Mild to moderate discomfort is common in the first few days after surgery but can be minimised with appropriate painkillers. We administer local anaesthetic during the operation to give you some relief in the early recovery period. Initially, the discomfort will be more obvious when you move around or get out of bed, normally on the first day after the operation. Because of the skin removal and tightening of the abdominal muscles, your tummy will feel tight when you stand and it may take several weeks for this feeling to settle. We will remove your drains as soon as it is safe, normally on day two.
Following your discharge from hospital, we will give you a supply of painkillers to use as directed. We will also arrange a follow-up appointment with our plastic surgery nurses around one week after the operation to change the dressings and check the wound. The stitches are buried and dissolving, so they leave no marks and do not need to be removed.
Normally, you will see your consultant again in the outpatient clinic about six weeks after your surgery.
You will have noticeable scars after a tummy tuck. The main scar will run across your tummy just above the pubic area. There may also be a scar around the belly button. Usually, your underwear will hide the scars.
Age, skin type and elasticity all affect the quality of the result. Smoking not only adds to the risks of any procedure, but is likely to reduce the quality of the final result.
Getting back to normal
If you try to do too much too quickly, you can slow the healing process and increase the chance of some complications. You should therefore avoid doing anything that you find too uncomfortable. On average, you can expect to return to office-based work and light activities after two weeks, but you should avoid more strenuous activity or exercise for up to six weeks.
Finally, for female tummy tucks, we usually perform the operation when your family has been completed. For both males and females who have lost weight, we recommend delaying surgery until your desired weight target has been reached and your weight is stable. This is because pregnancy and weight gain lead to stretching of the muscles and skin. Weight gain or pregnancy after surgery will reduce the quality of the final result. Although you can have a normal pregnancy after a tummy tuck, it is sensible to finish your family first. Similarly, you should reach your ideal weight before undergoing the procedure and maintain that weight afterwards.