What is the recovery like?
Plastic drains are usually placed under the skin at the time of surgery to draw off fluid produced as a byproduct of surgery. They are removed a week later. Stitches dissolve and do not require removal. An abdominal binder is worn for two weeks starting a week after surgery.
Abdominal liposuction by itself is not very painful. Tenderness and stiffness lasts for a few days. Recovery is near complete by one week and return to work is often possible sooner. Exercise may begin after two weeks.
Modified abdominoplasty and complete abdominoplasty are significantly more painful due primarily to the muscle tightening component. Nevertheless, ambulation is strongly encouraged on the day of surgery. Resumption of most normal activities including work and childcare is possible by two weeks although there is typically lingering fatigue at this point. Complete recovery takes about six weeks.
Flying and driving are not recommended for two weeks. Walking outdoors can begin after a few days, as tolerated. Mild cardiovascular exercise without impact such as a stationary bike can begin gradually at three to four weeks. More intense exercise can resume at six weeks but activities such as jogging, weightlifting, ball sports, yoga, pilates, skiing, and horseback riding should be delayed for two months.