Here’s What To Expect From Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

By: Dr. Sean Kelishadi, M.D. FACS


Whether you are simply searching for a way to trim and tighten your abdomen after pregnancy, or you are hoping for a dramatic full-body transformation following weight loss, tummy tuck surgery is a fantastic place to start. Thanks to its ability to produce stunning and long-lasting results that can help patients both look and feel better than ever, the tummy tuck continues to be one of the most in-demand cosmetic procedures for men and women across the country. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Kelishadi and the exceptional team at SSK Plastic Surgery are highly experienced in the most effective and cutting-edge surgical techniques and are dedicated to helping Orange County tummy tuck patients achieve their ultimate cosmetic goals.

In addition to performing a safe and successful procedure with beautiful results, Dr. Kelishadi also takes great care to ensure his Newport Beach, CA tummy tuck patients enjoy the most comfortable and efficient recovery possible. When it comes to having cosmetic surgery, particularly with a procedure as extensive as the tummy tuck, it is important to know what to expect after the surgery and plan for your postoperative period accordingly. Find out everything you need to know about Orange County tummy tuck recovery here.

What happens in a tummy tuck?

To better prepare yourself for tummy tuck recovery, it is important to first have a basic understanding of the procedure itself, including how it works and its potential benefits. Formally known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is primarily a skin removal procedure that helps patients achieve a smoother, slimmer, more attractive abdominal contour. Oftentimes, the abdominal muscles are tightened, and small pockets of fat are removed during tummy tuck surgery to further enhance the patient’s results.

While a tummy tuck can be highly beneficial for almost any person looking to remove loose, excess skin from the abdomen, some of the most common men and women who undergo a tummy tuck include after weight loss patients and women who have had children. For many people, excess skin, stubborn fat, and weakened or separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) are among the long list of unwanted side effects after significant weight loss, pregnancy, or simply the aging process. Fortunately, a tummy tuck can be used to correct these concerns and create – or restore – a more natural-looking and appealing figure.

During tummy tuck surgery in Newport Beach, CA Dr. Kelishadi will make a lengthy incision on the lower abdomen, usually just above the pubic area. If the abdominal muscles have been weakened or separated, Dr. Kelishadi can tighten and reinforce them using sutures, often eliminating the telltale pooch or pouch that appears after pregnancy and childbirth. If small deposits of fat are present, these can be removed using liposuction. Finally, the excess skin will be excised, and Dr. Kelishadi will pull the remaining skin tight and close the incision with sutures. Orange County tummy tuck at SSK Plastic Surgery typically takes about 2 – 3 hours and is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia, either as an outpatient or overnight inpatient, depending on the extent of the surgery, whether or not any additional procedures were performed, and other patient factors.

How to recover from tummy tuck surgery

It is critical that tummy tuck patients have realistic expectations about the details of their recovery so that they can plan and prepare accordingly. Patients should understand that a tummy tuck is a fairly extensive procedure and requires a relatively lengthy healing and recovery period to ensure safe, long-lasting, and ideal results. During your consultation and preoperative appointments, Dr. Kelishadi and the knowledgeable SSK Plastic Surgery team will thoroughly discuss what to expect during your recovery and provide comprehensive postoperative guidelines both verbally and orally. Some of the most important aspects of tummy tuck recovery include:

  • Plan for help: For at least the first 2 –3 days, most patients will need a trusted friend or relative to help with basic care, housework, and other daily routines. Your mobility will be severely limited, and you will likely still be groggy or drowsy from anesthesia. Even after this initial stage of recovery, you will be unable to drive, lift things, and do other daily tasks for several weeks. Be sure to line up help prior to surgery so you can focus on rest, healing, and recovery.

  • Take time off work: Most patients should plan to take at least 2 – 3 weeks off of work after tummy tuck surgery, depending on the physical demands of their job.

  • Get plenty of rest: One of the most important aspects of tummy tuck recovery is not to push yourself. The first few weeks will consist mainly of resting and taking it easy, although it is important to keep your circulation moving by gently walking around the room several times a day.

  • Eat a healthy diet: Staying hydrated and eating a healthy diet after a tummy tuck is essential for proper, efficient healing.

  • Stop smoking: Smoking can cause severe complications during surgery and recovery, so patients must stop smoking for at least 4 –6 weeks before surgery and 4 – 6 weeks after surgery. Additionally, alcohol intake should be ceased for at least 1 –2 weeks after surgery and limited after that.

  • Don’t rush it: While you may begin feeling more like yourself after 3 – 4 weeks, it is important to continue following your surgeon’s recommendations and not push your body. Most patients require at least 6 – 8 weeks of healing before they are able to resume light exercise, and complete recovery can often take up to 12 weeks or longer.

Follow your doctor’s orders: The most essential part of tummy tuck recovery is to follow your surgeon’s postoperative guidelines closely and completely. This includes taking all prescribed medications and antibiotics as directed, attending your follow-up appointments, wearing compression garments, sleeping in the recommended positions, and more. Dr. Kelishadi will make sure that both you and your partner, spouse, or caretaker fully understand the details and requirements of recovery before you are discharged.

Change your life with Orange County tummy tuck surgery

If you are ready to finally shed that excess skin, get the body you’ve always wanted, and feel more comfortable in your own skin, call SSK Plastic Surgery to schedule your Newport Beach, CA tummy tuck consultation with highly sought-after board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Kelishadi. We are also proud to now offer online consultations for patients who prefer to stay in the comfort and privacy of their own home. Either way, don’t wait any longer; call us to learn more about the life-changing benefits of tummy tuck surgery today!

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.