Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Best Shapewear for After Tummy Tuck

It’s no secret that shapewear is an absolute necessity after a tummy tuck. You’ve worked so hard to get your body back in shape and now it’s time to make sure you’re getting the most out of it! There are so many different types of shapewear, but which one is right for you?

The best way to start is with a cincher style waist trainer. This will help give you a more hourglass shape and smooth out any lumps or bumps that may still be visible on your body. It will also help support your back muscles while they’re healing. This is an especially good option if you’re planning on wearing tight clothing that might otherwise rub against those areas while they heal.

If you want something more lightweight and breathable, try an elastic bandage style waist trainer instead. These are great because they can be worn under clothes without making them look too bulky or obvious—just remember that since these styles don’t have as much compression power, they won’t offer as much support either (so keep in mind how much you plan on moving around after surgery).

Best Compression Garment After Tummy Tuck and Lipo


Tummy tuck surgery consistently remains at the top of the list of most in-demand cosmetic surgeries in Beverly Hills. This is not surprising, as the tummy tuck can help both men and women address a long list of concerns and achieve a dramatic transformation. After weight loss, patients often benefit from the skin and fat removal aspect of A tummy tuck. At the same time, many women utilize the tummy tuck as a solution for restoring their pre-pregnancy figures. While the outcome of a tummy tuck can undoubtedly be stunning, patients must understand what to expect during the recovery period and adhere to the postoperative guidelines closely. One of the most critical aspects of the tummy tuck recovery is the use of a compression garment.

Award-winning board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Timothy Katzen and the stellar team at J. Timothy Katzen, M.D. Beverly Hills are committed to helping patients achieve their ideal cosmetic results and enjoy a safe, healthy, and efficient recovery after a tummy tuck by providing the most advanced surgical techniques and tools available as well as detailed postoperative instructions. Learn more about what you can expect during tummy tuck recovery here, including why a compression garment is essential for proper healing and a gorgeous outcome.

HOW DOES A TUMMY TUCK WORK?

A tummy tuck is an exciting body contouring procedure that involves skin removal, muscle tightening, and other advanced techniques to address a wide variety of cosmetic and functional concerns, and, ultimately, sculpt a smooth, taut, beautiful midsection. A tummy tuck is performed under general anesthesia with a board-certified anesthesiologist. The tummy tuck usually takes about 2 – 3 hours to complete. Dr. Katzen will place an incision just above the pubic area on the lower abdomen.

The length of the incision will depend on how much excess skin needs to be removed. For patients with diastasis recti, or separated abdominal muscles, Dr. Katzen can reposition the abdominal fascia and reinforce the muscles. Liposuction is also commonly performed during tummy tuck surgery to remove stubborn deposits of fat. Once the loose, sagging skin has been excised, the remaining abdominal skin is pulled tightly and the incision is closed with many layers of absorbable sutures for a sleek, firm new contour.

HOW LONG IS THE TUMMY TUCK RECOVERY TIME?

Patients should have realistic expectations for their tummy tuck recovery period and plan to make the experience as smooth, comfortable, and convenient as possible. Because a tummy tuck is an extensive procedure, most patients need to take about 2 – 3 weeks off work for their recovery. While you should begin feeling much more like yourself after the first 1 – 2 weeks, it is essential to understand that your body is still healing from major surgery. Strenuous physical activity, including exercise, may be off-limits for up to six weeks or longer, though light walking is encouraged. Patients should not stand fully upright in order to maintain the integrity of their incisions. Brief, light walks help to increase circulation and avoid complications, such as blood clots or DVTs.

Most tummy tuck patients are considered fully recovered after about six weeks. However, the final results will continue to improve over the next several weeks and months as the residual swelling resolves, the tissues settle, and the scars begin to fade. Some of the most beneficial things patients can do to ensure a successful and efficient tummy tuck recovery include:

  • Follow all of Dr. Katzen’s instructions
  • Take medications as prescribed
  • Attend follow-up appointments
  • Eat healthy and stay hydrated
  • Do not rush your recovery
  • Wear your compression garment as instructed

WHAT DOES A COMPRESSION GARMENT DO AFTER TUMMY TUCK?

Without a doubt, the use of a compression garment after tummy tuck surgery is essential for proper, speedy healing and a cosmetically pleasing result. Some of the most compelling reasons for wearing a compression garment or binder after tummy tuck include:

  • Reduce swelling: The constant, even compression applied by a compression garment – sometimes referred to as an abdominal binder – reduces postoperative swelling and accelerates visible results.
  • Prevent seromas and hematomas: By minimizing swelling and decreasing the incidence of pockets beneath the tissue, compression garments dramatically reduce the risk for developing collections of serious fluid (seromas) and blood collections (hematomas)
  • Protect incisions: Additionally, patients can reduce their risk for wound separation by wearing a compression garment. Wearing a compression garment limits the possibility of pulling, stretching, and opening the incision.
  • Enhance comfort: Many patients feel that snug compression garment feels more secure and comfortable following surgery.
  • Smoother outcome: Wearing a compression garment is also crucial for achieving a smoother, more even outcome and minimizing the possibility of bumps, lumps, dimples, keloid scarring, or other imperfections. Keep in mind that many medical compression garments are made specifically with the seams on the outside to avoid permanent skin indentations. Dr. Katzen and his knowledgeable team will help you understand and select the best tummy tuck compression garment for you.

HOW LONG DO YOU WEAR A COMPRESSION GARMENT AFTER A TUMMY TUCK?

Patients should plan to wear their compression garment for a minimum of 4 – 6 weeks after tummy tuck surgery to ensure the best possible results. For the first few weeks, compression garments should be worn at all times – day and night – except when showering. Once Dr. Katzen assesses your progress at a postoperative follow-up appointment, you may be able to reduce the number of hours you wear the compression garment each day. However, many patients choose to continue wearing the compression garment as much as possible for comfort and peace of mind.

SAY GOODBYE TO LOOSE SKIN AND STUBBORN FAT WITH A LIFE-CHANGING TUMMY TUCK IN BEVERLY HILLS, CA

Despite the recovery period and the need for compression garments, the vast majority of tummy tuck patients consider the surgery to be one of the best things they have ever done in their life! Whether you are ready to take the final step in your weight loss transformation, get your pre-baby body back, or fight the effects of aging, a tummy tuck surgery at J. Timothy Katzen, M.D. Beverly Hills can help.

Call TODAY to schedule a consultation for a tummy tuck. For your convenience, Dr. Katzen has offices in Beverly Hills, CA, Las Vegas, NV, and Dubai. Physical or virtual consultations can be arranged. Virtual consultation options include FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp. Call TODAY at (310) 859 – 7770 to schedule your FREE consultation to achieve the tummy of your dreams.

Our annual Most Worth It list recognizes the most-loved aesthetic procedures—from noninvasive tweaks to the gold standard in surgery—as chosen by RealSelf community members like you. This story highlights one or more of the 44 Most Worth It honorees for 2022; you can see the full list and learn more about patients’ favorite procedures here.

Souvenirs. This euphemism for scars has always struck us as a little curious. In some instances, sure, it’s fitting—certain marks do represent identity-shaping experiences or elicit heady memories—but in other cases, scars are decidedly less sentimental. In plastic surgery, they’re generally regarded as the price of doing business—and a small price, at that, when weighed against the stunning transformations that only a scalpel can deliver.

Consider the tummy tuck: the procedure not only removes excess skin—and along with it, lower-belly stretch marks and C-section scars (“souvenirs” many are happy to lose)—but also reconnects separated abdominal muscles (commonly pulled apart during pregnancy), for a flatter stomach and stronger core. Yet a significant scar—one that spans the pelvis, hip to hip—comes standard with the surgery. While this likely gives potential abdominoplasty patients pause, it’s hardly an all-out deterrent; just ask the 160,000-plus people who had tummy tucks in 2020.

While more indelible than most mementos, scars do fade, to an extent, with time (certain surgeon-prescribed treatments can also help to speed things along). The following unadulterated snapshots—submitted by surgeons and patients and accompanied by their honest impressions—reveal the gradual evolution and myriad iterations of tummy tuck scars. Interested in tummy tuck?FIND DOCTORS NEAR YOU

Week three post-op and one year post-op

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“Being a patient of color, she was concerned about keloids or hypertrophic scarring. We started her early on lymphatic massage, silicone gel, and incision massage. This combination resulted in a flat incision, with no widening or hypertrophy.” —Dr. Troy A. Pittman, board-certified plastic surgeon in Washington, D.C.

One month post-op

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“This patient is only one month post-op. The scar is still very fresh but already healing nicely. Due to this patient’s skin type, she is prone to healing without any scarring issues, such as hypertrophic or keloid scars.” —Dr. Umbareen Mahmood, board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City

Week Six Post-Op and 18 Months Post-Op

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“For a fair-skinned patient, the redness from the incision definitely faded more quickly than average. At six months, she also underwent a small dog-ear correction at the far edges of her incision, which is very common. She had her revision in the office, under local anesthesia.” —Dr. Pittman

Related: How Tattoos Can Create a Natural-Looking Belly Button Post-Tummy Tuck

10 weeks post-op

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“This patient underwent a tummy tuck and liposuction with me and is shown at 10 weeks after surgery. She is using silicone gel on her scars, which helps them heal and fade with time. This patient has been very compliant with her post-surgery scar regimen and garments, which has made a big difference in her progression. I’ve found that, overall, scarring is more minimal when we can decrease tension and pull at the incision line—something I do with progressive tension sutures [which transfer tension to the deeper tissue layers].” —Dr. Amaka Nwubah, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Nashville, Tennessee 

Three Months Post-Op

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“This 55-year-old patient was compliant with silicone scar gel as well as scar massage. Her final scar result will show at one year post-op, and I anticipate she will continue to heal well.” —Dr. Mahmood

Three Months Post-Op

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“The patient was also compliant with silicone scar gel as well as scar massage. We’ll see her final scar at the one-year mark, but I expect her to continue to heal well.” —Dr. Mahmood

One Year Post-Op

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“This 38-year-old woman had stretched abdominal muscle (diastasis recti) caused by prior pregnancies plus stretch marks and an overhanging shelf of tissue. Her muscle tone was good, which made her an ideal candidate for tummy tuck and liposuction of the flanks. In addition to removing all the stretched skin from above her belly button to her pubic bone and tightening her muscle layer to correct the diastasis recti, I curved the incision line in a ‘bikini string curve,’ which accentuates the waist and hip lines.  

“Her health-conscious, balanced diet and the fact that she is a nonsmoker who does not take any steroid medicines, which can impair wound healing, contributed to excellent scar healing. But most important, meticulous incision closure with progressive tension sutures—placing sutures from top to bottom, inside the abdominal space, to offload tension from the healing incision line—was crucial. Compression garments were worn, to provide support and control swelling. My partner, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Noëlle Sherber, performed laser scar treatment, which helped our patient’s scar to fade over the course of a year.” —Dr. Ariel N. Rad, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Washington, D.C.

One Year Post-Op

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“This 40-year-old man lost 75 pounds from a safe diet and exercise, going from 295 to 220 pounds, and he leads a very health-conscious lifestyle. He had a tummy tuck and liposuction of the flanks with muscle tightening. I paid close attention to his abdominal contour, to accentuate muscle highlights and give a more sculpted, masculine look to his abdomen and flank area. 

“I was concerned about optimizing his wound healing because he had thin skin, as indicated by stretch marks. So in addition to meticulous surgical closure, I again used progressive tension suture technique. I advised compression garments and aggressive scar therapy with tension-reducing silicone sheeting, moisture therapy, and laser treatment performed by Dr. Sherber.” —Dr. Rad

One Year Post-Op

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“This patient underwent a lower body lift one year ago. The incision for a lower body lift is the same as that for a tummy tuck. Her scar has faded tremendously and is barely visible. She is compliant with her scar gel, and we also decreased the amount of tension at the incision line with progressive tension sutures. We find [her outcome] to be consistent, for the most part, with patients’ scar appearances at one year.” —Dr. Nwubah

Related: Doctors Answer 6 of the Most Common Questions About Tummy Tuck Recovery

18 Months Post-Op

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“My scar, 18 months later—I hate it. I should have also had liposuction, since even with the tummy tuck, I still look boxy. The scar is very high—and hard to hide in regular swimsuits—plus it’s dog-eared and more prominent on the left side. Eventually, I will go back and have it revised by a different doctor.” —Diana, tummy tuck patientInterested in tummy tuck?FIND DOCTORS NEAR YOU

Two Years Post-Op

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“This 43-year-old woman had very stretched abdominal muscles, caused by prior pregnancies and large fibroids, creating the very protuberant shape of her abdomen. She was an ideal candidate for tummy tuck and liposuction of the flanks. In a single surgery, her gynecologist removed the fibroids, which decompressed her abdomen, and then I removed all the stretched skin from above her belly button to her pubic bone while also tightening her muscle layer.  

“Her excellent healing is due to her eating a balanced diet, not smoking, and not taking any steroid medicines as well as to meticulous surgical closure. I also used a tension-relieving device called a wound VAC. We were aggressive with scar therapy and used tension-reducing silicone sheeting, moisture therapy, and laser scar treatment—again, by Dr. Sherber—which helped to fade her scar over two years.” —Dr. Rad

Day Two Post-Op Through Three Years Post-Op

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“I had a 360 tummy tuck in November 2018. This first photo was taken on day two post-op, my first shower. Lots of swelling, and my plastic surgeon used tape that couldn’t be removed yet. This is the time frame when many patients get the post-surgery blues (you see it a lot on RealSelf). Everything hurts and is swollen, and nothing looks good. Even knowing all of this going in and saying that I wouldn’t get those blues, I 100% did! Give your body time to heal—and stay positive. There are so many factors that influence scarring. For me, I tend to scar well, but I still made sure to follow my surgeon’s instructions to the letter. Post-op care immediately following surgery can set you up for success.” —Christina, tummy tuck patient

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“This was taken at 12 weeks post-op. My results are starting to show. The scar is thin, flat, and still very red.” —Christina

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“Six months: my scar is fading.” —Christina

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“At almost three years post-op, my scar is white, flat, and thin—nearly invisible. I can wear a string bikini, no problem. I have been able to do that since about three months out, due to the thin, flat nature of the scar. At that point, any residual redness just looked like the lines you get from a bathing suit.” —Christina

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