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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Tummy Tuck Recovery: What to Expect

Tummy tucks are consistently one of the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the United States — and for good reason! Sometimes it doesn’t matter how healthy your diet is or how much you exercise — you still can’t get rid of pesky fat and skin in your abdominal area. A tummy tuck is a great solution to this problem that can improve your appearance and boost your confidence. 

What Does a Tummy Tuck Procedure Entail?

A tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is a cosmetic surgical procedure performed to improve the appearance of the abdominal region by removing excess skin and fat. This procedure is typically done in an outpatient surgical facility or a hospital under general anesthesia. 

During the procedure, your surgeon will make a long incision along your lower abdomen between the public hairline and the belly button. After reaching the abdominal muscle, your surgeon will sew the muscles together if they have been stretched out. Your surgeon will then pull your skin tightly over your abdomen, removing any excess skin along the way, before closing the incision with sutures. 

A second incision around your belly button may be necessary depending on the amount of excess skin in the area. In any case, a small incision will then be made for the new position of the belly button before it is sewn into place using sutures. This procedure will leave you with at least one scar that runs along your bikini line. A typical tummy tuck procedure usually lasts about three hours. 

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Tummy Tuck Procedure?

A tummy tuck is a great procedure for those who have excess fat or skin in the abdominal region due to things like significant weight loss, pregnancy, previous abdominal surgery, or aging. That being said, a tummy tuck isn’t the right option for everyone. If you plan to lose a lot of weight or have another child, you should probably wait to get the procedure. If you are overweight, smoke, or have chronic health conditions, you may not be the best candidate for a tummy tuck

What Are the Benefits and Risks of a Tummy Tuck?

Like any procedure, there are benefits and risks of a tummy tuck that you should consider. 

Benefits of a tummy tuck include an improved silhouette, a flatter stomach, and increased confidence. Many women choose to get a tummy tuck after having children to feel more comfortable in their skin. Many people who have lost significant weight choose to get a tummy tuck to truly see the results of all their hard work. 

Risks of a tummy tuck include fluid accumulation beneath the skin, changes in skin sensation, tissue damage, unexpected scarring, and poor wound healing. You can take steps to minimize the risks by rigorously following your pre-op and post-op instructions. 

How to Find the Right Surgeon for a Tummy Tuck

The right surgeon can really help you balance out the benefits and risks of any procedure. A great surgeon has the experience, certifications, and credibility. Dr. Applebaum is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 25 years of experience. That being said, he doesn’t just operate! He’s also an innovator and a researcher that contributes to the advancement of the field of plastic surgery. He’s an active member of the International Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the Los Angeles Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

His practice in Beverly Hills has an attached outpatient surgical center, Four Thirty Six Aesthetic Surgery Center that has all the same safety features of a hospital operating room while also offering enhanced privacy and comfort levels for patients. Dr. Applebaum boasts a 4.99-star rating from 134 patient reviews that you can read on his website. These qualifications and testimonials prove that Dr. Applebaum will meet all the expectations you have for your tummy tuck procedure. 

What to Expect During Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is a serious surgical procedure that requires care and assistance afterward. For example, you may have trouble getting around immediately following the procedure and will definitely need someone to drive you home afterward. You will also need to take medications such as antibiotics, blood-thinners, and pain medications. You should plan ahead for your recovery to ensure you have the support you need so that you can properly rest and heal. 

Your incision site will be covered in a surgical dressing, and drains may be placed to eliminate excess blood and fluid. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions in terms of changing the dressings, emptying the drains, and coming in for follow-up appointments so that you heal properly. You will also be directed to wear an abdominal binder for about six weeks after the procedure to provide support to your abdominal region while you heal and prevent fluid buildup. 

The initial recovery period of a tummy tuck procedure is about six weeks, during which you should be careful not to disturb or distress the surgical site. This means no heavy lifting, no bending, and no strenuous physical activity until you are cleared by your doctor. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, be sure to contact your doctor’s office for guidance.

With patience, grit, and adherence to instructions, you will breeze through your tummy tuck recovery and receive clearance to get back to your normal activities in no time. 


As you can see, the fear of the recovery process should not prevent you from getting a tummy tuck if it’s something that you really want. The right surgeon will help guide you through the recovery process and leave you thrilled with the results. 


Medically reviewed by Dr. Robert Applebaum

Dr. Robert Applebaum is a world renowned and highly respected Plastic Surgeon who is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In his nearly 30 years as a practicing physician, Dr. Applebaum has become known as an innovator in the field of laser technology techniques for plastic surgery procedures. He has published numerous articles and scientific papers about the use of laser technology and educates physicians worldwide on the applications of laser technology for plastic surgery. Dr. Applebaum primarily practices out of his private outpatient surgery center, Four Thirty Six Aesthetic Surgery Center, which is located in Beverly Hills.


  1. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck/procedure
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tummy-tuck/about/pac-20384892
  3. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/tummy-tuck/benefits-and-risks-of-a-tummy-tuck

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