any unusually strong pain should be reported to your surgeon immediately so the necessary actions can be taken.

Short and gentle walks can start as soon as 1-2 days post-surgery. For longer walks outdoors, it’s recommended to wait 2-4 weeks after surgery. Walking too much after tummy tuck can impact the recovery process. You should avoid strenuous exercises, like aerobics or heavy lifting for at least 6-8 weeks.

Always consult with your surgeon for approval before attempting exercise. 

A balanced diet rich in proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains is best after a tummy tuck. Limit sodium intake to reduce swelling and include omega-3 fatty acids to combat inflammation.

You can resume sexual activity 4 to 6 weeks after a tummy tuck surgery, provided you feel comfortable, and your recovery is progressing well. However, you should avoid strenuous positions and follow your surgeon's recommendations for your unique situation.

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