How Long Does a Tummy Tuck Take to Heal?

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


A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgery that removes excess fat and loose abdominal skin. Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck gives individuals a slimmer appearance in their stomach area. Pregnancy, weight loss, or the natural process of aging are common reasons why women and men may need this body contouring treatment. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Kelishadi offers various types of tummy tuck techniques to accommodate the aesthetic goals you want to achieve.

At SSK Plastic Surgery, patients love their final results following tummy tuck surgery. Dr. Kelishadi can even repair loose abdominal muscles. However, there is a recovery period when it comes to this procedure. To make sure the tummy tuck incisions appropriately heal and avoid unnecessary post-op complications, follow this helpful guideline on what to expect in the process. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at our clinic in Newport Beach, CA.

Who is an ideal candidate for a tummy tuck?

Some people have exhausted all of their efforts when it comes to diet and exercise but still struggle with pockets of fat and loose skin in their abdominal area. A tummy tuck works to eliminate both of these issues. Healthy, nonsmoking adults with good skin tone are great candidates for abdominoplasty. Even though surgery is not a replacement for losing weight, a tummy tuck can also incorporate liposuction to remove the excess fat. Some of the advantages of tummy tuck surgery include:

  • Remove fatty deposits

  • Remove excess, loose abdominal skin

  • Tighten the underlying abdominal muscles

  • Potentially eliminate the appearance of stretch marks

What is the tummy tuck healing process?

There are different surgical techniques when it comes to abdominoplasty. A patient may only require a mini tummy tuck, while others may need more extensive assistance with loose skin or extra fatty tissue. Whether a patient has a full, mini, or extended tummy tuck at SSK Plastic Surgery, the recovery period varies from person to person. Here is an overview that divides the tummy tuck recovery time into different stages.

First phase

Immediately following the tummy tuck, patients will experience swelling and inflammation. However, loose, sagging skin will be gone. During this stage, patients are advised to take it easy for the first couple of weeks, only engaging in walking or nonimpact cardiovascular activities.

Second phase

In this phase, tummy tuck healing typically takes about 2 – 3 months in Newport Beach, CA. Swelling and inflammation should be vastly improved, with some patients even able to fit into smaller clothing. By the fourth month, the remainder of the swelling should be gone.

Third or final phase

The final recovery period is over the next 6 – 12 months. Tummy tuck incisions will continue to heal and eventually fade to a neutral skin tone color. Patients should take care of their tummy tuck incisions by applying Vitamin E oil, sunscreen, or any topical creams provided by Dr. Kelishadi or a member of his staff.

How long is the tummy tuck recovery?

Tummy tuck healing times vary from patient to patient and will depend on the extent of the procedure. A modified method, or mini tummy tuck, usually requires a shorter recovery than a full or extended abdominoplasty. Another factor to add to the equation is whether or not the procedure involves liposuction. Smaller amounts of suctioned fat with liposuction may only take a couple of days to recover from, while larger volumes may take 1 – 2 weeks.

A traditional tummy tuck with liposuction generally takes about 2 – 3 weeks for patients to resume sedentary work. For more physically demanding jobs or regular activities, patients must wait at least 4 – 6 weeks or the time period instructed by Dr. Kelishadi. It is always advised for patients to ease back into any exercise routines by starting with light cardio or walking before fully returning to more vigorous physical activity.

Schedule tummy tuck surgery

The experts at SSK Plastic Surgery provide cosmetic help to both women and men wanting a slimmer, more toned abdominal area, and a renewed sense of self-confidence. They will examine and assess each patient's needs to create a custom body contouring plan. Whether a patient needs a mini, full, or extended tummy tuck, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Kelishadi can help in Newport Beach, CA. Allow our professional staff helps you improve the appearance of your midsection and love how you look again.

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