A full tummy tuck is usually performed under general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes a cut across the lower abdomen just above your pubic bone and pubic hair. This incision may go from hip to hip, but it is usually placed so that it will be hidden by the undergarments. Then, excess skin and fat is separated and removed. A cut is made around the belly button to loosen the skin and detach it from the belly button; which is then properly repositioned.
In a full abdominoplasty, the abdominal muscles are tightened. The skin above the belly button is pulled down toward the pubis and stitched into position as the cuts are closed. A new hole is made in the skin to bring the belly button out.
If required one or two plastic tubes called drains are placed under the skin to allow fluids to drain from the site for a few days. The drains are removed by the third post-operative day.
You are usually able to walk the very next day after abdominoplasty surgery and you will be encouraged to do so. You should take a short walk three or four times a day for a few minutes each time. You will most likely not be able to stand completely straight and you may be a bit hunched over for few days. The skin of your abdomen may feel tight. You may be instructed to remain bent over a bit for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery.
If drains have been inserted, they are usually removed 3 to 4 days after tummy tuck surgery. You should take it easy for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Take it easy, but walk a bit every few hours every day. You will be told to wear an abdominal pressure garment for several weeks after your surgery to hold everything in place while you heal. This is a girdle or a band that fits around your abdomen and holds everything in place during healing.
Some swelling and bruising are normal, but the amount varies from person to person.