Medically reviewed by Dr. John Rosdeutscher – Written by Sine Thieme
As one of the more complex cosmetic surgery procedures, a mommy makeover may require a fairly long recovery period. You can expect to have to give up exercise for two to six weeks, depending on type and scope of your procedure(s) – though you likely will be able to return to regular daily activities within a week.
One Single or Multiple Procedures?
Patients can have a mommy makeover wrapped into a single procedure, or it might be split up into its components, i.e. breast augmentation/lift/reduction first, and tummy tuck 1-2 months later. It may seem intuitive to want to have it done all at once so that you only have to worry about one recovery, but that may not be an option. Plastic surgeons typically want to spend no longer than about 4 hours on a patient in surgery. A tummy tuck alone could take that long, making it impossible to add on a breast procedure as well, especially a more complex one like a breast lift. In such cases, you may end up needing two surgery dates with two separate recoveries.
On the other hand, two separate recoveries may be easier to handle than one single recovery affecting so many parts of your body. Even though you may spend a longer combined time recovering from your separate mommy makeover surgeries, it may be easier on your body.
How Long Is the Recovery After a Mommy Makeover?
Very broadly, your mommy makeover recovery will last between two and six weeks. Most surgeons will clear their patients at the 6 week mark to allow the resumption of strenuous activity and exercise. More specifically, the following factors will determine how fast you recover from a mommy makeover:
- Your general health and immune system
- Rate of healing, which can differ from person to person
- How active you are post-surgery
- Type of anesthesia given
- Type of mommy makeover
Regarding smoking, your surgeon will have had you disclose your prior smoking habits and informed you what to expect. Smokers can expect a more difficult recovery than non-smokers.
The biggest factor influencing your recovery will be which procedures were a part of your mommy makeover. For instance, simple liposuction and body tightening to contract your stomach non-surgically takes just 1-2 days of recovery, vs at least a week for tummy tucks and 4-6 weeks abstaining from exercise.
How well you can restrict your post-surgery activity will help you recover faster. If you have young children, be sure to enlist help for at least the first week to avoid frequent or heavy lifting. As always, make sure you follow all post-op instructions your plastic surgeon gives you. Recovering from a mommy makeover will take some time, but you will be very excited to see your results!
Is Mommy Makeover Recovery Painful?
If a tummy tuck is part of your mommy makeover vs less-invasive fat removal options, then you should expect a longer and possibly more painful recovery period. This shouldn’t scare you away from a tummy tuck, but it’s good to know what to expect. A tummy tuck yields great immediate results, but you pay for them with a more uncomfortable and longer recovery than most other procedures. It is generally harder to avoid using our abdominal muscles, meaning the discomfort of the healing process is felt more acutely.
You will manage your recovery more easily if you plan the first 7-10 days after your mommy makeover ahead of time. If you have small children who you might be tempted to lift up, enlist help from family or friends. Even though you won’t be bedridden (it’s actually encouraged that you move around) it is important that you avoid any strenuous movements or heavy lifting.
Your Mommy Makeover Recovery Step by Step
Immediately after the surgery
For a tummy tuck, your surgeon will have applied sutures and bandages. He or she may also place a drain for fluids – if so you will receive instructions. You will also receive a compression garment (also called a binder) with instructions to wear it around the clock, only to be removed to take showers as instructed. This helps reduce swelling and prevent blood clots. Different surgeons may have different policies on compression garments. At NuBody Concepts, we advise two weeks of binder usage after tummy tuck surgery. It is important to comply with your surgeon instructions or best healing outcomes and results.
For breast surgeries, your surgeon will also have applied sutures and bandages. And you will be given a surgical bra to wear in the same fashion as the above compression garment. The typical period here too is two weeks post-op. It is important not to go bra-less during this period. In addition, you should not wear any underwire bras for an even longer period, typically 6 weeks. To be safe, wearing the surgical bra for six weeks will ensure best outcomes.
After your surgery, you will need to be driven home by a friend or family member, and you should have someone at home at least for the first day for observation. This will ensure your safety while the sedation is still in your system.
1st week of mommy makeover recovery
It is important that you follow your post-op instructions given by your plastic surgeon, especially with regards to showering and changing bandages as necessary. You should wear your compression binder and/or surgical bra at all times, except when showering.
The first week of mommy makeover recovery is likely to be fairly uncomfortable. You may experience soreness, bruising and swelling for 1-2 weeks post-op. Make sure you follow the medication regimen prescribed by your surgeon to keep discomfort to a minimum. Don’t do anything that might increase your heart rate above resting, however do move around regularly to avoid blood clots and other complications.
Tummy tuck patients should refrain from standing or walking completely upright for the first 1-2 days. Only when you no longer feel discomfort when straightening up should you do so. As always make sure you stay well hydrated. For both tummy tucks and breast surgery there is no need to ice the wound. If you want to apply ice regardless, ask your surgeon how long you should wait before doing so. We recommend waiting 72 hours before applying any ice to sutured wounds.
2nd week of recovery from mommy makeover
Whether you had tummy or breast surgery or both, you should continue to avoid any strenuous activities until at least the end of your second week. At this time, you should feel much better. Any bruising or swelling you might have experienced should recede by your second week, even if it won’t have disappeared altogether. Continue waking – anything that’s not strenuous.
By the second week of recovery from a mommy makeover, many patients are able to return to work – except of course if your work constitutes strenuous activity like heavy lifting or pushing.
It is also important to attend any follow-up appointments your doctor has scheduled – either after a week or two weeks, or both. At this time any stitches you may have received would be taken out.
3rd week of recovery
At the 3-4 weeks post-op mark, you should feel almost back to normal. If your surgeon allows it, you may begin a routine of light exercise by the third week. You should still avoid strenuous exercise like sit-ups or weight lifting for several more weeks. Your abdominal muscles will be the last ones to return back to normal.
At 3-4 weeks after surgery, you should also expect any pain or bruising to be gone. Swelling may come and to a little longer for some patients, but most likely it will have subsided after 4 weeks. Wearing Spanx or other shape ware to provide continued compression is always a good idea.
Make sure you specifically ask your surgeon about their compression garment policy. Each surgeon recommends a slightly different timeframe. At NuBody Concepts, we tell mommy makeover patients to continually wear their compression garments and surgical bras for 6 weeks after surgery. In truth, there is no one rule for it – but generally, the longer you wear it, the better.
After 6 weeks of mommy makeover recovery
“My experience with NuBody Concepts was incredible from start to finish. They were very informative and didn’t push me to get more than I needed. I felt comfortable from the second I walked In the door and each visit since has been the best. I got a modified tummy tuck with lipo with lower muscle repair. I was awake for the procedure and was comfortable the whole time. I am two weeks post surgery and my results far exceed my expectations. I have never been this happy with my body and I still have some swelling and ways to go for full recovery. If you’re thinking about any cosmetic procedure, start here!”Janae P – mommy makeover, April 26th 2021
Most mommy makeover are fully recovered by 6 weeks after their surgery. If not cleared before then, any exercise may safely be resumed.
At the 6-week mark you should also be able to see your best results, as by then all all swelling should be gone. You’re likely to see immediate results directly after surgery, but the swelling will keep them from being as good as they’re going to be later.
The scar will take longer to completely fade into the surrounding skin. You should be aware that the incision sites will be particularly sensitive to the sun for three months (this include tanning beds!). It is very important to avoid sun exposure on the incision, or to apply sunscreen very generously.
Questions About Mommy Makeover Recovery
We hope that we’ve answered all your questions about the recovery after mommy makeover surgery. Regardless of what you have read, here are questions we recommend you ask at the pre-op meeting with your mommy makeover surgeon:
- What should I arrange for transport home after surgery, as well as observation the first day?
- At which time intervals should I be seen for my follow-up appointments?
- How soon after surgery can I bathe or shower?
- Which medications will I be taking after surgery, and what are the dosages?
- Will I need to change any dressings/bandages after surgery? If so, how often?
- Will the surgeon place any drains? How long will they stay in place?
- When can I begin with light or moderate exercise?
- When can I resume strenuous exercise?