How Long Do I Need to Sleep Elevated After a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tucks are a safe and proven way to achieve a tighter, slimmer abdomen. By removing excess skin and tightening the abdominal muscles, this transformative procedure significantly improves muscle tone and one’s overall figure.

Just like all major surgeries, tummy tucks require a recovery period to allow your body to heal properly. As your surgeon is going to remove a considerable amount of tissue, it’s critical to follow each post-op step to the letter. During this recovery, everyday things like how you stand, sit, and (most importantly) sleep, will all play significant roles in ensuring a safe and speedy recovery. With that said, the vast majority of our patients say that the tummy tuck’s many advantages are well worth these considerations!

We’ve found that many of our patients ask more in-depth questions on sleeping after a tummy tuck, so here are just a few tips to consider as you plan your operation. View our tummy tuck gallery to see before and after photos.

Sleep After Tummy Tuck

Sleep is one of the most critical ingredients for a safe recovery. During this regenerative period, your body needs sleep to repair and complete what your surgeon’s started––a trimmer, natural-looking midsection. It’s not just “how much” you sleep either, but how you sleep also has a profound effect on the quality and rate of recovery.

Sleeping in certain positions can compromise results and heighten your risk of discomfort. There are two recommended ways to sleep post-op. First, consider modifying your bed. By creating a raised section of the bed for your head and torso with pillows, you’ll be able to maintain a slightly bent posture during the night. Many patients choose this option for ease and simplicity, as all you need are a few pillows or a quality foam wedge.

Sleeping on a bed does increase the likelihood that you may change positions at night and inadvertently compromise the optimum healing position, though. Pillows can also move unexpectedly or fall from the bed, which may put your sutures at risk.

The other option is to sleep on a recliner. Recliners provide support and help maintain your body in a bent position. Armrests also inhibit you from turning over in your sleep. If you’re looking to invest in a recliner for recovery, look for a model that can raise both your head and feet, creating a V-shape that’s quite comfortable for sleeping. On the downside, recliners can be expensive and may not be an option for some patients.

When Can I Lay Flat?

At the Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery, every tummy tuck is a one-of-a-kind procedure that’s custom-built to achieve your goals and harmonize with your natural anatomy. As such, every patient’s recovery looks a little bit different. How long you’ll need to sleep with your head elevated depends on the type of tummy tuck you have performed.

“Miniature tummy tucks,” in which the incision doesn’t run hip to hip, usually require between one and three weeks. Full tummy tucks, however, generally take around four weeks, with exercise and strenuous activities limited for six weeks.

If you have any questions about when’s the right time to transition to sleeping flat, be sure to call our office. We’ll provide the clearest advice based on your operation and medical history.

Practice Sleeping on Your Back

Finally, if you typically sleep on your side or front, try practicing sleeping on your back for a few weeks before your tummy tuck. This will help your body adjust gradually to sleeping in a new way, and ensure you get the rest you need post-op. The better rested you are, the quicker you’ll be fully recovered.

At The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery, we’ll provide you with all the tools and information necessary for surgery, well before your surgery date. If you’d like to learn more about our team or have any other questions about tummy tucks, the recovery process, or any of our other offerings, feel free to reach out to our Baltimore, MD office. To get in touch and schedule a consultation, please give us a call at 410-744-0900 or contact us online today.