Abdominoplasty The recovery period

Following tummy tuck surgery the drainage tubes are typically removed between 24 and 72 hours after the operation. In some instances patients go home with the drains and return to the practice for the drain or drains to be removed.


The dressings should be kept dry but it is possible to wash around with a wet towel during the first week. The compression garment and compression plates for the abdomen need to be worn essentially continuously during the first three weeks but in some instances they can be of benefit for a little longer.


It is important to be mobile after the surgery to help the return to normal of the circulation in the legs and wearing compression anti-embolism stockings is also helpful. Following abdominoplasty surgery it is common to use medication that thins the blood typically in the form of injections self administered once a day.

A course of antibiotics of one week is typically prescribed at the end of the operation and ideally the treatment course should be completed. Antibiotic treatment sometimes leads to diarrhoea and, in a situation like this, it is very important to stop the antibiotics and inform your surgeon or GP so that appropriate measures can be instituted.

Using painkillers sometimes leads to constipation and people that have a tendency towards constipation will require the assistance of laxatives in the early stages after the operation. A high content fibre in the food also helps to restore a normal digestion.

Discomfort and pain

During the recovery period you can expect to feel that the front of the tummy feels tight and indeed may make it difficult to walk straight for the first few days.

Discomfort or pain after the operation is typically well controlled by painkillers like paracetamol with codeine or tramadol. Aspirin needs to be avoided as a painkiller as it promotes bleeding and can create significant problems after the surgery.


Moderate bruising is to be expected mostly in the areas of liposuction but sometimes also in the lower abdomen. Typically, it settles within 2 to 3 weeks of the operation.

Using arnica for a week prior to the surgery has been suggested as a way to decrease bruising. Additional products that will improve the recovery speed and decrease bruises faster are Hirudoid or vitamin K cream.


The scars following abdominoplasty surgery will usually take many months to settle completely, and occasionally will need help to mature and soften. Moisturising cream or silicone gel can help with this process.

Get in touch. Talk to our helpful team or book a consultation with Mr Lucian Ion. Call 0207 486 7757

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