What to Expect After Your Tummy Tuck By Carmel Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons on December 13, 2023

Want to trade in your "Santa" belly for a fit, flat tummy? Consider gifting yourself an abdominoplasty and don't let the fear of your postop recovery stop you!

Here's what your tummy tuck will entail and what to expect during recovery from your tummy tuck.


About Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Tummy tuck surgery is a common body sculpting option designed to remove excess skin and tighten the muscles of the abdominal area. Tummy tuck is also an effective treatment for stretch marks in the lower abdominal region. Best of all, the scars from tummy tuck surgery can be concealed by most bathing suits and undergarments.

What happens during tummy tuck surgery?

The surgeon will make a horizontal incision along the lower abdominal region. In a traditional tummy tuck, this incision will span from one hipbone to the other just above the pubis. An additional incision is then made around the belly button. Next, the skin is elevated all the way up to the level of the xiphoid process.  The abdominal muscles are then tightened to help provide a firmer abdomen.  A new opening is then made for the belly button once the skin has been redraped, pulled tight, and repositioned.  Finally, the excess skin is removed prior to closing.  Liposuction may be used to help remove any fat deposits in the abdominal area as well.

Tummy Tuck Variations

The surgical incisions can be adjusted based on the needs of each patient. A mini tummy tuck, for example, may only involve a short incision along the lower abdominal region. An extended tummy tuck may involve an incision that extends from the back of one hipbone along the lower abdomen to the back of the other hipbone.

Recovering from Tummy Tuck Surgery

Dr Grasee and Dr Bergman here at Carmel Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeons will give you detailed pre-operative and post-operative instructions to ensure you experience as few complications as possible. Here is a brief rundown of what to expect.

The First Week After Tummy Tuck Surgery

It’s common for most tummy tuck patients to have their surgery as an outpatient and go home the same day as their surgery. In the first days after surgery, swelling, discomfort, and some degree of pain is common. It’s important that patients get rest during this period, keep their compression garments on, and avoid scratching or touching incision areas. Although rest is important, patients should stand up and walk around a little the day of and more frequently the days following surgery to prevent deep vein thromboses and pulmonary emboli. At your first postoperative appointment approximately one week after surgery, stitches will be removed and any drains placed at the time of surgery may be removed as well if the drain output meets criteria.

The Weeks Following

Patients will need to wear their compressions garments for a few weeks after surgery to reduce swelling and ensure proper healing. By the end of the first week, patients are encouraged to engage in light exercise, such as walking or non-strenuous stretching. These will help reduce post-surgical discomfort, swelling, and the chance of developing blood clots. Any heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity will need to be avoided for four to six weeks.

Swelling may continue for months after surgery, but eventually the swelling will dissipate and you will be left with your new and improved abdomen! Check out our photo gallery.

Note that these are general estimates for recovery time. They may differ depending on the extent of your tummy tuck and if you undergo other procedures in combination with your tummy tuck such as liposuction, breast augmentation, and/or mastopexy.

Schedule a Consultation for Tummy Tuck Surgery

There is a lot more to keep in mind as you recover from tummy tuck surgery that we’d be happy to discuss with you in more detail at our practice. If you would like more information about tummy tuck and other options for body sculpting, contact us today.

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Dr. Grasee and Dr. Bergman

Committed to Surgical Excellence

At Carmel Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeons, we are dedicated to excellence. We belong to several prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery
  • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (317) 581-0001.

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