How Much Does an Abdominoplasty (aka Tummy Tuck) Really Hurt? What is the Downtime for a Tummy Tuck?
Abdominoplasty Surgery is a powerful way to significantly change your abdomen. It can tighten loose muscles on the abdominal wall (your ab muscles) as well as remove loose skin and stretch marks. However, it does tend to be one of the more uncomfortable surgeries. I have taken care of hundreds if not thousands of abdominoplasty patients, and here are some common patterns I have noticed in the recovery period:
1. Week 1
Liposuction makes the skin very sensitive to the touch for the first week after surgery. Patients generally still feel sore but the pain is tolerable with medication. At this point, you cannot really appreciate any final results. A numbing agent can be used intraoperatively called Exparel, and this generally helps significantly with comfort in the first week if administered correctly.
2. Week 2
By 2 weeks post op, most Tummy Tuck patients feel significantly better than at week 1. Most people can comfortably return to work unless it is very demanding and strenuous. Swelling begins to improve but is still very present.
3. Weeks 3-6
This is what I like to call the "Danger Zone". Most patients feel very good at this point and try to "over-do" it activity wise; and then regret it. It is important to be on your feet with mild activity but not to do anything too demanding. Results will slowly improve each weeks and will be near full result by week 6.
4. Weeks 6-12
This is when the "fine-tuning" of your result will happen. You'll likely be back to full activity at this point and your abdominal definition will continue to improve with time.