Tummy Tuck
What to Expect After Surgery
  Understanding tummy tuck surgery
Is a tummy tuck for you?
Making the decision
Understanding the surgery
What to expect after surgery



Once your procedure is completed, dressing or bandages may be applied to your incisions, and you may be wrapped in an elastic bandage or a compression garment to minimize swelling and to support your abdomen as it heals. A small, thin tube may be temporarily placed under the skin to drain any excess blood that may collect. Before you are released following surgery, you and an accompanying family member, friend or caregiver will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for the surgical site and drains.
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection.
  • Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health.
  • When to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Initial healing will include swelling and discomfort at the incision sites. Discomfort is common and can be controlled with medication. You will be instructed to return to light walking as soon as possible to minimize the potential for blood clots and other complications.

You must avoid bending, straining or lifting anything for several days. Your plastic surgeon may also instruct you not to stand fully upright, to avoid stressing any internal sutures as they heal, and to sleep with pillows elevating your knees. To assure a successful outcome, it is important that you follow all instructions carefully. A return to light, normal activity is possible as soon as you feel ready, usually within a few days of surgery.

Initial wound healing may take 5 to 10 days. Any sutures will be removed some time after that, if necessary. You will be ready to return to work and normal activity in a few weeks, so long as you do not engage in heavy lifting or vigorous exercise.

Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling dissipates and incision lines continue to improve. You must practice diligent sun protection until the healing process is fully complete. Continue to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions and attend follow-up visits as scheduled.

Results and Outlook

The results of a tummy tuck are visible almost immediately, however it may take several months for your final results to fully develop. Numbness and a firm feeling over the skin's surface will resolve over the following months. It may take a year or more for incision lines to refine to some degree. Although they are permanent, these scars are hidden by most clothing and swimsuits.

Your new profile with a firm and flat abdomen is relatively permanent, so long as you maintain your weight and general fitness. As your body ages you may find that some firmness is lost in the abdomen. However, this is minimal compared to the initial conditions that were corrected to achieve your now toned abdomen.


Geoffrey Kim, M.D.
Plastic Surgery & Med Spa
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5420 South Quebec Street Suite 204
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

P (303) 741-3131
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*Disclaimer: "Results will vary from person to person"