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Thomas P. Sterry, MD

Tummy Tuck Recovery

tummy tuck recovery

Tummy tuck recovery can be challenging, but very rewarding

A lot of patients who are interested in tummy tuck surgery because they don’t have the time or fear tummy tuck recovery.  They hesitate and may avoid ever improving parts of their body that the gym simply can’t work out for them, and that’s a shame.  A tummy tuck can offer a beautiful transformation for the right patient.

What Does “Tummy Tuck Recovery” Mean To You?

That’s a little difficult for me to offer a generic answer to this concern because I don’t necessarily know what each person considers to be “recovered” after abdominoplasty. For some folks its a matter of when they can get back to their regular daily routine, for others it’s when they will be out of discomfort of any sort, and for some it means getting back to the gym and performing at their peak exercise ability.

Some of what I will say is that few patients actually complain about pain after a tummy tuck. They tell me that they are “exhausted”. They tell me that they feel “tight” and have difficulty finding a comfortable position sleeping at night. But the one thing I rarely hear during tummy tuck recovery is that a patient has “pain” or that the operation “hurts”. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly do use their pain medication, so I know that there is some level of discomfort, but this is not their primary concern.

On those occasions when I do hear a tummy tuck complain about pain it is typically either the center of the tummy because of the muscle tightening, or in the groin area because of the way I close the wound. Interestingly, the skin wound from tummy tucks is almost never a source of discomfort.

During the postoperative period, there is a lot of swelling – especially in the lower tummy. This can take several weeks or months to completely resolve. I even made a youtube video to help patients understand the phases that a tummy tuck patient goes through when they are recovering from the operation.

It’s really uncanny how patients are happy at first, then complain about the lower belly bloating at the 2-3 week mark. Then, by 6 weeks or so, they start to get happy again…And by 3 months they are typically very happy with their results.  You can click here to see many more examples.

I hope that will go for any of you who are thinking about having a tummy tuck now…

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Dr. Thomas P. Sterry

Thomas Sterry, MD, is a board-certified New York City plastic surgeon with over a decade of experience. At his inviting, boutique-style practice in Manhattan, he focuses on each patient's unique needs and aesthetic goals so that he can provide the most attractive and natural-looking outcomes possible.