Tummy Tuck Recovery List

  • Contact your surgeon if you feel there is anything seriously wrong.
  • Have your significant other, a parent, or good friend as a caregiver for the first 48 to 72 hours, or longer, if possible.
  • Take your pain medications after you had a tummy tuck! There is simply no reason to suffer or "tough it out," and you will not be weak if you take them. Studies have shown that pain and stress significantly increase healing time after abdominoplasty surgery.
  • Take your antibiotics! You do not want an infection to interfere with your tummy tuck healing. Take them on time and use the entire prescription no matter how well you feel, unless your doctor tells you to stop.
  • Make a chart of when to take your medications. (We have a sample chart for you to use.) Some are taken once every 4 hours, some are taken four times a day. Don't confuse the instructions.
  • Take your temperature regularly! An elevated temperature could mean an infection.
  • If you have been told to put cold compresses on your incision or on your abdomen by your surgeon, do so. You can use purchased cold packs or bags of frozen peas or berries. This helps the swelling and discomfort after tummy tuck. However, do not place ice or cold compress directly on skin. Abide by your surgeon's instructions.
  • Try to eat something. You need your energy because your body is working overtime to heal itself. If you are nauseous, try to eat at least some crackers or broth until you can keep other foods down. If the nausea persists and you can? keep anything down, call your surgeon.
  • Drink lots of fluids! This is imperative. Your body needs it to help flush out the residual anesthesia and medications. Plus, drinking plenty of fluids helps keep you from bloating.
  • Speaking of being bloated: it is going to be a fact of life. Don't be upset, since it will subside.
  • If you are constipated (and pain medications are known for causing constipation), try a mild stool softener (such as Colace) and eat plenty of mild, high fiber foods or take a fiber supplement. Some people recommend daikon (Asian white radishes) to help with constipation and to flush out the system. But you might put off the daikon until after you are finished with your antibiotics. Ask your surgeon about stool softeners.
  • Have pillows alongside you in bed, as well as to elevate your head and upper body. Side pillows can support your arms and help you to roll over on your stomach or side. Sleep on your back and keep your upper body elevated for at least 10 days.
  • Wear your abdominal binder or pressure surgical garment.
  • When you get tired, sleep. Sleep gives your body more time and energy to direct towards healing. Napping is a good thing.
  • Get up and walk around a few times a day. This helps your circulation and helps prevent blood clots. But don't over do it. Too much too soon spells disaster and problems
  • If you quit smoking before your abdominoplasty surgery, please do not start again. Smoking hurts your circulation and interferes with healing. It can cause wound closure problems and necrosis (death) of skin cells and tissue.
  • Keep moist towelettes near the bed so you can freshen up without much effort.
  • Keep the phone turned off in your room. Sleep is a good thing. (I like sleeping. Can you tell?)
  • Have a whistle on hand, a bell or an intercom system, so that you may call your caregiver when you need to. Try not to abuse this, or your caregiver may hit you over the head with the whistle or bell. (Kidding!)
  • Ask your surgeon about products to help with scars, such as silicone sheeting or Kelocote, Steri-Strips, or Mederma. Ask your surgeon before you use any product on your incision as it heals.
  • Take your after photos or day-by-day photos, if you are keeping track.
  • Keep a journal about your tummy tuck surgery experience if you want, write in it daily.
  • Have someone post or email your online friends after your surgery, so they don't worry about you.
  • Do not take anything with aspirin in it or drink alcohol for a few weeks after surgery. This could increase your chances of hemorrhaging or delay healing.
  • Have your friends stop by. If you are able get some fresh air in your yard or a local park, but don't overdo it.
  • Don't start getting depressed because of the abdominoplasty scars. The scars are at their reddest in the first 3-4 months.
  • If you use topical arnica, do not put it directly on the incisions. It could irritate your wounds.
  • Take vitamin C during your recovery, but ask your surgeon first.
  • No picking up anything over 10 pounds until your surgeon gives you the go ahead. This includes your pocketbook and small children. No heavy lifting in general.
  • No bending over! This is important. Bending over can increase your blood pressure on your wounds and cause hemorrhaging. This includes bending over while you are blow-drying your hair.
  • Do not miss any postoperative appointments with the surgeon. These are important. Missing appointments may void any revision "warranties" between you and your surgeon.
  • Try hot water bottles or heating pads for your back if it is sore, but no sleeping on them, which could cause burns.
  • Watch for unusual swelling or discolorations, which could be a hematoma.
  • After you shower, sit down to dry yourself. If you are dizzy from pain meds, sitting down could be a blessing.
  • If you are expecting your period and it does not come, do not freak out. Medications, trauma, anesthesia, and stress can mess with your cycle. Your period may come at an inopportune time as well, such as surgery day. So expect it when you least expect it, or not at all.
  • You may be depressed a few days after your abdominoplasty surgery, or some other time during your recovery. This is very normal. Just warn your loved ones and keep your chin up. Your body has been put through a trauma. Depression may rear its ugly head with crying sessions, feelings of unattractiveness, and general sadness. This too shall pass.
  • Most important! relax as much as you can. Don't stress. Take care.