The Do’s and Don’ts After a Tummy Tuck

An abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck, is a comprehensive cosmetic procedure that targets the bodily changes that occur after pregnancy,, or dramatic weight loss. These challenges can include excess abdominal skin, fatty tissue, and separatedabdominal muscles. The goal of your tummy tuck is to create a firm, flattened midsection and restore a more youthful waistline.


While Dr. Richard A. Baxter at PHASE Plastic Surgery will do everything in his power to ensure you achieve transformative, long-lasting results from your tummy tuck surgery, it’s up to you to do your part during the recovery process. There are many ways to optimize your benefits and avoid challenging complications, but you must understand the healing process to ensure a successful outcome.


In this blog, we’ll explore some tummy tuck recovery do’s and don’ts and learn more about what to expect after abdominoplasty surgery.


What Is a Tummy Tuck?


A tummy tuck targets loose, sagging skin, reduces localized fat, and repairs separated abdominal muscles for a lean, tightened stomach. A tummy tuck is the only cosmetic procedure to comprehensively address excess skin, fat, and underlying abdominal muscles and is ideal for patients who have recently lost significant weight, had multiple pregnancies, or have weakened abdominal muscles due to genetics or age. Patients who choose to have an abdominoplasty often find their clothes fit them better and they can more easily enjoy an active lifestyle.


The Do’s After a Tummy Tuck


Follow all these recommendations for a quicker tummy tuck recovery.


1. Wear Compression Garments as Directed


As part of your post-op care, we’ll fit you with a compression garment to wear for several weeks after your procedure. This garment is essential for your surgical recovery, as it will help reduce swelling, minimize bruising, support your newly repaired muscles and skin, and make you more comfortable during recovery. Additionally, wearing it can enhance your tummy tuck results.


2. Understand and Adhere to Medical Guidelines


Dr. Baxter will provide you with a list of in-depth aftercare instructions to follow, which will include incision care, post-surgery nutrition restrictions and recommendations, activity limitations, medication guidelines, pain management strategies, when to return for surgeon follow-ups, and more to ensure a smoother, safer healing process with less risk of complications.


3. Sleep Strategically for Healing


While you recover from surgery, you may notice you get tired more easily than usual, which is a sign that your body is expending extra energy to help you heal. The optimal sleep position after tummy tuck surgery is keeping your knees slightly bent to avoid pulling on your incisions. You can also elevate your upper body with pillows.


4. Quit Smoking


If you smoke, vape, or use any other nicotine products, you must quit six weeks before your scheduled surgery and remain nicotine-free for six weeks after. Smoking and healing are incompatible; nicotine can drastically hinder your recovery process because it constricts blood vessels and impairs blood flow to the surgical site. Quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and can expedite the healing process, while fighting against tummy tuck complications like infection.


The Don’ts After a Tummy Tuck


Here are the top three things we advise our tummy tuck patients not to do.


1. Overlook Activity Restrictions in the Immediate Post-Op Period


While you heal, you will likely want to take two to three weeks off work. For the first few days, your primary focus should be resting, avoiding stress, and practicing self-care.


Post-op activities right after your abdominoplasty include:


  • No heavy lifting at all, including picking up children.
  • Avoid strenuous things like driving, swimming, or sex until Dr. Baxter clears you to do so.
  • Request help with household chores such as cleaning, cooking, or laundry.
  • Do not soak in a bath. after your first post-op visit, you may take showers but keep them short, and only use warm water.

2. Ignore Swelling or Prolonged Pain


It is normal for swelling to persist several months after surgery, possibly even migrating toward your thighs. If you have any tenderness, redness, or oozing during the recovery period, accompanied by excessive pain, be sure to notify Dr. Baxter immediately. These could be the beginning signs of infection, which requires prompt attention.


3. Rush Into Anything


Overly exerting yourself after an abdominoplasty can lead to increased swelling, pain, and a prolonged healing period. We encourage our patients to take short walks after a few days and resume light exercise after a few weeks. Staying active in recovery can reduce swelling, improve your circulation, minimize the risk of blood clots, and encourage digestion. However, avoid overexertion risks by listening to your body and resting frequently if you feel fatigued.


Partner With the Right Surgeon


To aid your tummy tuck recovery and achieve your desired results, it is vital to choose a highly trained and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon.


Dr. Baxter is a nationally recognized plastic surgeon who uses expert techniques and proven methods when performing abdominoplasties at his fully accredited private surgical facility near Seattle. He is a pioneer of the progressive tension suture method, which places the incision low on the abdomen for minimal tension and a finer, less noticeable scar. Patients in the Seattle region trust him to create stunning results and to always prioritize their safety and success.


To learn more about abdominoplasty in Seattle with Dr. Baxter, contact our office by calling (425) 776-0880 or completing our online consultation form. We look forward to helping you bring a tighter tummy to your future.

Our technology & science meets your beauty.

Our expertise, coupled with science-based technologies and the latest in advanced techniques at PHASE Plastic Surgery, is how we continue to be the best surgical and non-surgical facility Seattle has to offer. We’re honored and excited to join you on your aesthetic journey toward looking and feeling your best. To get started, complete our consultation form, or call us at (425) 776-0880.