Physical limitations during recovery after the tummy tuck - Hourglass Tummy Tuck (2023)

Posted at 18 Octin Magazine0 Comments

The tummy tuck procedure can bring about positive changes in the body of the patient. It is a major and invasive type of surgery, which is used to remove the excess skin and fat from the abdominal area. Depending on what the patient needs, the surgery may be more or less extensive compared to others who had the same surgery.

Nevertheless, recovery from the tummy tuck surgery still takes time. During the recovery period, there are a few physical limitations. These physical limitations are only temporary, and the patient can go back to their usual activities after they fully recover.

The body will be physically limited after the surgery. Among the physical limitations observed by the patient are the following: not being able to stand or lie down straight, not being able to do strenuous exercises, and not carrying or lifting heavy objects. Although patients are physically limited during the recovery, surgeons still advise patients to walk as an essential exercise after the surgery.

(Video) 5 Things About Tummy Tucks You Should Know

Surgeons also suggest a timeline when activities or exercises should be done. This schedule is also in relation to the physical limitations that a patient may experience after the tummy tuck. It must be followed to make sure that the body heals.

Recovering from a tummy tuck

Recovering from a tummy tuck takes time, and everybody heals at a different rate. It is important for patients to listen to their body and know how to take care of it properly. Time is a very important factor in the process of healing, which is why the body shouldn’t be rushed to heal or do what it still can’t.

With the tummy tuck, a very large incision is made in the abdominal area. As this is healing, there are some physical limitations that would be felt by the patient. Although there can be limitations, these are not permanent, and the patient can ease back to their usual physical activities as they heal and recover.

Stretching is a bad idea

One of the physical limitations during recovery from a tummy tuck is being able to stand straight. Standing up straight immediately after the surgery will be uncomfortable and bad for the results of the surgery. This position will stretch the abdominal area where the incision is made.

Stretching also adds tension to the incision site. This can negatively affect the scar that is formed. The more stretched it is, the thicker the scar would form. Although there are also other factors that can affect the size and appearance of the scar, stretching the incision site adds to the risk of developing a larger or thicker scar.

Aside from standing up straight, lying down straight should also be avoided especially during the early days of recovery. Patients are required to sleep in a reclined position. This also helps make sure the abdomen isn’t stretched even while sleeping.

(Video) Tummy tuck + BBL = Is it possible?

Limit exercise

Exercising is a good thing, but it is not advisable right after the tummy tuck. Patients who have gone through the surgery should limit their exercise to mostly leg work at the beginning of the recovery. Exercises should be gradual so that patients don’t risk bleeding. Limiting the exercise also helps make sure that the tissues in the abdomen adhere to each other at a faster rate.

Some patients who had a tummy tuck also had their muscles tightened at the same time. Due to the muscles being sutured to tighten them, core exercises should also be avoided for up to 4 months. This helps make sure that the muscles are healed first before they are toned or further enhanced.

No lifting or carrying anything heavy

Many of those who undergo the tummy tuck are mothers who still have small children. It is very important to remember not to carry or lift the child or any other heavy object during recovery. Lifting or carrying is an action that involves the use of abdominal muscles. This activity could also stretch the skin and tissues in the abdomen.

It is important to find someone to help out with the chores at home during recovery. They can also help the patient move around or get what they need easily. It would be easier to recover when there is someone to help and support you.

Walk around after surgery

Although patients who went through the tummy tuck are physically limited, most surgeons will still advise them to walk around after the surgery. This is the simplest exercise they can do to help their body.

Walking around is advised not only for those who went through a tummy tuck but also for patients who went through other surgeries. Through the movement of walking, the blood circulation in the legs is ensured. This prevents blood clots from forming in the legs and lodging into different areas of the body.

(Video) What is mini tummy tuck by Dr. Iraniha

Timeline of possible activities during recovery

There are some people who may be able to do other activities sooner than others. This is just how their body heals. This is also the reason why patients shouldn’t match what others can and cannot do. Although people heal differently, surgeons suggest a timeline of activities during the recovery from tummy tuck.

Surgeons cannot stress enough about not doing strenuous exercises too early during the recovery. Getting back into regular strenuous exercises prematurely can result in bleeding on the site. This can result in other complications that may also cause opening of the wound.

A day after the surgery

A day after the surgery, there will be soreness. It is possible you wouldn’t want to move because you are still recovering. Patients would be in a hunchback position at this time and sleeping would also be done in a reclined position.

Two weeks after the surgery

After a couple of weeks, patients eventually feel better because some of the soreness may already be gone. At this time, only light activity is advised. Walking is a perfect way to start easing into exercise.

Four weeks after the surgery

Activities involving light weights can be done at this time but only in moderation. If possible, it is still advised not to do any lifting to make sure the incision site is not negatively affected by the force exerted.

For those who had their muscles tightened during the tummy tuck, it is advised to avoid any lifting for up to 3 months. This just ensures that their muscles are fully healed first.

(Video) 15 Exercises to get the Best Body After a Tummy Tuck

The core plays a very important part in lifting and prematurely doing so will just lengthen the healing process. Letting the body fully heal first before doing any strenuous exercise is one of the best things that patients can do for their body.

Eight weeks after the surgery

At eight weeks after the surgery, patients can gradually start with exercises that specifically target the abdomen, although it is still best to wait up to 6 months before doing them. Only start with the crunches when it feels right for your body. If it doesn’t, wait a couple of weeks more.

It may seem that you have completely healed from the tummy tuck after eight weeks, but it is still best to do gradual exercises. Shocking the tummy with too many crunches will not produce immediate results and can also negatively affect the healing.

Recovery takes time, and patients should be patient enough for it. The physical limitations push patients to wait until their body is ready. Patients should learn to listen to their bodies and gradually ease into their regular activities.


The tummy tuck is an invasive surgery that will take time before a patient fully heals. During the recovery period, patients should know how to care for themselves especially because they have various physical limitations brought about by the surgery.

The physical limitations will prevent patients from being able to stand or lie down straight, carry or lift heavy weights, and do their regular workout routine. Although there are physical limitations, surgeons will still advise their patients to walk and exercise their legs.

(Video) What Exercises can I do After a Tummy Tuck?

Surgeons also suggest a timeline for the activities that a patient can do during the recovery. This timeline also relates to the physical limitations that a patient encounters during the recovery.

Recovery takes time for all patients, and each patient may heal at a different pace. It is important for those who went through surgery to be patient with their body as it heals. There is no need to rush the body. Eventually, the body will be strong enough, but patients need to take their time and gradually add to the intensity of their activities.


What are the limitations after a tummy tuck? ›

For the first six weeks after a tummy tuck, you'll need to be careful when moving around. You'll also need to avoid positions that strain your incision line — such as quickly bending at the waist — to prevent the reopening of the wound. You'll need to schedule regular follow-up visits.

How do you get an hourglass shape after a tummy tuck? ›

The key to maintaining good shape after your tummy tuck / abdominoplasty is to keep healthy, exercise, and maintain your weight. Additionally, you can use contouring garments to help you waist trim. I would recommend you discuss this with your plastic surgeon to have them help you optimize your results.

When can I bend at the waist after tummy tuck? ›

Can I bend over after tummy tuck? In general, you need to keep a straight abdomen with slight bending while recovering after your tummy tuck. You should avoid bending over too much (e.g. to pick up your child) for the first 4-6 weeks after your abdominoplasty.

How long is bed rest after tummy tuck? ›

If you have a “mini tummy tuck” with a smaller incision, you'll likely need between one and three weeks of elevated sleeping. On the other hand, full-tummy tuck patients require about four weeks, with six weeks of limiting any strenuous exercise or lifting.

Can I sit in a chair after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Resting Position After Tummy Tuck

Most doctors are going to want you in a "lawnchair" or reclined position for the first week or so after surgery. I provide an electric lift chair for my patients at our overnight facility, and they can also easily be rented by the month from many places.

How do you sit on the toilet after a tummy tuck? ›

Toilet Seat Booster

Generally, toilets are fairly low to the ground and we don't realize this until some part of our legs, pelvis or core is sore. After a tummy tuck, getting low enough to sit down on the toilet can be difficult and uncomfortable. A toilet seat booster may just be your new best friend.

Does your waist size change after a tummy tuck? ›

A properly performed tummy tuck can reduce your waist size and help you feel confident about your curves again. Some patients may lose many inches off their waist, while others will see more subtle results. It all depends on how much tissue can be removed safely.

Do your hips get bigger after tummy tuck? ›

Tummy tuck surgery has no direct effect on your hips. We address the abdominal region and flank area of the abdomen but not the hips. You certainly can still have some swelling 3 months out that may be affecting your clothing. Especially with whatever the leg lift part of the procedure was.

Do your thighs get bigger after a tummy tuck? ›

During body contouring procedures like a tummy tuck, fat cells are eliminated from the body and cannot return. Because of this, patients may gain weight in other places like the buttocks, legs, arms, and breasts.

How long does it take for stomach muscles to heal after tummy tuck? ›

Patients can expect to feel abdominal tightness for 6 – 12 weeks. In some cases, it can take up to a year to regain normal nerve function. While this can seem alarming, it's a natural part of the healing process.

When can I sleep on my side after tummy tuck? ›

Sleeping on your side after 3 or 5 weeks after the tummy tuck is even better. In addition to sleeping in the right position, it is also important to ensure a comfortable recovery.

How do you take care of your belly button after a tummy tuck? ›

Your doctor should give instructions on how to care for your belly button after a tummy tuck. This may include cleaning the area with warm water or a saltwater solution. It's normal for the area to look swollen and even a bit crusty after surgery, and it may take as long as 6 months for the belly button to heal.

Can I sit on the couch after tummy tuck? ›

You may be more comfortable in a recliner or on the couch right after surgery, but do not lie flat! There may be two to four drains in your abdomen. You will need to empty and “strip” the tubing of these drains at least every 12 hours and more often if needed.

What is the fastest way to recover from a tummy tuck? ›

5 Essential Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
  1. #1: Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. ...
  2. #2: Start walking. ...
  3. #3: Change your sleeping position. ...
  4. #4: Wear recommended compression garments. ...
  5. #5: Stay hydrated.

Should I sit or lay down after tummy tuck? ›

The best sleeping position after tummy tuck surgery is on your back with your upper body elevated to create a slight bend or angle. Using pillows or sleeping in a recliner is ideal to achieve this position.

Can I go up and down stairs after a tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Stairs after Tummy Tuck

It should be okay for you to climb stairs, though you may need some assistance in the beginning or you may need to take breaks after taking a few steps. However, this should not cause an increased risk for infection or wound opening.

What do I need at home after a tummy tuck? ›

Your tummy tuck recovery kit
  • Post-surgery compression garments.
  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.
  • Bandages and gauze pads.
  • Antibiotic cream.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Water bottle.
  • Ice packs.
Aug 19, 2021

Is a recliner good for after a tummy tuck? ›

Traditional tummy tucks with incisions running the length of your pelvis may require up to four weeks of sleeping in a recliner to enhance healing during recovery. However, mini tummy tuck patients can spend less time in a recliner because the incisions are shorter and less involved.

Is pooping hard after tummy tuck? ›

Constipation is a common complication after surgery and can cause unwanted strain on the abdominal muscles. Avoiding constipation goes hand in hand with a proper diet. To prevent constipation, add high fiber foods to your diet both before and after the surgery to make it easier for the bowels to empty.

Why do I pee so much after tummy tuck? ›

Because the body has a tendency of holding onto water during surgery, most patients will experience a diuresis in the first 4-7 days after surgery. During this time trips to the bathroom can be quite frequent as your body begins to get rid of the additional water weight. Hope this helps.

Does it hurt to poop after a tummy tuck? ›

After a tummy tuck procedure constipation can be an issue, because opioid pain medications will slow down your bowels. After a muscle repair, there can be pain with straining if you are constipated.

Does a tummy tuck change your pubic area? ›

A tummy tuck doesn't include a pubic lift because it focuses on contouring the belly region, tightening the skin and muscles in your midsection. In some cases, the general trimming and contouring of your midsection can improve your pubic region's general appearance, though that isn't intentional.

Why do I have a muffin top after tummy tuck? ›

Thinned out muscles and their lining causes this muffin top deformity in some patients. This occurs following muscle tightening if the increased tension makes the muscle and lining stretch out again. The medical terminology for thinned out muscles is muscle attenuation.

What I wish I knew before getting a tummy tuck? ›

Five things to consider before getting a tummy tuck
  • A tummy tuck requires significant downtime. ...
  • Expect to be at a stable weight before your tummy tuck. ...
  • A tummy tuck will leave a permanent scar. ...
  • Surgical drains will be in place for the first week or two. ...
  • Full healing can take up to a year.
Feb 23, 2018

Does a tummy tuck remove hip fat? ›

An extended tummy tuck can address a loose, flabby tummy, stubborn back fat, and love handles around the hips.

Do breasts look bigger after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Will a Tummy tuck give the appearance of a bigger bust size? While a tummy tuck will not affect your breast size, your breasts may appear larger to you since your abdominal contour will be much flatter. Hope this helps!

Why do I look boxy after tummy tuck? ›

Because the fat layer is not addressed, some patients can end up having a boxy look after the tummy tuck. This means that the tummy is flat and firm, but they don't have any curves, and they look more or less like a box.

Will my pant size go down after my tummy tuck? ›

Most women lose between 2 and 3 pants sizes after a tuck, but there are patients who lose even more. If you had a lot of loose skin before the procedure, for example, you could go down 4 more pants sizes.

Is it hard to lose weight after tummy tuck? ›

This is probably all psychological. There is no medical reason for increased difficulty in losing weight after tummy tuck. Once you get over the initial healing and you resume your preoperative diet and exercise regimen, there should be no difference in weight gain/loss tendencies.

Will I look slimmer after a tummy tuck? ›

The tummy tuck is very useful when exercise and diet have failed to tighten the abdominal muscles. However, a tummy tuck is not really designed to make you look “thinner.” Rather, the tummy tuck improves the muscle profile of the abdomen, which in turn can have the effect of making you look more fit and toned.

How long does it take to walk normally after a tummy tuck? ›

Most patients are able to walk up-right within 2 weeks. Some patients may take longer. At my clinic, we do encourage the patients to try to walk upright after about 1 week. Speak to your surgeon regarding post-operative recovery and what you can expect.

Can a tummy tuck muscle repair come undone? ›

Answer: Muscle repair loosening after tummy tuck is uncommon

Yes, the muscle tightening suture can come loose after tummy tuck, but this is not common. When the muscle tightening is performed, it takes 6 weeks to heal and have 90% of its strength. Some surgeons even use dissolvable sutures for the repair.

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

We suggest scar massage many times throughout the day for 5-10 minutes each session. It is important to strictly follow your post-operative tummy tuck instructions. We encourage you to walk around immediately in the post- operative period.

What is the most painful cosmetic surgery recovery list? ›

Many patients suggest that the Brazilian butt lift is the most painful surgery. This is followed by the tummy tuck, breast implants, liposuction, breast lifts and reductions, and jaw surgery. Dental implants can also cause much pain, as you still need to eat in the healing process.

What helps tummy tuck incisions heal? ›

How can I minimize scarring as my tummy tuck incisions heal?
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Cocoa butter.
  • Petroleum jelly.
  • Scar cream.
  • Silicone gel sheets.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Vitamin E.
Aug 16, 2022

What are red flags after a tummy tuck? ›

CALL THE OFFICE IMMEDIATELY IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: A high fever, (over 101º) severe nausea and vomiting, continued dizziness or incoherent behavior, such as hallucinations. Any pain that cannot be controlled by your pain medication. Bright red skin that is hot to the touch.

What are the best foods to eat after tummy tuck? ›

There are no specific restrictions immediately after a tummy tuck. However, you may want to keep your diet light for the next several days. Start with clear liquids, such as water, then move on to a soft diet of raw fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals, yogurt, soft cheeses, soups, and pudding.

Should you walk a lot after a tummy tuck? ›

You'll need to get up and walk every day to regain your normal movement. Between walks, move your feet and legs often. A tummy tuck leaves a long scar that will fade with time. You also may have a small scar around your belly button.

Is it normal to sleep a lot after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Postop fatigue for number of days after abdominoplasty is common. After surgery the body investors energy in healing the operative site. Patients often feel listless and require excess sleep. Sleep is much as you wish but you should but periodically to exercise the extremities.

How do I sleep first night after tummy tuck? ›

When you rest, it's recommended that you sleep in a slightly bent position that avoids pulling on the stitches. Instead of sleeping flat on a bed, many surgeons and patients who have recovered from abdominoplasty recommend sleeping in a recliner for the first few weeks.

Can a tummy tuck cause problems years later? ›

It is rare, but possible, to have complications years after tummy tuck surgery. It sounds like you may have a chronic infection, possible along a deep, non-absorbable suture. It is concerning that you are draining pus from the belly button.

How do I keep my stomach flat after a tummy tuck? ›

How to Keep the Fat Away After Tummy Tuck Surgery
  1. Follow your doctor's advice. As a dual board-certified aesthetic and plastic surgeon, Dr. ...
  2. Rest and recover. ...
  3. Monitor your diet. ...
  4. Stay active with low-impact activities. ...
  5. Add liposuction to your tummy tuck.
Apr 12, 2022

Can your stomach get big again after a tummy tuck? ›

While minor weight fluctuations among adults are normal, significant weight gain (generally over ten pounds) after a tummy tuck can lead to the accumulation of excess fat in the stomach once again. In addition, stretch marks and loose skin may return, all of which can impact your tummy tuck results.

What happens if you overdo it after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Activity after a Tummy Tuck

If you do too much too early you put yourself at risk for seromas, hematomas, or incision separation. Be careful and follow the instructions of your surgeon.

Can you tell if someone has had a tummy tuck? ›

Yes, a vertically stretched belly button oftentimes indicates that a person has had a tummy tuck.

Can you damage a tummy tuck? ›

In general, it would take a significant amount of pressure to “tear" the muscle repair after tummy tuck surgery. This event would likely be associated with significant discomfort. A change in your physical examination, such as increased swelling, bleeding, a new onset "bulge" would also be likely.

Will I go down a pant size after tummy tuck? ›

Most women lose between 2 and 3 pants sizes after a tuck, but there are patients who lose even more. If you had a lot of loose skin before the procedure, for example, you could go down 4 more pants sizes.

How do I stay skinny after a tummy tuck? ›

Monitor Your Diet

After your tummy tuck, make sure you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. These foods can help you maintain a healthy weight and provide the nutrients you need to help your body heal.

Will tummy tuck make my waist smaller? ›

A properly performed tummy tuck can reduce your waist size and help you feel confident about your curves again. Some patients may lose many inches off their waist, while others will see more subtle results. It all depends on how much tissue can be removed safely. Dr.

What are the do's and don'ts after a tummy tuck? ›

Some restrictions right after a tummy tuck include; No Heavy lifting at all during your recovery. Avoid strenuous physical activities, swimming and driving until your surgeon gives you the green light. Stay home and get rest for 2-3 weeks.

Do hips get wider after tummy tuck? ›

Tummy tuck surgery has no direct effect on your hips. We address the abdominal region and flank area of the abdomen but not the hips. You certainly can still have some swelling 3 months out that may be affecting your clothing. Especially with whatever the leg lift part of the procedure was.

Why is my waist bigger after tummy tuck? ›

Answer: Gained inches around waist after tummy tuck

It is likely due to swelling which is very common especially at 2 weeks out and with multiple procedures. However, you should bring this to your plastic surgeon's attention, so that he/she can make sure that it's not a seroma (fluid collection).


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