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Tummy Tuck Preparation List & Recovery

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Tummy tuck recovery is always at the top of conversations lately.  I am so glad I shared about my experience and today I am sharing more on my recovery and a printable tummy tuck preparation list for those considering surgery!

Recovery & Tummy Tuck Preparation List

Recovery After Tummy Tuck

I cannot believe that I am approaching 2 months post tummy tuck this week.  I have been really making sure that I am allowing my body the time to really recover.  This is easily the longest recovery I have ever had and I remember at 5 weeks, still dealing with the exhaustion and need to sleep more often than not.  My recovery time is pretty average.  Recovery after tummy tuck

My husband took this picture of me about 5 days into recovery.  This was me, where I lived, how I got around and what life looked like.  No shame folks, that was some major surgery for some major results.  You can see that I lived in a recliner, supported by pillows.  I had a walker to move around when I needed to use the restroom or get up to move.  I kept a table next to me so I could easily access prescriptions, snacks and anything else I needed. Recovery wasn’t easy, but the items that I had to help made it bearable.

Must Have Tummy Tuck Recovery Items

You can see my bedside table included water, some crackers and a few other items.  I was actually very prepared for this surgery as I had a few friends that had done this same surgery with my same doctors.  I thought I would share my must have tummy tuck recovery items with you in case you are prepping for this surgery too!  I am NOT a doctor, so please understand that these are only my recommendations from personal experience and that this is not medical advice.

On my Table

I know these are not the greatest photos, but rest assured, I will link them so you can easily click and order.  My bedside table was super helpful for me to get through the recovery, especially in the first week.  On my table you could find arnica tablets, protein drinks, pineapple juice, scar gel, saltine crackers  and acetaminophen.

side table items for tummy tuck

Arnica tablets and the pineapple juice are suppose to help with swelling, and I will say that I personally had very minimal swelling.  The protein drinks were great to have as I wasn’t super hungry but protein is important for your body especially while healing from surgery.  Obviously acetaminophen was recommended by the doctor to help with pain and inflammation and the scar gel went on after the steri strips came off.

Help & Support

I had 24 hour care for the first week of recovery.  I did not take care of my children, my husband, mother and aunt were taking care of all of that.  I literally slept, took my meds, ate a few things and slept some more.  It was critical that I had a care team and my husband was incredible through this.

Help and supportive husband

He made sure that even on the days he had to work, that our kids were with my mom or aunt and that a friend or family member was by my side to help me move around, take my meds and overall make sure I was ok.  You will need help, plan for it now…then plan back ups.

A Walker

It is important that you get up and walk around after surgery.  The doctors recommend it and you will need to use the restroom at some point.  I actually had timers set on my phone to make sure that I was moving around every 2-3 hours and at least taking a lap around our main floor, nice and slow.

Recovery after tummy tuck

I borrowed this walker and was SO glad that I had that on hand to help me get around.  It was truly necessary and I am not sure how I would have been able to do it without this.  It also allowed me to be more independent which was really nice.  It is hard to stand up straight and well, stand up at all, so having something to support yourself with is really critical in my opinion.

Comfy Clothing

I am the queen of comfy clothing and believe me you will want to be really comfortable and in clothing that is easy to move around in.  Going home from surgery the nurse helps you dress.  I had a tube top babydoll type dress that I wore for the first couple days.  The nurse said it was perfect because they just slipped it over my head and we were off.

Tummy Tuck Clothing

I also purchased this nightgown that I loved.  It was easy to use the restroom in, it was soft and lightweight and totally the perfect item to lounge in.  Once I was able to comfortably wear leggings, I was in my trusty LuLaRoe’s because the waistband is not binding and they are super soft.

Shower Chair

Depending on your doctor’s orders your shower time will vary.  For me, my doctor said that within 48 hours I could take a shower.  Standing though was a NOPE.  I was too tired, to unstable, not able to stand straight, you name it.  Having a shower chair was critical to making sure that I could still get clean but also be safe.

Shower Chair

I did borrow this one and it worked just fine.  I don’t necessarily think that I would need a backrest as it is difficult to sit up straight anyway, but you might want to consider one.  Either way, make sure what you get is lightweight, easy to move in and out of the space and has handles for you to hold onto.  Bonus, get a removable shower head too.  That was super nice to help rinse my hair.


Not all surgeons require a binder, however, mine did and I was to stay in this little thing for 6 weeks.  It was not pleasant, in hindsight I wish I would have gotten 3 of them so that I could rotate them and not overstretch them.  However, if your surgeon requires one, check with them to see what they want.  I had this simple panel binder which I could easily wear under clothing and adjust as needed.

Tummy Tuck Binder

I did like it because it was easy to remove and I didn’t have to get fully undressed to use the restroom.  This one is also inexpensive and was easy to adjust as the tiny bit of swelling I did have would go down.

Travel Pillow

I kept two of these travel pillows in my car and they were awesome to have.  I took them with me when I went to surgery as it was recommended to have something soft to keep around the incision while in a car and help keep you more stationary.

Travel Pillow

I used them constantly while driving and felt like they really helped me feel more comfortable.  Now, as far as safety is concerned, I cannot vouch for that.  I only drove very limited distances (usually under 3 miles) and I was super cautious while driving as well.

Tummy Tuck Preparation List

I figured it might be easier to have a checklist for those of you preparing for this major surgery.  I included a few items on here that did not necessarily apply to me because of the type of tummy tuck I had.  I had a drainless extended tummy tuck for those wondering.  Make sure to click this link to access the printable tummy tuck preparation list.

Tummy tuck preparation list

Current Tummy Tuck Results

I know everyone wants to see what things look like as my recovery continues.  This picture was taken about a week ago (7 weeks post op).  You can see that my incision is completely closed but that I have some peeling happening.  That is normal and I just make sure to put on some scar gel or bio oil to keep it moisturized.

drainless tummy tuck incision

I do tend to swell up as the day goes on, so you can see on my hip that there is a little swelling.  The doctor said that will go away over time.  In the mornings I am completely flat and hourglass shaped and usually by the evenings, depending on what I did for the day and what I ate, my belly will have some swelling.

Tummy Tuck Results 8 week post

and no…I did not get my boobs done. Those are just them, now without a tummy. Its weird to me too.

Overall though, I feel amazing.  My back pain is pretty much non-existent.  I do need to do some physical therapy to strengthen my core up after I am healed and to really start to retrain my body to use those muscles instead of the back muscles I was using, but the exhaustion, the incision pain, the general soreness and all is gone.

I hope you grab my tummy tuck preparation list and that you have enjoyed reading about my experience.

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Tuesday 23rd of August 2022

I just had my tummy tuck 3 days ago and followed your must have list. Bravo! this was a great list. One thing I would add is a grabber stick. makes it easier to grab out of reach items without twisting. Thanks for the help.


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Hi Tina! I apologize for the delay, this didnt come through my email so I missed the notification! I am so glad the list was helpful. I never thought of the grabber stick but fantastic idea! thank you for sharing!


Friday 17th of June 2022

Yours was one of the only real accounts of a tummy tuck surgery I could find and I am forever grateful! It gave me more confidence in my decision and helped me prepare so much. The toilet riser and walker I think should be lent out to every patient who gets the procedure. Cannot fathom how tough it would be without it. I’m 5 days post op, still very much recovering. But revisited your page for some comfort and found exactly that. Thanks so much for sharing!!


Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

I am so happy this helped! I still have like 8 posts sitting in drafts that I need to finish working on and publish because I know they would help others!

Beth Wilhelm

Tuesday 17th of May 2022

I just had my arms and stomach done on may 11th.. I got drains and the belly band, they are starting to annoy me, I can’t wait for the drains to come out..


Wednesday 18th of May 2022

I hear the drains are awful. The belly band is definitely not the most comfortable, but it works well. I sometimes still put mine on when I am feeling like I need a bit more support.


Saturday 22nd of January 2022

Your checklist saved my life. More than anything, your suggestion to get a walker to assist with getting around the house, was genius! I went in for my 24 hour follow up and my surgeon was impressed. I told him he should consider suggesting one to each of his tummy tuck patients. It's saved so much stress and strain on my lower back that I couldn't imagine not having it. Also, the elevated toilet seat is a gamer changer as well. Thanks so much for your help. You're amazing!


Monday 24th of January 2022

that makes my heart happy! So glad!


Friday 14th of January 2022

Thank you posting about your experience!! I am getting a bit nervous as I go in March 2022. 2 months outs. I will be alone which I am sad about, but I will have a nurse with me for 3 days, the day of surgery and 2 days after. Thank you also for the printable list! I am definitely going to print it and use it as a guide!


Friday 14th of January 2022

You are welcome! Good Luck and enjoy the flat side!

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