Is It Safe to Lay Flat After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

By: Dr. Angelo Cuzalina


So, you have just undergone a tummy tuck surgery and are wondering if it’s okay to lay flat? After a tummy tuck surgery, it is generally safe to lie flat after at least a full week of recovery. Normally, right after surgery, you should sleep with your upper body slightly elevated (flexed forward) at approximately a 30-45 degree angle to help ease pain tightness, discomfort and to limit tension on the incision. Limiting pulling or traction on your fresh tummy tuck incision early in recovery not only helps decrease some soreness, but may also help prevent wound formation as well as a widened scar.  Of course, it is important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon, as individual recovery can vary.  Dr. Cuzalina typically recommends sleeping with 2 pillows behind you and one behind your knees to take pressure off your incision or sleeping in a recliner for the first week after surgery.  Walking the very next day is strongly encouraged;however, Dr. Cuzalina does recommend bending forward slightly at the waist while walking the first 2 days following your full tummy tuck. 

If you are interested in undergoing tummy tuck surgery, you probably have many questions about the procedure. Schedule a consultation with cosmetic surgeon Dr. Angelo Cuzalina at Tulsa Surgical Arts in Tulsa, OK. He will meet with you to listen to your goals and then sit down with you to discuss what you can expect.

What to expect from a tummy tuck

During a tummy tuck procedure, excess skin and fat are removed, and the abdominal muscles are tightened. Dr. Cuzalina also repositions the navel during a classic 'full' abdominoplasty which is used to tighten loose skin that is above and below the belly button.  After surgery, patients typically experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort. It is important to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for a few weeks to allow for proper healing.  Dr. Cuzalina uses a long acting 'numbing' medicine injected while you are asleep that produces up to 3 days of anesthesia along the muscle and incision line to dramatically improve your early comfort following a tummy tuck.

When it comes to sleeping positions, you may have to sleep with your upper body elevated for one week after surgery to reduce discomfort and healing problems. However, after the initial recovery period of one week, it is generally safe to sleep flat or on your side in most cases.  It is important to avoid sleeping on your stomach for a few weeks after surgery to avoid putting pressure on the incision site.

It is always best to follow Dr. Cuzalina’s post-operative instructions closely to ensure a safe and smooth recovery. If you have any concerns or questions about your recovery, be sure to speak with your surgeon.

Surgical procedures and recovery

Tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) is classically performed using general anesthesia and uses customized incision techniques to suit each patient's needs. Dr. Cuzalina carefully determines the incision size based on the amount of excess skin. Patients with significant skin laxity may require a full or extended tummy tuck, with an incision running from hip to hip, while those with minimal lower skin laxity only may benefit from a mini tummy tuck with a smaller scar. In the majority of cases, additional body contouring via liposuction is included.  Dr. Cuzalina will discuss limitations and the amount of surgery that can be performed safely at one time.  

After the surgery, you will be closely monitored before being sent home in a compression garment to help reduce swelling. Dr. Cuzalina also offers a courtesy overnight guest suite for his tummy tuck patients for convenience.  We strongly encourage all our tummy tuck and liposuction patients to have post operative professional lymphatic massages beginning the day after surgery and at least once per week after that.  We have two wonderful lymphatic massage therapist on staff that will help make your post operative course much easier and your edema / swelling improve more rapidly.

In most situations, you can resume fairly normal routines after about two weeks, and workouts can be resumed after around six weeks, with clearance from Dr. Cuzalina. While the abdomen may feel sore and tight during recovery, you can expect to look and feel normal once you have recovered.

Schedule a tummy tuck consultation in Tulsa, OK

If you are interested in undergoing a tummy tuck surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Angelo Cuzalina at Tulsa Surgical Arts in Tulsa, OK. He will carry out a full examination to determine if a tummy tuck is the right choice to help meet your goals. Dr. Cuzalina will also discuss what you can expect before, during, and after the surgery. Contact us today to learn more.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.