A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to restore firmness and remove isolated pockets of fat and loose skin from the abdominal area. The procedure involves a fairly large incision and extended recovery time to achieve long-lasting, dramatic results. To ensure your tummy tuck goes as smoothly as possible, it is important to arm yourself with effective recovery tips before you even head into the operating room.

Preparing for Surgery

Preparing for your recovery should begin even before the day of your surgery. Stock up on food, beverages, reading material and other activities that will make it comfortable for you to relax at home for a few days. Give your house a good cleaning or hire a service to come in and spruce things up before your procedure. Study all pre-operative and post-operative instructions from your surgeon so you know what to expect before, during and after surgery.


Nicotine interferes with the body’s healing process, and can be especially problematic with procedures involving larger incisions like a tummy tuck. Your surgeon will likely recommend that you stop smoking for a period of time before and after your surgery. Even better – use your surgery as an opportunity to kick the habit for good.

Rest and Medications

Sufficient rest is imperative after a tummy tuck to give your body ample time to heal properly. While your surgeon will likely want you to begin walking short distances within a few days of your procedure, most activity will be significantly limited for the first two weeks after surgery. Pain medication and antibiotics will also be prescribed and should be taken exactly as directed to ensure the best possible results.

Post-Operative Instructions

Most patients spend a night in the hospital or surgical suite after a tummy tuck, before getting sent home the next day with explicit post-op instructions. These instructions should be followed very carefully, from caring for the drains to wearing any recommended compression garments. All of the instructions are designed to make your recovery as comfortable and successful as possible, while ensuring the best possible results from your procedure.

Scar Management

Residual scarring is one of the top concerns for patients after a tummy tuck, particularly in light of the size of the incision for some procedures. Proper care of your incision after surgery will make a big difference in the appearance of your scar long-term. Talk to your surgeon before your procedure about the type of scar management recommended. Some surgeons have specific types of tape or silicone sheets that they find do wonders to reduce tension around the scar during the healing process.

A tummy tuck offers dramatic body contouring results that may last for many years. Proper preparation before and during the recovery process will have a direct impact on your results.

To learn more about tummy tucks or the recovery process, contact Aesthetic Arts Institute of Plastic Surgery to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Kaweski at (619) 464-9876.