Summary: If you’re planning for tummy tuck surgery, you’re in good company. Each year, hundreds of thousands of men and women have tummy tucks to improve their abdominal appearance. Whether you have excess abdominal skin from pregnancy or weight loss or you have a protruding stomach as the result of weakened ab muscles, a tummy tuck can address these concerns for a toned, taut midsection.

A smooth tummy tuck recovery is integral to your overall results. During your tummy tuck procedure, it’s your plastic surgeon who’s in charge of the situation, sculpting your abdomen for a rejuvenated look. But you’re in charge of your recovery, and there are a number of things you can do to ensure a smooth one.

1. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Focus on a diet that’s vitamin-rich and packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only will these vital ingredients support your healing process, they’ll also help to promote regular bowel movements. The combined effect of the anesthesia and prescription pain medication may bind you up, and a diet that’s high in fiber can go a long way in keeping you both comfortable and regular.

2. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

Just as a healthy diet is important for your healing, drinking plenty of water also aids your recovery. Water helps to flush the system, and can be especially important if you had liposuction with your tummy tuck. If you’re experiencing constipation even with a healthy diet and good hydration, it may be a good idea to use stool softener.

3. Enlist Help around the House

In the first week following your tummy tuck, you’ll need help with household chores and childcare. Initially, you’ll be a bit sore and stiff, so basic things like cooking and cleaning may not be possible for you. And if you have young children, you won’t be able to pick them up for several days to several weeks after your procedure. Before your tummy tuck, line up some help for your recovery so you don’t end up doing something that could compromise your results.

4. Stay on Schedule with Your Pain Medication

Your plastic surgeon will likely prescribe you pain medication to help you manage the initial side effects of your tummy tuck. It’s important to take your medication according to schedule. If you try to wean yourself off too soon, you may end up in unnecessary discomfort.

5. Keep on Moving

Your plastic surgeon will let you know how soon you can resume exercise, and that will be weeks down the road. In the mean time, even light movement like a gentle walk around the house or the block can keep your blood flowing and your spirits lifted during your tummy tuck recovery.

6. Stock Up on Entertainment

Don’t be fooled by the cute name: a tummy tuck is still serious surgery. And afterwards, you’re going to need some time to chill, to allow both your body and your mind the space it needs to begin recovery. Consider having a stack of your favorite magazines or movies on standby so that you can pass the time and enjoy yourself.

7. Be Patient with Your Healing Process

Good things really do come to those who wait, and never is this truer than when being patient with your tummy tuck results. It’s understandable for you to be excited or even anxious to enjoy your improved abdomen and its sleek new contours, and your patience will certainly pay off. If you find yourself getting restless with your recovery or you have concerns about your results, you can always check in with your plastic surgeon.