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Week-By-Week Guide to an Abdominoplasty Recovery Period

Are you considering an abdominoplasty? Here are some simple tips to ensure your recovery period is as safe and quick as possible. 

An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck procedure, is a cosmetic body contouring surgery designed to create a smoother and firmer abdominal profile. The general aim of this surgery is to restore weakened stomach muscles which can result from a number of factors, including:

  • Aging
  • Heredity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prior surgery
  • Weight fluctuations
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Recovering from an Abdominoplasty

While many patients experience incredible results from this body contouring procedure, it’s important to remember that an abdominoplasty requires considerable post-surgery care for the best possible and quickest recovery.

Week-by-week Guideline to an Abdominoplasty Recovery

Recovery is one of the most important aspects of your abdominoplasty procedure. Here is a week-by-week breakdown of what to expect during your recovery to ensure that, not only do you remain healthy, but that your newly-refined shape continues to look its best.

Week 1

  • Diet: For the first 7 days after your abdominoplasty, it’s important to maintain a low-sodium diet to reduce swelling.
  • Side-effects: You should expect to experience some pain, bruising, swelling and tightness in your abdominal area during the first week.
  • Drains: Typically, patients require the use of a drain for the first few days after this procedure. The drain works to direct excess fluid away from the incision and can be removed after 3-7 days.
  • Bandages: It’s important to follow the advice of your plastic surgeon when it comes to replacing your bandages. Typically these are removable and the wound should be cleaned every other day after the procedure.
  • Compression garment: A compression garment is used to promote healing and help patients achieve their desired body contour. It should be worn AT ALL TIMES during the week after your surgery.
  • Showering: Generally, you will be able to shower 1-2 days after your surgery. If you have a drain, a sponge bath may be your best option for the first week.

Recovery Tips:

  1. DO NOT drive, exercise, smoke, work, do chores or drink alcohol during the first 7 days after your procedure.
  2. Take pain medication as directed by your plastic surgeon
  3. Wear a compression garment
  4. Use an ice compress to minimize any pain and swelling
  5. Limit movement
  6. Stay hydrated


Week 2

  • Diet: Patients typically return to their normal diet during the second week, although it’s recommended you keep limiting your sodium intake.
  • Side-effects: While the pain, bruising and tightness will have mostly faded, there may still be some swelling in the treatment area.
  • Promote healing: It is recommended that during the second week of your recovery, you begin gently massaging the treatment area to promote healing.
  • Scar care: To minimize the appearance of your scars, you should begin applying some Vitamin E or silicone sheets to the incisions.
  • Compression garment: To achieve the best possible abdominoplasty results, it’s recommended that patients continue to wear the compression garment during this period.
  • Daily activities: Generally, patients feel ready to return to work 10-14 days after the surgery. However, if your surgery was done in combination with another procedure, such as a liposuction or thigh lift, you may need a few extra recovery days.
  • DO NOT: Drive, exercise, smoke or drink alcohol during the second week of recovery.

Recovery Tips:

  1. Drink lots of fluids
  2. Wear a compression garment
  3. Begin to take brief walks throughout the day to promote blood flow


Week 3 - 4

  • Diet: Most patients are able to return to their normal diets during this time. However, remember to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to stay in your ideal weight range.
  • Exercise: It is acceptable to engage in some light exercise. However, more strenuous activities such as sit ups and weight lifting should be avoided until 6-8 weeks after your surgery.
  • Compression garment: For some patients, your plastic surgeon may recommend that you continue wearing the compression garment for at least 4 weeks after the surgery.


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To find out more about our general surgery and body contouring procedures, contact our team of Kelowna plastic surgeons at 250-868-9099 or fill out our online contact form.

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