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What to expect with Tummy Tuck recovery?

Over time, excess fat can build up around the lower abdomen due to factors such as fluctuations in weight, ageing and pregnancy. This can lead to weakened stomach muscles, loose skin, excess fat and stretch marks. 

A tummy tuck procedure is a great way to tighten this area and improve the appearance. Here's everything you need to know about the procedure itself and  the healing process.

July 27th, 2023 |Ask an Expert

Why do people have Tummy Tucks? 

For some, the appearance of a smooth, flat stomach is desirable, and they choose to have a cosmetic surgery procedure such as a tummy tuck or liposuction to achieve this. A tummy tuck is a popular procedure for both men and women looking to improve the shape of the abdomen and can restore life-changing confidence and contribute to improved health and lifestyle for many patients. 

A full tummy tuck is available, but a mini tummy tuck is also offered to patients who have less to correct. The most suitable procedure for you will be recommended during your consultation.

A tummy tuck can also be performed on those who have had a C-section and want to remove the scar and tighten the area.

Ultimately, a tummy tuck is done to improve the self-esteem of patients, make finding clothes easier and increase comfort levels.

How is a Tummy Tuck achieved?  

During a tummy tuck, the specialist MYA surgeon will remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen as well as any unwanted stretch marks and scars that may have occurred from previous surgeries such as a C-section. If required the surgeon can repair the stomach muscles, tighten the remaining skin, and reposition the navel (belly button) to improve the shape and appearance of the stomach. 

Liposuction can also be performed alongside a tummy tuck to further enhance the appearance and remove the remaining fat in the area.

Tummy tuck surgery can take up to three hours to complete and is performed under general anaesthesia.

How long is abdominoplasty recovery? 

Every patient who undergoes any cosmetic surgery procedure should expect some downtime following their surgery.  The recovery process for a tummy tuck is typically between 6-8 weeks, and it is important that patients rest following their procedure.

Limited mobility is normal for the first week following surgery, however, it is important that patients maintain some mobility with light exercise to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots from developing.

What you need to know

After a tummy tuck, patients will be prescribed pain medication to reduce discomfort in the area and help them to heal at home comfortably.

7-14 days after your procedure, you will be invited for a post-op appointment where we can check on your surgical dressing, how you're feeling and answer any questions you have about the recovery process.

Compression garments are vital for effective healing and should be worn 24/7 for about six weeks. This helps to reduce swelling and minimise potential risks from occurring. 

Please be aware that it can take up to three months for swelling and bruising to disappear completely. This can vary from patient to patient, but if you have any concerns, don't hesitate to speak with your MYA nurse.       

Back to work

Patients are required to take 2 weeks off work for desk-based jobs, but those with a more physically demanding job may need to take longer for recovery after a tummy tuck. 

Maximise results

To further aid a healthy recovery and ensure the best possible tummy tuck results - and minimise the appearance of the scar - patients are advised to stay out of the sun, avoid sunbeds and smoking, and moisturise the area regularly (following sign-off from your MYA nurse).

Sun exposure increases the pigment in the scar, making it appear much more visible. So, if you are planning to go out in the sun, make sure to wear a high SPF and cover the area when possible.        


When it comes to working out after tummy tuck surgery, patients are advised to steer clear from strenuous exercise for at least 6-8 weeks following their procedure. We recommend starting off with gentle walks and consulting your MYA surgeon before returning to the gym. We also advise patients to avoid lifting heavy weights and doing ab exercises for 12 weeks post-op.

Patients must not lift children or any heavy items for a minimum of 6 weeks, doing so could have a negative impact on their recovery. 

Tummy tuck results

Take a look at some of our patients' tummy tuck results!

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Pre-Tummy Tuck - MYA


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Post-Tummy Tuck - MYA


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Pre-Tummy Tuck


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Post-Tummy Tuck


What to expect after tummy tuck surgery 

Tummy tuck recovery is often described as similar to a C-section. Patients should expect to experience some pain and discomfort following their procedure, pain relief will be prescribed to ease this. Patients may require wound drains following their procedure. The surgeon will use either dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches. Dressings will then be applied along with a compression garment. 

Post-operative wound care is extremely important, and patients will need to attend appointments to see a nurse at the MYA clinical hub following their procedure. The nurse will deliver wound care, remove the dressings and monitor your healing. Patients must not submerge their wounds in water or get their incisions wet until advised it is safe to do so by a MYA nurse.  

Many patients will see a result straight away, but it can take 6 months to a year to see the final result. Scars are a natural part of the healing process following surgery and cannot be avoided. Although they never completely disappear, tummy tuck scars will sit below the knicker line of the lower abdomen and will fade and become paler and flatter over time. 

How often should I massage my stomach after a tummy tuck?

After tummy tuck procedures, patients are encouraged to massage their new tummy for five minutes, three times a day.

This is advice given after the first few weeks to encourage lymphatic drainage and help mobilise fluid buildup and swelling, as well as soften the scar area.

While you can get professional lymphatic drainage massages, you can do them at home. At your post-op appointment, your MYA nurse will give you some tips.

How painful is tummy tuck recovery?

For the majority of tummy tuck patients, recovery isn't necessarily painful, but it can be uncomfortable.

The tightening of the abdominal muscles can cause discomfort and often itchiness, especially on the site of the scar.

You will be provided with pain medication to ease any soreness.

How to prepare for tummy tuck recovery

Here at MYA Cosmetic Surgery, you will be provided with a compression garment (also known as an abdominal binder) to aid healing.

But in terms of what you can do at home, we recommend:

  • Booking time off work if you can to be able to rest effectively

  • Organise childcare if necessary

  • Clean your home before your tummy tuck so you don't have to post-op

  • Move any essentials to waist height so you don't have to reach high to get them

  • Get your comfy clothes and pj's ready for the initial recovery period

While they may seem like little things, preparation is key and they can really help with recovery - especially in the first few weeks.

It's important to remember that everyone heals at different rates, and while some things might be easier earlier for some, they can take longer for others.

Book a tummy tuck with MYA Cosmetic Surgery

If you're interested in having a tummy tuck or would like to learn more about the healing process, you're in the right place.

Our team of experts are on hand to answer any of your questions about a tummy tuck. All you need to do is contact us today!

We also offer FREE eConsults where you can speak with one of our team about the procedure from the comfort of your own home. Book yours today.

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