Tummy Tuck: Post-Operative Care Instructions

The healing time for a given procedure varies between different patients. The following represents the general recovery you might expect following your abdominoplasty. Individual tummy tuck patients may experience variations from this course.

Immediately After Your Tummy Tuck in Toronto

When you awake from your surgery you will be in the recovery room. Your incision will be well hidden in the low bikini line and groin.  You will have your support garment on, and one or two soft drains will be exiting from the pubic area (2 drains in all). You may feel some incisional pain and discomfort, but this is generally well controlled by pain medications.

If you are not staying overnight, you will be able to go home when you have fully recovered from the sedation. 

Activity Level During Your Recovery From Tummy Tuck Surgery

Immediately after surgery, the skin will feel tight. For the first 2-3 days, you are encouraged to walk slightly bent forward to avoid pulling on the incision line, and to put pillows under your knees and your head when you’re reclining so you’re bent at the waist. You can also sleep on your side in a slight ‘fetal’ position (ie bent at the waist). You may find it difficult to rise from a lying position and it will be easier to turn on your side, allow your legs to hang over the side and slowly use your arms to raise yourself to a sitting position before rising.  Avoid sitting up in a chair for the first week.

You should plan to be off work for 2-3 weeks. During that time you should take it easy – a little stroll as your tummy tuck exercises is okay but not much more. We encourage you not to spend all your time in bed. This will minimize the risk of deep clots in your leg veins.

Avoid straining, lifting, and bending completely over. You may be able to begin cardio type physical activity at 3-4 weeks. Strenuous physical activity (like lifting weights, abdominal crunches) is not permitted until 6 weeks after surgery.

Washing To Promote Tummy Tuck Healing

On the third day after your surgery, you can take a shower (eg if your surgery was on a Thursday, you can shower on Sunday). Do not sit in a bath.

When taking a shower, remove the support garment and underlying dressing. The small white tapes (called steri-strips) over your incision should be left on.

You will need to hold the drains in your hand while you shower. You can wet and soap the tapes and your incision. Use mild soap such as Dove or Ivory. Pat yourself dry using a towel (do not rub) and put the dressing pad and support garment back on. This daily routine will help keep the incision and drain sites clean, and will promote wound healing.

Taking a bath will only be possible once the drains are out, the sutures around your belly-button are out and the incisions are well on their way to being healed (approximately 2 weeks).

Avoid swimming pools or whirlpools for at least 1 month.

Tummy Tuck Drains

Drains are used to remove any excess fluid or blood, preventing accumulations under the skin that would promote swelling after tummy tuck surgery. Both drains are usually removed within 2 weeks.  Occasionally, they need to be left in longer.

Before you are discharged home, the nurse will show you how to empty your drains, but here are a few reminders:

  1. Remove the cap. Hold the bulb upright and measure the amount of blood and fluid in the bulb by reading the measurement levels.  Record the amount for each drain.
  2. Turn the bulb upside down and squeeze out the blood and fluid into a garbage, toilet, or sink.
  3. Turn the bulb upright again, squeeze the bulb so it crumples and expels all the air, then while holding it tightly squeezed replace the cap.  Release the bulb, it should stay collapsed. (The bulb should not quickly re-expand or there is an air-leak)
  4. Measure and empty your drains 2-3 times per day. You may have to do this more often if the bulb becomes full quickly. 

Record the Drainage in following format:

DATE                          TIME               DRAIN SITE                         AMOUNT (in cc’s)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Support Garment Worn During Recovery Time For Tummy Tuck

The garment is necessary to support the tightening of your abdominal muscles. It will help to decrease swelling, prevent the accumulation of fluid under the skin, and to conform the skin to its new position, maximizing the cosmetic outcome. Failure to comply with garment instructions will increase the risk of seroma formation and suboptimal results.

The garment should be worn day and night for 3 weeks, removing it only to shower or wash the garment. From 3 to 6 weeks, the garment should be worn during the day, but you can take it off at night.

The support garment should cover the incision – if you notice it has slid upwards, you can slide it back down by pulling down at the sides.

Care of your Tummy Tuck Incision

Most of the stitching is dissolvable and woven under the skin to prevent stitch marks. Some of the stitches around the belly-button are non-dissolvable and will be removed 2 weeks after the surgery.

Once a steri-strip (the little white tapes over your tummy tuck incision) starts to curl up at it’s edge, you can remove it the rest of the way and throw it out. After the steri-strips are removed, no dressing will be required over the incision. At this point, you can begin using a scar cream such as Dermatix. 

Avoid direct sunlight to the incision line as this may result in pigmentation changes. This is particularly true during the first year after the surgery.  Never expose the incision to sunlight without sunblock - use SPF 30 or greater.

Scars will initially be red and a little raised, but over 3-6 months they usually get lighter in colour and flatten out.

NOTE

The quality of your tummy tuck results may be compromised if you fail to return for any scheduled post-op visits, or follow the pre- and post-operative instructions.

Don’t hesitate to report any unusual or concerning changes during your tummy tuck recovery time.

 

More Tummy Tuck Information

General Information

Procedure

FAQ

Full Tummy Tuck

Mini Tummy Tuck

FAB Tummy Tuck

Lipoabdominoplasty

Drainless Tummy Tuck

Panniculectomy

Diastasis Recti Treatment: Muscle Tightening with a Tummy Tuck

Stretch Marks and Tummy Tucks

Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy

Sutures vs Staples

Patient Resources

Preparing for Your Tummy Tuck

Post-Treatment Care Instructions

Tummy Tuck Recovery: 10 Must Do's

Tummy Tuck Risks

Keeping Fit After a Tummy Tuck

Tummy Tuck Scar Care

Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits After Tummy Tuck or Liposuction

General Information About the Tummy Tuck Procedure

Four Reasons You Should Wait to Have a Tummy Tuck

Compression Garment After a Tummy Tuck

Male Tummy Tuck

Obesity Increases Body Contouring Surgery Risks

Tummy Tuck or Liposuction?

Beauty Tips &
Special Deals

Sign Up for our monthly newsletter for seasonal beauty tips and special promotions that help you look your best.


Memberships and qualifications held by Dr. Jerome Edelstein

dr edelstein certifications

Dr. Jerome Edelstein is an active member of the American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Canadian Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CSAPS), Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons (CSPS) and the International Confederation of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery (ICPRAS). He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPSC) as well as is in good standing with The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Ongoing medical education is mandated as a condition of membership to the ASAPS, ASPS and as a Fellow of the RCPSC. This means that Dr. Edelstein always remains at the forefront of the Plastic Surgery field.

Call (416) 256-5614 to
book your consultation

Your Beauty & Confidence Through Cosmetic Medicine