Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline

By: Dr. Nicholas K. Howland


A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is among the top five performed each year in the U.S. It’s a great option for men and women who want to restore their abdomen after pregnancy or weight fluctuations. Understanding what will happen during your recovery following a tummy tuck is important. Keeping up to date on the timeline of your surgery journey will help you check off milestones along the way to a full recovery after your procedure at Howland Plastic Surgery in Draper, UT.

How Long is Tummy Tuck Recovery?

There are several factors that will determine the length of your tummy tuck recovery. Firstly, there are different types of tummy tucks, meaning the recovery period will be different if you choose a mini tummy tuck over a traditional tummy tuck. That’s because a mini tummy tuck focusing on a small area will have a shorter recovery time than a more extensive procedure. The variables regarding your tummy recovery include:

  • Age
  • Health conditions
  • Post-surgical care

Dr. Howland will give you a better estimate of what you can expect from your recovery so you can plan your schedule accordingly.

Your Recovery Timeline

You’ll be given detailed aftercare instructions by our team to follow after your surgery. These instructions will lay out incision care, drain management, medication instructions, follow-up appointments, complication symptoms, and more.


Dr. Howland is a board-certified plastic surgeon and will take every step to ensure your procedure goes smoothly and successfully. At the end of your surgery, your abdomen will be dressed and drainage tubes placed to limit the buildup of fluid. You can return home after a brief monitoring period, and it’s normal to feel groggy and tired at this time. Once you feel able to, make sure to eat some bland, easily digestible foods and do some light walking around the house to prevent blood clots.


The first few days of recovery at home can be taxing and require some help from your friends and family. Make sure you have somebody to stay with you who can help with child and pet care as well as tasks around the house like laundry, cleaning, and cooking. You’ll be unable to lift heavy objects and will need to avoid strenuous activity for the first few weeks.


Your incisions will remain dressed for period of a time specified by Dr. Howland. Our team will teach you how to maintain your dressings during your recovery. You’ll also be given medications like painkillers and antibiotics to prevent complications, and it’s important to take these according to instructions. Our team will also show you how to monitor and manage any drains in between appointments.


Alcohol consumption and smoking limit your ability to heal successfully. Make sure to avoid these before and after your surgery for best results. Additionally, following Dr. Howland’s instructions as closely as possible is the best way to make sure your recovery is fast and effective.

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about your tummy tuck recovery is by meeting with a board-certified plastic surgeon. To get started, contact Howland Plastic Surgery by calling or filling out our online contact form.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.