Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Swelling 6 Weeks After Tummy Tuck

Swelling is a common side effect of tummy tuck surgery. It usually starts to diminish around 6 weeks after the procedure, but it can take up to 12 weeks for swelling to disappear completely.

Swelling is a normal side effect after a tummy tuck, no matter which incision type you have. Just like many other side effects, swelling will vary based on your individual immune system and healing process.

Swelling is temporary and will go away with time. Adhering to Dr. Small’s aftercare instructions and following your tummy tuck in Long Island will help swelling go down. Infection or other complications can cause swelling to persist and prolong the recovery period. Controlling swelling will promote healing and help you see results faster.

Why Do Our Bodies Swell After A Tummy Tuck?

Once surgery is complete, your body sends white blood cells and other healing compounds to the surgery site to jumpstart the recovery process. Increased fluids will cause the area to grow larger during the initial stages of healing. Swelling is a completely normal response to an injury, which is why most swelling will be located near the incision site. A compression garment will be provided, which reduces swelling and yields better results.

Things To Avoid After Your Long Island Tummy Tuck

Being patient and letting your body heal will be the key to resolving swelling. Rushing your healing process or overexerting yourself can cause swelling to persist. Do not touch your stitches or the incision because your hands can introduce bacteria to the area and cause an infection.

Avoid activities that utilize your abdominal muscles in particular. Especially when your muscles are pulled tight during the procedure, the muscles need time to heal before being engaged.

Most importantly, listen carefully to all after-care instructions. Dr. Small provides individualized instructions based on your medical history, current stage of healing, and other factors.

Ways To Decrease Swelling

Strenuous exercise and excessive movement will negatively impact your recovery. It is a good idea to go shopping before your surgery to ensure that you have everything you need during the initial stages of healing while your movement is limited. Buy food, water, and anything else you might want while you relax and heal at home.

Some tips for minimizing swelling include:

If you try reintroducing an activity and you experience pain or discomfort, stop and try again at another time. Listen to your body and don’t rush your recovery.

How Long Will I Need Compression Garments?

Patients typically wear a compression garment for about five to six weeks after their procedure. At first, the garment should be worn at all times, and Dr. Small will let you know when you can start taking it off or only wearing it for part of the day, and when you can stop wearing it altogether.

When Will My Swelling Go Down?

The majority of swelling resolves after approximately two months. About 80% of the swelling should subside, but many patients have minor swelling that can persist up to one year after surgery. At the two-month mark you will have a good idea of what your final results will look like and you will be able to resume most activities. Your follow-up visits will become less frequent, although Dr. Small is always willing to answer questions in between office visits.

Swelling after a Tummy Tuck Is Normal

Swelling in the abdominal area is perfectly normal and expected after a tummy tuck. In this area of the body, the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels work as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut. Because of this, the body removes fluid in the area a lot slower, resulting in fluid buildup known as edema or swelling.

Swelling is typically at its worst for the first 2 months following a tummy tuck, though everyone is a little bit different. As the body repairs blood and lymphatic vessels, the swelling should continue to resolve. This healing process can take up to a year or longer to complete, so it is common to see minor swelling in that time.

The amount of swelling experienced after your tummy tuck surgery can also vary depending on the treatment plan you choose. A mini tummy tuck or a drainless tummy tuck typically results in less recovery time and swelling than a traditional tummy tuck. Alternatively, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck can produce swelling in other areas of the body as well.

Swelling Can Fluctuate throughout the Day

After your initial swelling goes down, minor swelling continues and can be affected by your daily activity. This is because gravity is not your friend. For instance, long hours standing up can increase swelling in the abdomen, but this usually goes down after a good night of sleep. Once you start exercising, you may also notice increased swelling following workouts.

Stages of Swelling After Tummy Tuck

Swelling is a normal side effect after a tummy tuck, no matter which incision type you have. Just like many other side effects, swelling will vary based on your individual immune system and healing process.

Swelling is temporary and will go away with time. Adhering to Dr. Small’s aftercare instructions following your tummy tuck in Long Island will help swelling go down. Infection or other complications can cause swelling to persist and prolong the recovery period. Controlling swelling will promote healing and help you see results faster.


7 months post tummy tuck swelling

Swelling is a normal part of tummy tuck recovery, and while most of it resolves within the first 2 months, some residual swelling can last for 6 months to a year. Taking the right steps in your initial recovery will help resolve swelling more quickly so you can enjoy your final result sooner.

In this blog, I’ll share my tips for minimizing post-tummy tuck swelling and speeding the natural healing process along.

Wear Your Compression Garment Faithfully

Compression garments reduce swelling, promote healing, create shapely results, and reduce the risk of fluid buildup known as a seroma, a possible tummy tuck complication.

You’ll typically wake up in your compression garment on the day of your surgery, and you’ll need to keep it on around the clock for the next few weeks. Do your best to wear it regularly and only remove it to bathe or unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon.

Compression garments are also common after liposuction, which your tummy tuck may include. (Are you trying to decide if you need a tummy tuck, liposuction, or both? Find out how to decide in this blog post.)

Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated

Diet is a big potential contributor to swelling after surgery, but it can also have the opposite effect. To heal quickly and keep swelling to a minimum, eat plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.

Lower your sodium intake and drink plenty of water to prevent your body from holding onto excess fluids.

As Verywell Health reports, you’ll also want to stay away from foods that cause constipation, as this is a common issue post-surgery. Make sure your diet is rich in fiber (and fluid) to combat this.

Work In Some Light Movement

You won’t want to jump back into your usual workout routine right after a tummy tuck, but starting light movement as early as possible will promote healthy circulation and minimize swelling. Take short walks around the house and gradually work your way up to more activity over the next few weeks. However, make sure you do not lift anything over 10 pounds (including children and pets) until cleared by your surgeon.

Get Plenty of Good Sleep

Sleep plays a huge role in your recovery, so try for 8 hours of good sleep every night—more if you need it. Early on, sleep in a recliner or propped up on pillows so you don’t stress your incisions and can easily get in and out of bed. Being reclined will also prevent fluid buildup.

If you find it difficult to sleep, make sure to move around during the day, limit screen time before bed, cut back on caffeine, and journal or spend time with loved ones to manage stress.

To see examples of what your results may look like once your tummy tuck recovery is complete, please visit my before-and-after photo gallery.

Pictures Swelling After Tummy Tuck

Week-by-week Tummy tuck recovery guide

If you’re considering a tummy tuck surgery, it’s natural to have questions about the recovery process. Tummy tuck recovery can vary from person to person, but there are general guidelines that most patients can expect to follow.

Immediately after the surgery, you will likely experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising in the abdominal area. Your surgeon may prescribe pain medication to help manage any discomfort. It’s important to rest and allow your body to heal during the first few days after surgery.

During the first week of recovery, you should avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure proper healing. You may also need to wear a compression garment to support the abdomen and reduce swelling.

In the second week of recovery, you may start to feel more like yourself and be able to resume light daily activities. However, you should still avoid any strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. It’s important to continue wearing your compression garment as directed by your surgeon.

By the third week of recovery, you should start to feel more comfortable and be able to increase your activity level. You may be able to return to work and resume light exercise, but you should still avoid any activities that strain the abdominal muscles.

By the sixth week of recovery, most patients are able to resume all normal activities, including exercise and lifting heavy objects. It’s important to continue following your surgeon’s advice and listen to your body as you gradually return to your normal routine.

Remember that tummy tuck recovery is a gradual process and it’s important to be patient with yourself as your body heals. Following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions and taking care of yourself during the recovery process will help ensure the best possible outcome from your tummy tuck surgery.

what happens at 6 weeks post op tummy tuck

After you return home from your tummy tuck surgery, you may feel groggy and want to sleep. The following day, we encourage you to walk around the house.

Returning to work can be somewhat variable depending on your job. If your job is sedentary you will be able to return to work in 10 to 14 days. If your job is labor intensive it may take up to 6 weeks to return.

You may resume light exercise that does not require abdominal activity at approximately four weeks. Abdominal activity, however, should not be attempted prior to 8 weeks and should only be done when there is absolutely no pain.

The majority of the bruising and swelling from the tummy tuck will have subsided by 3 weeks, but complete resolution will take at least 6 months to occur.

Typically, scars heal in a very methodical manner. For the first 6 to 8 weeks the scar becomes red as the body heals. After that stage, however, the scar becomes much less red and thinner. By one year, the scar is usually very light and easily hidden by underwear or a bikini.

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