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Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Post-Operative Instructions


  • Have someone drive you home after surgery and help you at home for 1-2 days.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Follow balanced diet.
  • Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may want to add more raw fruit to your diet, and be sure to increase fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin until approved by your physician.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.


  • Start walking as soon as possible, as this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots.
  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications (narcotics).
  • Do not drive until you have full range of motion with your arms.
  • No lifting greater than 5 lbs. for 6 weeks. This can be modified by your physician.
  • Resume sexual activity as comfort permits, usually 2-3 weeks postoperatively.
  • Avoid straining of abdominal muscles. Strenuous exercise and activities are restricted for 6 weeks.
  • Return to work in 2-4 weeks.

Incision Care

  • You may shower 48 hours after removal of all drainage tubes.
  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).
  • Keep steri-strips on.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection.
  • No tub soaking while sutures or drains are in place.
  • Wear you compression garment 24/7 for 6 weeks post op.
  • Place daily soft dressing over incisions and around drain sites to wick away moisture and to prevent irritation by garment along the incision line
  • Sleep with head slightly elevated and pillows under your knees to decrease tension on your incision.

What to Expect

  • You may experience temporary pain, soreness, numbness of abdominal skin, incision discomfort.
  • Maximum discomfort will occur the first few days.
  • You will have bruising and swelling of the abdomen. The majority of bruising and swelling will subside in 6-8 weeks.
  • You may feel tired for several weeks or months.


  • Flatter, firmer abdomen with narrower waistline.
  • You will walk slightly bent forward and gradually return to normal posture over next 3 weeks.
  • Scars will be reddened for 6 months. After that, they will fade and soften.
  • The scar will extend from near one hipbone to the other, low on the abdomen.

Follow-Up Care

  • Abdominal drains removed when less than 30 ml for 24-48 hours. (This will vary depending on your physician).
  • Surface stitches removed in 7-10 days.

When To Call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling or motion.

For Medical Questions, Please Call:

  • (734) 998-6022, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • After hours and on weekends, call Hospital Paging at (734) 936-6267 and ask for the Plastic Surgeon on call.