Tummy Tuck Recovery Los Angeles

Patients having had Long Beach tummy tucks should prepare to rest for one week after their procedure. An elastic compression garment will be worn under clothing for several weeks. Patients with jobs that do not require physical labor may return to work one to two weeks after surgery. The abdominal skin and muscles will be tighter, and the patient is encouraged to minimize tension on the incision. This can be done by temporarily keeping the hips flexed while in bed and by slouching while standing. The skin will relax gradually over the first week so the patient will again comfortably be able to stand upright. Many patients will feel strong enough to resume activities early, but we encourage patients to minimize unnecessary motion for the few weeks following surgery. Vigorous exercise should be avoided for six weeks following surgery.

Drains may be used to evacuate fluid that is produced under the skin; they are generally removed the week after your tummy tuck surgery. This allows the skin and superficial tissues to adhere again to the underlying muscle and fibrous tissue. Tummy tuck patients who minimize activity in the weeks following surgery are frequently able to remove their drains sooner.

Most of the sutures that are used to close the incisions are absorbable and do not require removal. The new incision usually appears slightly red in the months following surgery. As the healing progresses and the scar matures, the incision typically fades to a paler color. Improvement in the scar can be expected for up to two years following surgery. The location of the incision is designed so that it is low enough to be concealed by a bathing suit.

Advice from a Southern California Tummy Tuck Patient

"Abdominoplasty is an amazing surgery. I have twin boys, need I say more…
I had a trainer and a relatively healthy diet, but I could not get rid of my belly.
So I had a combination tummy tuck – liposuction and “Voila” a flat tummy again. Below is some advice from my years of being a nurse and from my own personal experience of having abdominoplasty in Los Angeles."
– Nurse at Marina Plastic Surgery Associates

How you will feel right after surgery

On the first day after surgery, you will not feel too bad. You will be fairly groggy from the anesthetic, so your level of discomfort on the first day is less than day two and day three.

Pain medication

Be diligent about taking your pain medication around the clock. Do not wait to feel the pain in order to assess how much medication you will need. It is best to take the pain medication as directed by Dr. Stevens for the first three days and then think about tapering it off. If you wait to feel the pain, you will have to play catch up with the medications which leads to high anxiety and the need for more pain medication.


Constipation is inevitable with surgery, anesthesia, pain medications, and decreased mobility. Helpful suggestions for dealing with constipation are over the counter medications such as: Colace, Dulcolax Suppositories, and Fleet enemas. Natural remedies like prune and apple juices work as well.


What will bother you the most will be the drains. They are a “necessary evil” in the recovery process. Drains are small tubes used to remove fluid such as blood or serum from the site of surgery. The drains may be in anywhere from one to three weeks.


Sleeping comfortably will be somewhat challenging for the first one to three weeks. A foam pillow wedge can help you with sleeping by keeping you at a specific angle. It can also help in getting you get in and out of bed. The wedges may be found at Target for about $50.00.


Showering after surgery can also be a little bit of a challenge. A sponge bath is recommended for the first three to four days. You honestly won’t have the energy to shower until day four or five. When you do get into the shower, you will take off all compression garments and dressings. Put on an old belt and attach the drains to the belt so your hands are free to wash and steady yourself in the shower. Prepare to be absolutely exhausted after the first couple of showers.

Walking and standing

You will be walking hunched over for the first week. During week two you will be able to stand more erect. By week three you will be standing and walking normally.

Time off from work

I recommend you take at least two weeks off work to recover. If you have a more physically demanding job, more time may be needed.


The surgery is done with absorbable sutures, so there won’t be any stitches to take out. Our physicians do not use staples, so there won’t be any hatchmarks. You will have steri strips over the incisions for the first four to six weeks after surgery. Once the steri strips come off, I would recommend Mepiform. It is a silicone sheeting that aids in the healing process of your scars. You will wear the Mepiform for approximately three months.

Tummy Tuck Questions

Still have questions about recovering from tummy tucks in Southern California? Send an email to Charlie, our Patient Coordinator, for advice you can trust. Or, you can save up to $150 on your appointment with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons when you request online and schedule during one of the convenient times they have set aside exclusively for Web visitors.