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What to expect

Body surgery can be a life-changing investment, and following your surgeon’s guidance afterwards is essential to achieving the best possible return. At PERK Plastic Surgery, we strive for a seamless and stress-free process–from the initial consultation and continued throughout the post-op care period. Our clients are seen regularly for post-surgery appointments to ensure optimal healing and keep the care in our hands, rather than the patients’. Each client will receive their own set of clear instructions to follow, covering the following information:

What will I look like?

  • The body retains fluids in response to surgery, so you may not notice an immediate change in contour for a few weeks and the final contour typically is not achieved until months post-op
  • Abdominal surgery can result in swelling and bruising that can last for months
  • Bruising may travel down the body
  • A tummy tuck incision will be covered with a skin glue dressing (dermabond) which will peel off by itself over the following weeks
  • Small incisions from a liposuction cannula (puncture holes) may drain
  • Dark discoloration from dry blood can be apparent at the incisions, which may have a “ruffled” appearance initially but will flatten with time
  • Belly button incisions may develop a yellow crust of dried fluid, which we will help you clean
  • You may have surgical drains

What will my body feel like?

  • The surgery area will feel tight, sore and bruised
  • Sensations such as numbness, sharpness and burning are expected
  • Following a tummy tuck, it may be difficult to stand up straight for up to a few weeks and therefore, assistance walking, standing and showering will be necessary

How much pain will I have?

Any major pain or discomfort is expected to subside within 1-2 weeks post-surgery. Tummy tuck patients can experience back pain due to the inability to stand straight initially. Patients should take the prescribed pain medicine as instructed and as they feel more comfortable, your need for medication will diminish.

General care & activity

When can I take a shower or bath?

Please sponge-bathe until you are seen by Dr. Lee for your initial follow up appointment and (when applicable) drain removal, then you may shower keeping the following in mind:

  • Avoid using very hot water
  • Do not rub the incisions or let the water hit the area directly; instead, face your back to the water stream and allow it to gently flow over the incisions
  • Wash gently and pat dry with a clean towel
  • Soaking in a tub is not permitted until at least two weeks post-surgery
  • You can shower with your drains still in place, but do NOT let the drains dangle–a drain lanyard can be purchased, or you may hook them to a string tied around the neck

What can I do?

While resting is an essential aspect of recovery, it is vital to walk early and frequently. Move your legs and ankles when in bed, keeping them elevated for the first 2-3 days. Please do not cross your legs, as this can increase the risk of blood clots. Avoid strenuous activity (specifically, an elevated heart rate) for at least 4-6 weeks post-op–this includes heavy lifting, exercise and anything stress-inducing. After 6 weeks, most patients are cleared of all restrictions.

Tummy tuck patients should note the following:

  • Sleeping in a recliner for the first few days after surgery can be more comfortable
  • Place a few pillows underneath the knees and sleep with your back slightly elevated
  • Bend at the waist
  • Walk for 15-20 minutes six times per day, but with assistance for the first few days

How long should I wear the abdominal binder or compression garment?

Compression is essential after abdominal contouring surgery. Compression foam is in place with the surgical garments until your initial post-op appointment. After that, the garment should continue to be worn 24/7 for at least 1 week–removing only for showers. During weeks 2-6, compression should be worn at night or as much as possible (the longer the better!). We will advise you of recommended garment options in addition to what’s provided by our office.

When will I be seen after surgery?

You will be seen in the office within one week of your surgery. If any concerns arise, we’ll ask that you come in sooner. We will continue to meet regularly throughout the year following your operation.

Should I apply anything to the incisions?

It is not necessary nor helpful to apply anything to the incisions while the Dermabond glue is still in place. Once all incisions have healed, we will guide you on how to optimize and improve the scar’s appearance–including PERKPotions medical grade scar gel, microneedling, PRP, or more.

When can I drive?

It is required that a responsible adult drives you home and cares for you during the first 24 hours post-surgery. Once you are no longer taking prescription pain meds and you can safely move around, you may drive yourself–typically 1-2 weeks after surgery. Do not drive when taking pain medication other than Tylenol.

When can I return to work?

Depending on the nature of your job and required physical activity, you should be able to get back to work as soon as you are comfortable. While it can be helpful to give yourself 1-2 weeks away, many patients return to desk work within the week after surgery. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting are not permitted until 4-6 weeks post-op.

Can I drink?

Do not drink alcohol while taking narcotic pain medication after your surgery. It is best to wait 1-2 weeks post-surgery.

What should I eat?

A light diet is best for the day of surgery. Begin by taking liquids slowly and progress to soups or jello from there. You may return to a regular diet the following day. We encourage a high protein, low-salt diet.

Some strategies to reduce gas and bloating include:

  • Eat and drink slowly
  • Limit spicy foods
  • Chew thoroughly
  • Cut down on carbonated drinks
  • Avoid sugar-free gums and sugar-free candies that contain sorbitol or xylitol

Surgical Shopping List


Tummy Tuck




This refers to blood collecting in the surgical area. This is most likely to occur within a few days of surgery. Warning signs include:

  • Significant increase in swelling
  • Pain that does NOT respond to medication
  • Excessive or noticeably increasing bruising


Infection is rare following body surgery. It is normal to have minimal drainage from your incisions for 1-2 days.
Signs of infection can include the following:

  • Increased temperature
  • Increasing drainage from the incisions
  • Increasing redness around the incisions

Leg swelling

Swollen legs, with or without associated pain, may indicate a problem with the circulation in your legs. Contact the office immediately if you experience significant swelling (either one or both legs) or pain in the legs.

Mild, painless and even (uniform) swelling is considered normal, such as:

  • Swelling due to your surgery, or in the area operated on
  • Swelling from the intravenous fluids given to you during the surgery
  • Swelling due to your decreased level of activity

Breathing problems

Experiencing trouble breathing after surgery is rare but can indicate a severe complication. If you develop any chest and/or back pain, or feel short of breath, you must contact the office or be seen in the nearest emergency medical facility without delay.

Medication reactions

Stop taking your medication and contact the office if the following occurs:

  • A skin rash
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Post-Surgery Instructions & Videos

Body Post-Surgery Instructions | PERK Plastic Surgery

Drain Care Video

Body Post-Surgery Instructions | PERK Plastic Surgery

Liposuction Post-Op Video

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Dr 90210 TV Show

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