Summary: One of the best ways you can prepare for your tummy tuck and ensure that you get the most out of the procedure is by knowing what to expect during your recovery. Make sure that you enlist help for things like childcare, laundry, grocery shopping and other daily needs so that you can allow yourself to sit back, relax and recover. Follow these five tips after your tummy tuck to enjoy a smooth and efficient healing process, as well as excellent results.

1. Schedule Enough Time Off

There’s no room for superheroes when it comes to your healing process after a surgical procedure. It’s best to plan for extra time off than not scheduling enough and risking your safety or the quality of your tummy tuck results. Depending on how physically demanding your job is, you may be able to return to light work within 2 weeks post-op, but you’ll still need to avoid heavy lifting during the first stage of healing.

2. Focus on Yourself for the First 2 Weeks

Even if you think you’re feeling up to doing housework, checking emails or even working from home, don’t. Give yourself these 2 weeks to focus on yourself and care for your body. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat when you feel hungry, and don’t overexert yourself. Rushing your recovery following abdominoplasty can actually prolong your healing process and could lead to complications. Don’t be afraid to simply kick up your feet and accept help from others during this time.

3. Eat Well to Heal Well

Keep in mind that your body needs adequate nutrition in order to heal properly and efficiently. This isn’t the time to be focused on counting calories. Instead, make sure you’re fueling your body with protein-rich foods like eggs, beans and yogurt, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s important that you don’t try to lose weight during your tummy tuck recovery. Some post-op swelling is to be expected, so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see your final results right away. It could take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for your new contours to fully take shape.

4. Don’t Expect to Jump Right Back into the Gym

Everyone’s going to heal at a different rate, so there’s no cut-and-dried timeline to follow as to when you can return to certain exercises. But generally speaking, most people need to wait at least 4 weeks before beginning to reintroduce their bodies to exercise. Just be sure to start out slowly, gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts as your body allows. It’s also a good idea to keep an open line of communication with your plastic surgeon to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

5. Work with the Right Plastic Surgeon

Although this is something that you’ll want to research prior to your procedure, choosing the right plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck can make a huge difference when it comes to the quality of your results and your recovery period. Work only with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience performing abdominoplasty procedures. Then, schedule an initial consultation and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have about the procedure itself or the recovery you can expect afterward. Your plastic surgeon should be one of your most valuable and knowledgeable resources throughout the entire process.