Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is one of the most popular procedures chosen by men and women every year. With its ability to sculpt and contour the abdomen, this transformative surgery is especially popular for those who want to get a tight, toned tummy just in time for summer.
When considering tummy tuck surgery, it’s important to know what to expect so you can plan accordingly. This helpful guide discusses everything you’ll need to know about the entire process – from your initial consultation to flaunting your new shape at the poolside.
Tummy Tuck Timeline: Your Personal Guide
Week 1: Consultation
Scheduling a consultation will be your first step. This meeting will allow you to have any questions or concerns addressed in detail by a plastic surgeon. Your candidacy for the procedure will be evaluated, and the surgeon will let you know which surgical approach would best meet your goals. Patients seeking this procedure typically have the following cosmetic concerns:
- Sagging abdominal skin
- Stubborn abdominal fat that does not respond to diet or exercise
- Over-stretched abdominal muscles, usually caused by pregnancy
If you decide to take the next step, you will be provided with a customized treatment plan. The surgery is typically scheduled out 2-3 weeks from your consultation, but this can vary.
Week 3-4: Prep and Surgery
Before your surgery date, you may be required to undergo routine lab tests or obtain a medical evaluation. You might also have some pre-operative guidelines to follow, including minor dietary adjustments and taking or avoiding certain medications.
On the day of surgery, you can expect the procedure to take around 2-3 hours to complete, but this all depends on the extent of treatment needed. Some patients may only require 90 minutes, while others may need up to 4 hours to complete the procedure.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision along the lower abdomen. The length of the incision will vary depending on your cosmetic goals and the amount of excess tissue present. Excess tissue will then be removed, and the abdominal wall and muscles will be tightened. Sometimes the procedure is also performed with liposuction to produce an ideally sculpted look.
Week 5-6: Beginning of Recovery
In the beginning of the recovery period, it’s common for patients to experience abdominal pain, bruising, and swelling. It’s also common for patients to walk in a slightly bent-over position for the first week or two after surgery. This is because the body needs to adjust to the tightened muscles.
For an optimal outcome, this part of your recovery should be spent resting, and you will be asked to wear a surgical compression garment to reduce swelling. This should be worn for about 3 months for best results. It’s best to take 2-3 weeks off from work, and you should also avoid driving during this time.
If any drains were placed after the procedure, they will be removed by your surgeon about 10-14 days after surgery. Most sutures used in tummy tuck surgery are dissolvable, but you may need to return to your surgeon’s office to have certain sutures removed at around 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Week 7-8: Getting Back to Normal
By this point, you will be past the peak of your recovery and back to some of your regular activities, including work. You can also start incorporating light fitness into your daily routine at around 4 weeks after surgery. Strenuous exercise can usually be resumed about 6 -7 weeks after surgery. You should still be wearing your compression garment as much as possible during this time.
Week 9-10: Enjoy Your Results!
At this point, you will be about 6 weeks post-op. That means you’ll be able to resume your regular exercise routine – and you’ll also be ready to flaunt your new shape! Most of your swelling should resolve by this point, but it’s still recommended that patients wear their compression garment as much as possible until around 3 months after surgery.
Overall, abdominoplasty is an effective way of restoring a fit, youthful appearance for those with excess skin and exercise-resistant fat on the abdomen. Ready to take the next step? Contact board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Tim Sayed to schedule your personal consultation today. Dr. Sayed serves both the Newport Beach and San Diego areas, and he would be happy to discuss your full range of surgical options.