Recovery after abdominoplasty: post-operative and home care instructions

When you have a tummy tuck done, your body needs time to recover. The average recovery period is 6 to 8 weeks, but the final result may take a little longer. We often get questions about what you can and cannot do after a tummy tuck and how to promote recovery. Before the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will inform you in detail about the recovery, risks and possible complications.

Different types of abdominoplasty

There are several types of abdominoplasty. From the small mini abdominoplasties to large abdominoplasties including muscle correction and removal of excess skin (sometimes a fleur-de-lis). Since one tummy tuck differs from the other, this is why there are major differences in the recovery following the surgery. This also explains why there is often so much ambiguity and why some people are allowed to return to everything soon after surgery and others are not.

A successful recovery begins with proper preparation

fast recovery from breast augmentation

A body that is healthy and fit before abdominoplasty will recover faster and better. The better your condition and abdominal muscles were before surgery, the faster you will recover. Therefore, make sure your body is fit and has enough nutrients for the surgery. This ensures better wound healing after surgery and reduces the risk of complications. Our partner R-Support has developed two science-based nutritional supplements for this purpose: Recover Prepare and Recover After Surgery. In preparation for surgery, you could start two weeks in advance with Recover Prepare. This is a shake that enhances your immune system and replenishes any deficiencies in essential nutrients for your surgery. It complements your normal (healthy) diet. Immediately after surgery, you could start with Recover After Surgery to maximize recovery and promote wound healing.

Note! On the day of surgery, you must fast.

Furthermore, if possible, arrange for extra help at home, such as from a partner, friend or associate who can help you out the first few days. Stop smoking, too!

Wearing a compression band

After surgery, your abdomen will be bandaged with a compression band. You may have some afterpain, especially if the abdominal wall muscle is also tightened. You’ll be given a compression band, to wear day and night until six weeks after surgery. This stops swelling and fluid accumulation.


If necessary, drains (thin tubes) are placed after surgery to drain the wound fluid. If you go home with drains, they are usually removed within two days. You will receive a call from the assistant at MOOI Clinic. You can expect this call starting at noon. If you don’t receive a call, we may not be able to reach you, so please call the clinic. Until the drains are taken out, you should not shower! After the drains are removed, you may shower quickly.


During this phase, you’ll receive injections against thrombosis.

The first days after your tummy tuck

After surgery, you can usually go home the same day. We check that everything is fine with you and after our plastic surgeon’s approval, you may go home. In order to obtain the most MOOI result and speed up your recovery, we recommend the following: (Unless expressly stated otherwise by the plastic surgeon).


For the first few days, you cannot and will not walk completely upright. By walking slightly hunched over, you avoid putting too much stress on the healing wounds. Give your skin time to recover by maintaining bed rest for the first few days. You’ll find that after a few days you can walk more and more upright.


One thing you should not do immediately after surgery is get behind the wheel yourself. So make sure there is someone with you who can drive you home safely. Moreover, your belly will feel sore and tense, so you’ll prefer to move as little as possible. You should not drive a car for two weeks after surgery.


The first few days after your tummy tuck you should take it easy, with real bed rest for the first two days. This applies to anyone who has had this surgery (major or minor). This means resting a lot and not doing (heavy) household chores such as laundry, vacuuming, etc. Is there someone who can cook delicious meals for you, help you get dressed and undressed or occasionally get up for you? After surgery, you may have trouble getting up so it’ll be nice to have someone help you. Note! Resting does not mean lying in bed all day. Resting too much and too long is not good for your body either. Stretch your legs occasionally, even if it is just a short walk from the toilet to the couch. Stick to short distances indoors.


If you do not have drains, you may shower again 24 hours after surgery if you feel the need. If you do have drains, then you should wait to shower for a while. It’s best to wait two days before showering again. Of course, you can freshen up your body with some warm water and a washcloth. However, you should not bathe for the first 6 weeks!


If you feel lousy or your body is very painful, you may always take paracetamol and any additional painkillers prescribed by the doctor.


Definitely don’t! Smoking adversely affects blood flow to the tissues, which is precisely what is important for proper recovery. We therefore recommend that you stop smoking weeks before and after treatment. It is also better not to smoke after treatment. This accelerates the aging process.


Do not consume alcohol in the first week after treatment because of the risk of post-treatment bleeding.


It probably won’t occur to you so soon after surgery, but for the first six weeks after your tummy tuck, you absolutely must not sleep on your stomach. Belly sleepers need to take a break. It’s best to sleep on your back with an extra pillow supporting your back so you lie a little more upright.

Two weeks after your tummy tuck

After about 10 to 14 days you’ll feel a little better! However, your body is still recovering. In some patients, tightening the abdomen may still be painful. Swelling and fluid accumulation are also still common. You come to MOOI clinic for a check-up.


Two weeks after the treatment, you will come for a check-up at MOOI Clinic. Sutures are cut loose and new suture patches are applied. Scars may be red for the first few months but the redness will fade more and more. Do not expose the scars to bright sunlight as this can cause permanent discoloration. Hematomas rarely occur. The assistant will give you instructions on aftercare and/or massaging the scars.

Two weeks after your tummy tuck, you’ll be allowed to do a little more again, but by no means can you return to everything! Always consult with the plastic surgeon.


  • Driving
  • Depending on your occupation, you may begin working again (sedentary)
  • Walking and gentle movements
  • If your recovery goes well, you may fly again after 2 weeks


  • Sports, including swimming
  • Heavy lifting or physically strenuous work
  • Tanning, sauna or tanning bed

Six weeks after your tummy tuck

After six weeks, you’re usually well recovered from the surgery. The swelling has gone down considerably, but some swelling here and there due to fluid accumulation is normal. You may also still feel a numb spot on your abdomen; that will go away in the coming weeks. Your scars are healed but still red. This too is normal and part of the normal way of wound healing. Most people can fully resume their normal lives after 6 weeks. You get to bathe, use a sauna and sleep the way you want again.


sports after tummy tuck

Exercise is good for your body and after all those weeks of not exercising, maybe it’s time to do something about your fitness again. Fortunately, after 6 weeks, you can return to sports. Fitness, swimming, cycling, running, if it feels good and you experience no pain is allowed. However, some patients are not yet allowed to do abdominal exercises. When in doubt, consult with your doctor before you begin exercising.

You might find it interesting to read Evelyn’s experience story about her tummy tuck!

Final check-up and result

After about 3 months, you’ll come for a final check-up at MOOI clinic. The timeframes listed for recovery are averages and can vary greatly from person to person. You achieve the final result sometime between 4 and 6 months after surgery. The skin becomes less tight, bumps diminish, scars become smoother. As for scars, they may take longer to become less visible. Scars begin to turn from red to purple sometime between 6 and 12 months, eventually turning pale and becoming almost invisible.

Do you have any doubts about your situation, as to whether or not you should be allowed to do something? Then contact us!

Have you been thinking about a tummy tuck for a long time?

Finding your own body MOOI again and feeling beautiful is what the MOOI clinic is all about. We will be happy to tell you what your options are and what steps you can take.