What To Expect During Recovery From Tummy Tuck Surgery

Woman's Toned Abs - Tummy Tuck in The Woodlands, TX

One of the most common questions—and concerns—that cosmetic surgery patients have about any procedure is what’s involved in the recovery process. They want to know about the level of discomfort, how long they need to take off work, and when they’ll be able to resume exercising, among other issues. I’ve found that to be especially true among my tummy tuck patients in The Woodlands, TX.

What Happens During a Tummy Tuck?

Patients considering abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) typically have lost a significant amount of weight, either after having a baby, making lifestyle changes, or undergoing weight loss surgery. A tummy tuck removes excess skin and, in some cases, repairs diastasis recti (a condition in which abdominal muscles are separated.) Liposuction is commonly combined with the procedure to remove pockets of fat and ensure smooth, natural-looking contours.

The plastic surgeon performing the tummy tuck makes a horizontal incision that stretches from hip to hip just above the pubic area. An incision is also made around the belly button, which is repositioned as part of the procedure. Some patients may be good candidates for modified abdominoplasty surgery, such as a mini tummy tuck or an extended tummy tuck.

Recovery: Results Are Worth the Wait

A tummy tuck is a significant surgical procedure that affects the body’s core muscles, so the recovery is longer than what’s typical of most other cosmetic surgery procedures. As you can see in our before-and-after photos, the results are so dramatic, though, that patients almost universally believe the recovery is definitely worth it.

Tummy Tuck Case 183 Before & After Front | The Woodlands, TX | The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Before & After a Tummy Tuck
Tummy Tuck Case 200 Before & After Front | The Woodlands, TX | The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Before & After a Tummy Tuck
Tummy Tuck Case 212 Before & After Front | The Woodlands, TX | The Gill Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology
Before & After a Tummy Tuck

What Should I Expect During a Tummy Tuck Recovery?


Most patients need 2 weeks to recover before resuming normal, daily activities, including non-physical work.


Getting enough rest after tummy tuck surgery is important, but finding a safe, comfortable sleeping position can be tricky those first couple of days. It’s best to sleep with your upper body elevated; many people find sleeping in a recliner is the easiest and most comfortable position. You can learn more sleeping tips in our related blog post about sleeping after a mommy makeover.

Movement & Exercise

It is important to get up and move around briefly, even on the day of the surgery, to promote good circulation and minimize risks of complications. You won’t be able to stand upright for a few days, and it may be uncomfortable at first.

It will be several weeks before you should begin exercising—typically, about 6 weeks before vigorous exercise is OK.

Compression Garments

As part of tummy tuck recovery, patients wear a post-surgical elastic compression garment. These garments aid in the reduction of swelling, making recovery shorter and more comfortable. In most cases, patients can stop wearing these specialized abdominal binders after about 6 weeks.

Lifting Restrictions

If you’re a mom with young children at home, it’s important to know before scheduling a tummy tuck (or a Mommy Makeover that combines breast enhancement surgery with abdominoplasty) that you’ll have to avoid lifting a baby or toddler during the recovery period. Planning for child care is an important part of preparing for a tummy tuck in these cases.

Learn About Your Tummy Tuck Options

If you’d like to learn more about the tummy tuck procedure and what to expect during recovery, contact us online to request a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Gill or call our practice at (281) 853-5308 to schedule an appointment.



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

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