Faster Recovery after Tummy Tuck

A Tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure, Dr removes excess skin and fat from the stomach area, which can help a smoothing and tightening effect on your mid-section. If you are considering tummy tuck surgery, you may also consider tummy tuck recovery to better plan for your procedure.

Preparing for Surgery

  • Providing your detailed medical history.
  • Consulting with plastic surgeon about the various risks and your expectations from the surgery
  • Stop smoking at least two weeks before surgery
  • Not using certain medicines like aspirin and blood-thinning medications
  • Preparing your recovery area of home
  • Arranging someone to drive you home after the procedure 
  • Reaching your optimal weight and maintaining it for six months before the procedure

The surgery can tighten your abdomen and remove any excess skin to help improve the contour of your abdomen. Depending on the amount of excess skin that is needed to be removed, the procedure can take anywhere from two to five hours. You may need to stay the night at the hospital for monitoring purposes. The results following a the surgery are usually permanent but significant weight gain or loss or pregnancy after the procedure can hamper this result.

There are various types of tummy tucks available and the suitable one for you will depend upon your body and goal. So, there are medical benefits of tummy tuck surgery depending on the type you get. A Tummy tuck can also perform with other procedures like liposuction to further enhance the result.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

As each person is different, their rate of healing is different too. People may have their own unique experiences during the recovery period. Following the post-operative care instructions carefully will make your recoveries easier and result in the best outcome. 

Commonly, recovery will take about four to six weeks and a detailed description of the timeline is as below:

Day 1-2

After the completion of the procedure, there will be some swelling, bruising, tightness of the abdomen, and discomfort. Dr will place a drainage tubes under the skin to collect fluid and help in the healing process. This automatically squirts local anaesthetic under the skin for the first  3 days after your procedure. It is responsible for improving your pain and discomfort significantly. Before you leave the hospital, we will provide you with a compression garment that you need to wear for the next six weeks. Dr will prescribe antibiotics and pain relief medications to prevent infection at the incision site and subside any pain. 

You may need to stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring and will need to have someone drive you home. This is because you may feel dizzy and sleepy from the general anaesthesia, so you’ll not be in a condition to drive home by yourself. It’s recommended you arrange someone to take care of you for the first 48 hours following your surgery. 

Day 3-4

You should start feeling a bit better than the first two days after surgery but there still will be discomfort, tenderness, and swelling. If Dr Doyle is satisfied with your recovery, you may be allowed to take a bath. However, you should keep the drainage site dry and pat dry your incision site after bathing. 

You might experience constipation and stomach aches, which are the side effect of the pain medication. You should try moving a bit as soon as your mobility increases as it increases the blood circulation aiding in your recovery process.  

The pain pump will be removed around this time and it is quite common for the drains to be removed at the same time,  depending on the amount of drainage you are having.

Week 1

Surgical drains will be removed either at this period or earlier, depending on your rate of recovery. Your mobility will be greater than in the initial days after surgery, and you should try to increase your mobility slowly. You may even be able to stand up straight a week after the surgery.

However, you should not exert yourself physically as you’ll not be able to do a lot. You’ll still have some tightness, pain, swelling, and bruising during this period. 

There will be a great reduction in the pain, swelling, and tightness of the abdomen than in the first few days. 

Week 2

The pain and tightness will subside gradually, but some swelling should be still present near the incision site. You may be able to do light activities without much pain. And, if you have extensively recovered you may even be able to return to your workplace.

You still won’t be able to indulge in any strenuous physical activity like exercising, as it will hamper your recovery. Smoking, weight lifting, drinking and physically taxing exercises during this period will still be off-limits. You’ll be able to start on your scar minimising treatment

Week 3-4

You should be feeling more normal by this time. You should be able to resume light exercises during this period while some may be even able to resume strenuous exercises. However, it is advised that you consult with Dr Doyle before attempting physically demanding exercises. Sit-ups should still be avoided and only attempted 12 weeks after your abdominoplasty surgery. 

Almost all of the pain, tightness, and bruising will be minimal or gone. Swelling may still be present to some extent and may last up to three months. You will still feel some numbness during this period, which will gradually decrease with time.

You’ll be able to see the result of the procedure after six months. Scarring will take anywhere from 12-18 months to completely fade.

Faster Recovery Tips

1. Have someone to support you

Due to the effects of the anesthetics, you will feel a bit dizzy and sleepy. On top of this, pain, swelling, bruising, and tightening of the abdomen will make it difficult to perform any physical tasks. So, you will need someone to drive you home after the surgery and have someone to take care of you for the next 48 hours. 

2. Prepare your recovery room 

Preparing a recovery room before your operation will help you a lot in your recovery journey. It is recommended that you sleep on your back in a slightly bent position. A recliner is considered the best place to sleep in but if you do not own one, you’ll be able to achieve this position with a few extra pillows.  

3. Eat a healthy diet 

You should consume a nutritious and healthy diet that will supply your body with plenty of energy to recover. You should keep yourself properly hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alcohol should be avoided for the initial few weeks.

It is recommended that you have a low sodium diet over the first week as it helps reduce swelling. In case of constipation, you can have some probiotic or whole-fat yogurt to ease it. 

4. Know the potential risks and complications 

Every surgical procedure is associated with potential risks and complications. A tummy tuck (Abdominoplasty) is considered major surgery but is relatively low risk. You should thoroughly understand all the risks and complications before deciding to undergo the surgery. 

Some risks and complications :

  • General risks like including bleeding, anaesthetic risks, and infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Poor wound healing 
  • Visible scarring
  • Loss of excess skin
  • Loss or changes in skin sensation around the incision site
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Asymmetric results
  • Requirement for a tummy tuck revision surgery

You should be in constant touch with Dr Doyle post-surgery and update him if you have concerns about your condition. 

5. Stop smoking before and after surgery

Smoking not only increases your risk for other complications but hampers the recovery process producing an inferior result. Nicotine present in the cigarette is known to cause blood vessels to constrict causing damage to the blood vessels necessary for recovery. You should stop smoking six to eight weeks before and after the surgery.

6. Rest and limit your movement

You should take at least two weeks off from your work and get adequate rest. Your mobility will return gradually and you should start with gentle movements during this period. You should not force yourself into strenuous activities. Highly taxing physical activities should be attempted only after the permission of Dr Doyle. You should wait at least two weeks before returning to everyday activities and up to four to six weeks before returning to strenuous activities.

7. Wear your compression garment

tummy tuck garment
Image sourced from

The compression garment is essential for your recovery as it provides support, minimalises swelling, and reduces the risk of seroma. It should be worn right after surgery for up to six to eight weeks. 

8. Follow your post-operative care instructions

The post-operative care instructions provided by Dr Doyle are meant to help make your recovery easier. You should strictly follow them.  


Does a tummy tuck lift your pubic area?

It can help lifting your pubic area. This has become an increasingly popular request and gives an excellent cosmetic and functional result.  

Can you sleep on your side after surgery?

How you sleep during the first few days and the first few weeks following a Abdominoplasty is important for both your recovery and the result of the surgery. It is recommended you sleep on your back rather than on your side for the initial few weeks. Even it’s better to practice sleeping on your back prior to the surgery.

What Is the Fastest Way to Recover From a Tummy Tuck?

7 Tips For faster Recovery

  • Sleep on your back in a slightly bent position
  • Eat a low sodium diet
  • Wear the compression garment at least six to eight weeks post-operatively
  • No heavy lifting at all during recovery time
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Follow your post-operative care instructions
  • Consider lymphatic massage to improve the healing process.

How to reduce swelling after surgery?

Swelling after a surgery can be reduced by wearing a compression garment, staying mobile, maintaining a healthy diet, and the use of prescribed medications. 

How painful is a tummy tuck recovery?

The first few days after the Abdominoplasty surgery are usually a little painful. This is minimised by Dr Doyle inserting a small plastic tube connected to a pain pump that is placed under the skin. This automatically squirts local anaesthetic under the skin for the first 3 days after your procedure. It is responsible for improving your pain and discomfort significantly. You can use pain medications in case of intense pain. You may also feel a pulling sensation after the procedure but this is quite normal and will gradually subside with time. However, swelling will last up to three months.

How to reduce scar tissue after abdominoplasty?

You can reduce scar tissues by following the steps given below:

  • Carefully following the post-surgery instructions provided by Dr. Doyle.
  • Use silicone-based scar gels provided after your procedure.
  • Avoiding exposing the scar to the sun, apply sunscreen when doing so.
  • Monitoring for infection, as infection can lead permanent scarring.
  • Applying topical creams.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck?

The compression garment is essential for your recovery as it provides support, reduces swelling, and reduces the risk of seroma. It is recommended to wear it for six to weeks. If you don’t wear the compression garment during this period you run the risk of slower recovery, persistent swelling, seroma, and inferior results.

Can you gain belly fat after surgery?

Yes, you can gain belly fat. Fat cells are still present and can expand with weight gain. It’s recommended that you maintain your weight to avoid this. This is why we request that you maintain a stable weight for six months prior to your surgery.

How do I get out of bed after surgery?

You should follow the steps listed below :

  • Hug one of your pillows.
  • Roll onto your side.
  • Dangle your feet over the edge of your bed.
  • Use your elbows to raise your upper body.
  • Use your legs to pull yourself into a sitting position.

Book a Consultation

If you would like to learn more about tummy tuck recovery or the procedure itself, book a consultation with Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Doyle.


  1. Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Gold Coast & Brisbane | Dr Mark Doyle
  2. Complete Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline | Dr. Chris Livingston
  3. Will I Get Bad Results if I Don’t Wear my Compression Garment After Tummy Tuck and Lipo?
  4. Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline Period, Week 1, 2, 3, and 4
  5. Recovering After a Tummy Tuck and Abdominoplasty

About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plas) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. Dr Doyle is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with 30+ years of experience. He has completed all required training and only carries out approved surgical practices. There are absolutely NO undertrained doctors or cosmetic doctors acting as surgeons in our clinic.

As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is committed to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.


Do Your Research

What to Bring to Your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

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  • Take notes and read all provided information thoroughly
  • Read about what to expect in your Initial Surgery Consultation

Book Your Plastic Surgery Consultation

  • Get a Referral from your GP or specialist – this is required to book a consultation with Dr Doyle.
  • Email us or call on 07 5598 0988 to arrange your consultation appointment.
  • Pay your $300 Consultation Fee in advance to secure your consultation.

Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone 07 5598 0988 during Clinic Hours.

  • Dr. Mark Doyle AHPRA Registration: Dr Mark Doyle MED0001375519 Specialist Plastic Surgery – MBBS FRACS FRCS

*DISCLAIMER: All information on Gold Coast Plastic Surgery website is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Results can vary significantly and depend on individual patient circumstances. All images on this website, unless specified as real patient images, are stock images used for illustrative purposes only. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your surgeon. Book a consult for details regarding your cosmetic surgery procedure.