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How soon can I have sex after a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery can improve the look and contour of your abdomen and increase your body confidence- but you need to allow the wound to heal before having sex. How long should you wait to have sex after a tummy tuck?

What is a tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is also known as an abdominoplasty. A tummy tuck is a surgery used to remove loose, sagging and overhanging abdominal skin and tighten and smooth your tummy. 

When can I have sex after a tummy tuck?

We advise waiting at least 3 weeks. The reason for this is to minimise the swelling and risk of developing a haematoma or seroma post-operatively. Wounds generally are healed by two weeks but the overall strength of a wound does not reach its maximum until 4 – 6 weeks. After this time it will be less of a risk and probably more comfortable for you.

After tummy tuck surgery, it can take a little time to heal and recover. If you’re planning surgery and worried about how long to wait before having sex, your cosmetic surgeon can provide individual guidance on optimising your rehabilitation. 

The Bella Vou team will be able to give you individual advice depending on the way your wounds are healing.

What happens if I have sex too soon after a tummy tuck?

If you have sex too soon after a tummy tuck, you risk damaging the delicate and fragile wounds. 

To help with healing, it’s vital to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down for three weeks after your operation. It’s also important not to stretch the incision site, exert yourself or lift anything heavy. 

Amir Nakhdjevani, consultant cosmetic surgeon at Bella Vou, said:

‘We’re not telling you these things to punish you, make you uncomfortable or to ruin your love-life! The guidelines are there to protect you and your health and ensure the best healing and finest scar possible.’

The exertion and movement of sex risk straining the wound. Early sex could cause complications, including stretched scars, wound breakdown, haematoma and fluid collections (seroma) developing under the skin.

Sex after a tummy tuck

Most women can return to sex three to four weeks after tummy tuck surgery. However, it’s natural to feel a little nervous the first time you have sex after abdominoplasty. You can make things easier if you:

  • Don’t have sex until you feel comfortable
  • If possible, have intercourse with a partner you know and trust 
  • Talk to your partner about your surgery and make sure they are gentle, and take things slowly 
  • Consider your position during sex to reduce stress and trauma to your wound

Tummy tuck risks

There are risks with any surgery. In general, the risks of tummy tuck surgery are low, particularly when a skilled and experienced surgeon performs the procedure. The team at Bella Vou will work to minimise the risks of the surgery and provide detailed advice on aftercare and recovery. 

The complications of a tummy tuck include:

  • Wound infection
  • Bruising, haematoma and bleeding from the wound
  • Seroma- fluid collection under the skin
  • Scarring and scar contraction
  • Dissatisfaction with the appearance of your abdomen after surgery

What to expect after a tummy tuck

It’s normal to experience pain, swelling, bruising and reduced mobility for a couple of weeks after your operation. It takes between four to six weeks to recover and for your tummy to feel more normal again. However, it may be six months before you can appreciate the final cosmetic result.

Your tummy tuck recovery will depend on your general health, the extent of your surgery and whether you have any complications following your procedure. At Bella Vou, many patients feel ready to return to work around two weeks after surgery. Between four and six weeks, you can gradually reintroduce exercise, increasing activity as you rebuild your fitness and strength.

Tummy tuck recovery timeline

In general, your recovery timeline could be:

  • Day 1: You will stay in hospital overnight; the Bella Vou team will give you support and painkillers, they will also help you into your compression garments which will to reduce pain and swelling. You will be given two compression garments which you will wear for the first 6 weeks of your recovery.
  • Days 2-6: You will notice pain, swelling and numbness, which will gradually reduce. Rest as much as you can, with your feet raised. For the first two days, keep arm movement to a minimum. Don’t use your arms to support your body or lift anything heavy.
  • Shower daily to keep the area clean. You can gently move around your home to prevent blood clots, gradually increasing distances as the pain decreases 
  • Day 7: You will have a wound clinic appointment at Bella Vou to check healing and address any questions or worries. Your stitches will naturally dissolve and don’t need removal. You will have a manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage to help soften the tummy, reduce swelling and make the recovery process more manageable. The specialist will teach you to massage your abdomen regularly.
  • Week 2: You may be able to move more and will attend your second manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) at Bella Vou.
  • By the end of the second week, you may be able to start driving again if you feel you could safely manage an emergency stop.
  • Week 3: Swelling and pain should be reduced, allowing you to move more and do gentle exercise. If you have a non-physical job, you can get back to work, but you should avoid strenuous exercise and lifting for at least four weeks.
  • Week 4-6: Most swelling and bruising should have settled. However, some swelling may remain for as long as six months; At 4 weeks you will attend Bella Vou for your third and final manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD); Most people can gradually increase exercise and routine activities from four weeks, although it may take up to six weeks if you’ve had a more complicated recovery.
  • Week 6: Your tummy should feel softer and more natural. The scars will start to fade but can remain pink for up to 6-12 months. You will have a follow-up appointment at the wound clinic at Bella Vou to check your progress; at this point you can discontinue wearing your compression garments.

Tummy tuck aftercare tips

  • Rest and recover: In the first week, you will be tired, and your tummy will be swollen and tender. Rest with your feet raised as much as you can in the first week, take regular pain relief, wear compression stockings, and move regularly to prevent deep vein thrombosis. 
  • Reduce swelling: Apply cold compresses 6 – 8 times a day, for no longer than 10 minutes, for the first five days. They help reduce swelling and bruising.
  • Compression garment: Bella Vou will give you two compression garments (one to wear while the other is in the wash); you should wear this day and night for at least six weeks after surgery to reduce pain and swelling; just remove it for short times to shower or wash.
  • Keep clean: Shower daily to keep the area clean- but avoid baths and swimming pools for at least two weeks. 
  • You will have micropore tape on the scar. After showering, gently dab it dry or blow with a cool hairdryer. Change the tape weekly, and keep it on for three months to prevent wound stretching or friction.
  • Sleep easy: Sleep with one or two extra pillows for the first two weeks to reduce swelling. Pop a pillow under your knees to reduce strain on your tummy muscles.
  • Avoid constipation: Stay hydrated, eat lots of fibre and take prune juice if you’re becoming constipated.
  • Cough carefully: If you need to cough or sneeze, hold a cushion or pillow over your tummy to reduce pain and stress on your wound.

For more information, please read our guide on top tips for tummy tuck recovery.

Book a tummy tuck consultation

The cosmetic surgeons at Bella Vou are skilled, experienced and highly qualified. They have developed a new abdominoplasty in which they sculpt a new tummy, shaping the contour and emphasising curves. The innovative procedure creates a contoured profile, which looks more natural and attractive than the flat, boxy results from traditional tummy tucks.

Tummy tuck surgery can transform the texture and contour of your abdomen and improve your confidence. If you want advice and guidance about surgery to flatten and smooth your tummy, book a free consultation at Bella Vou

For more information, please read our article on the medical benefits of tummy tuck surgery.

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