Role of Nutrition and Exercise Post-Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)

The period following surgery is crucial for proper healing, maintaining surgical results, and improving overall health. Nutrition and exercise are vital components of this recovery process after abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) as they support tissue healing, prevent complications, aid recovery, and promote long-term well-being.

This article explores the importance of nutrition and exercise in post-abdominoplasty care, offering advice and tips to help individuals effectively navigate their recovery and achieve lasting benefits.

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Pre-Operative Role of Exercise and Nutrition Before Abdominoplasty Surgery

Before getting abdominoplasty surgery, it is essential to concentrate on exercise and a proper tummy tuck diet, as it can significantly affect the procedure’s results and improve the healing process. This period before the surgery is essential for readying the body, improving general health, and minimising any possible complications.  

Muscle Strengthening

Before undergoing abdominoplasty surgery, it is essential to participate in specific exercises that focus on strengthening the core muscles. Having strong abdominal muscles not only provides better support for the surgical area but also aids in a quicker recovery process.

Findings by NCBI establish that “…aerobic and muscular strength training in major surgical patients has been shown to increase endurance, improve objective markers of physical fitness, reduce weight gain, and improve muscle strength.”

Weight Management

It is essential to maintain a healthy weight before getting abdominoplasty for various reasons:

  • Lowered Surgical Risks: Being at a healthy weight decreases the chances of complications during surgery, like excessive bleeding, slow wound healing, and infections.
  • Better Aesthetic Results: Extra weight can affect the outcome of abdominoplasty by causing excess skin or unsatisfactory contouring.
  • Quicker Recovery: Maintaining a healthy weight supports overall health, promoting a more efficient and speedy recovery after surgery.

To manage weight effectively before surgery, it is essential to maintain a balanced diet by consuming nutrient-rich foods like lean protein, raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-calorie snacks is also essential.

Patients should incorporate regular exercise into their routine, such as cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and flexibility exercises, to support weight management and improve overall fitness. More importantly, individuals should consult with healthcare professionals such as general surgeons or nutritionists to discuss weight management goals and develop a personalised plan for success.

Health benefits of fresh fruits and whole grains

Health benefits of fresh fruits and whole grains


Proper nutrition is essential as it prepares the body for abdominoplasty surgery and promotes optimal healing. Important nutritional factors to consider include:

  • Getting enough protein: Protein is crucial for tissue repair and recovery, so patients should make sure they are consuming adequate amounts from sources like poultry, fish, legumes, low-fat dairy, and tofu. According to Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “pretreatment protein supplementation is a simple intervention that can significantly decrease wound healing complications in post-bariatric surgery massive weight loss patients undergoing abdominoplasty.”
  • Taking vitamins and mineral supplements: Healthcare providers may suggest supplements to address deficiencies and support a patient’s overall health. *NOTE: always check with your surgeon first beginning a vitamin regimen as some supplements are not permissible before surgery. 
  • Eating a balanced diet: Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in meals to get essential nutrients and promote overall health. It is important to work towards healthy habits.
  • Avoiding crash diets: Steer clear of extreme or crash diets before surgery, as they can negatively affect your nutritional status and recovery outcomes.

Download our infographic: “15 Exercises to get the Best Body After a Tummy Tuck”

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Post-Operative Role of Exercise and Nutrition Following Abdominoplasty

Following abdominoplasty surgery, the focus shifts to post-operative care, including exercise and nutrition, which are crucial for optimal healing, recovery, and long-term results. Here is an in-depth look at the post-operative role of exercise and nutrition after abdominoplasty surgery:

Exercise Following Tummy Tuck Surgery

It is essential to slowly ease back into an exercise regimen with guidance from healthcare professionals, focusing on gentle core-strengthening exercises and avoiding strenuous activities. Patients should follow their surgeon’s advice, pay attention to their bodies, and adjust the intensity of their workouts as needed to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

While all patients’ recovery processes vary, there are some general guidelines for post-abdominoplasty exercises aimed at aiding healing.

Early Mobilisation

After undergoing abdominoplasty, it is vital to have a well-planned strategy for movement to avoid complications, enhance blood flow, and aid in the healing process. Engaging in activities early in the process, such as light walking, performing exercises that promote flexibility, and using correct posture are essential elements of mobilisation. These practices help promote a successful recovery and reduce stress on the surgical site.

Starting gentle movements under the surgeon’s guidance can prevent issues like blood clots, improve circulation, and aid healing.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises help increase lung capacity, enhance oxygen levels, and support respiratory health during recovery.

Gradually resume regular exercise routine at a slow pace to facilitate healing and  maintain optimal results

Gradually resume regular exercise routine at a slow pace to facilitate healing and maintain optimal results

Pelvic Tilts

These exercises engage core muscles, improve stability, and gradually strengthen the abdominal area. You can combine this exercise with sit ups.

Leg Raises

Controlled leg raises build leg muscle strength and promote circulation to reduce the risks of blood clots.

Kegel Exercises

Targeting pelvic floor muscles can improve bladder control and core stability after surgery.

Upper Body Stretching

Gentle stretches maintain flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall mobility.

Light Cardiovascular Exercises

Low-impact activities like walking or stationary cycling boost cardiovascular health without straining the surgical site. 

Avoid Heavy Lifting and High-impact Activities

It is vital to avoid strenuous activities like heavy lifting or high-impact exercises in the initial recovery phase to prevent complications and facilitate proper healing.

Pro Tip: Always consult your surgeon before starting any exercise regimen after a tummy tuck abdominoplasty surgery. They can provide personalised recommendations based on your specific surgical procedure and individual healing progress. In addition, it’s essential to listen to your body and proceed with caution, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of exercises.

Promote healing by avoiding significant weight fluctuations

Promote healing by avoiding significant weight fluctuations

Nutrition Following Abdominoplasty Surgery

Proper nutrition is crucial for the healing process after tummy tuck surgery. The body requires specific nutrients to repair tissues, decrease inflammation, and facilitate overall recovery. Avoiding processed foods, sugary snacks, and proper foods high in saturated fats may help reduce inflammation and aid recovery.

Eating balanced meals throughout the day helps maintain consistent energy levels and promotes the body’s healing mechanisms. Seeking advice from healthcare professionals like registered dietitians can assist in creating personalised nutrition.

A clinical study by NCBI states, “…the prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalised patients is almost 40%-60%. It has been seen that increased risk for healthcare-associated infections is associated with the poor nutritional status of the patients. Nutritional screening identifies patients at nutritional risk and will benefit from further nutritional assessment and intervention.”

After undergoing abdominoplasty, patients must follow a balanced and nutritious diet to support their recovery and overall health.

According to a study by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, “…although the optimal nutrient intake to promote wound healing is unknown, it is clear that proteins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, arginine, glutamine, iron, zinc, and selenium can have significant beneficial effects on wound healing and optimisation of the immune system.”

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Nutritional Guidelines for Post-Abdominoplasty Patients

Stay Hydrated

Essential for cell function, detoxification, and overall health, staying adequately hydrated is extremely important during the recovery period following an abdominoplasty, as it supports healing and overall health. Though drinking eight to ten glasses of water each day is generally recommended, the amount of water needed daily varies depending on age, gender, activity level, climate, and health status. 

Stay hydrated throughout your recovery journey during physical activity

Stay hydrated throughout your recovery journey during physical activity

Focus on Protein

Adequate protein consumption is significant as proteins are essential for tissue repair. Including sources of lean meats, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and plant-based proteins in the diet can support ongoing tissue healing.

Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables

Eat various colourful fruits and vegetables for essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. These nutrients help support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote good health.

easily digestible foods

Choose Healthy Fats

Opt for healthy fats from foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish such as salmon. Healthy fats are good for heart health, provide lasting energy, and help with nutrient absorption.

Include Whole Grains

Add whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and oats to meals. Whole grains offer complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals vital for energy and digestion.

Limit Processed Foods and Added Sugar

Cut back on processed foods, sugary snacks, desserts, and drinks with added sugars. These items can lead to inflammation, weight gain, and slower healing.

Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day

Have balanced meals at regular intervals to maintain steady energy levels, aid digestion, and prevent overeating. Each meal should include protein shakes, lots of veggies, and a source of healthy fats. However, it is important to avoid consuming excess fat products and adopt healthy eating habits.

Follow Your Surgeon’s Guidelines

Stick to the dietary advice given by the surgeon or healthcare team. Patients should follow specific instructions about what to eat or avoid to maximise their recovery process.

Consider Supplements

support recovery with supplements

Support recovery with supplements

Most healthcare providers recommend supplements like vitamin D, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, or multivitamins to compensate for any nutritional deficiencies and support overall health.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to signals your body gives you, such as hunger pangs, energy levels, discomfort, etc. Adjust your diet accordingly and seek medical advice if needed.

Patience and Consistency

Patience and consistency are also essential factors during the recovery period after abdominoplasty surgery. Patients must realise that healing takes time and cannot be rushed. Adherence to postoperative nutrition and exercise guidelines is vital for a successful recovery.

Pay attention to how your body feels, avoid pushing yourself too hard, and rest when necessary. By being patient and sticking to the recommended protocols, individuals can assist their bodies in healing properly, reduce potential complications, and attain lasting results from abdominoplasty surgery.

Dr Beldholm seeing patient

Dr Beldholm seeing patient

Consultation with Healthcare Professionals

Seeking advice from medical experts such as surgeons, dietitians, and physical therapists is crucial for receiving individualised support, regular monitoring, and specific treatments to aid rehabilitation. Patients are advised to keep in touch and attend follow-up visits for complete post-surgery care.


Proper nutrition and exercise are essential for a successful recovery after abdominoplasty. Following a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and adhering to prescribed workout routines can speed healing, reduce complications, and improve long-term outcomes. Patients should focus on their health and commit to a comprehensive recovery plan for a smoother healing process. For tailored, professional advice, book an appointment with Dr. Bernard Beldholm today. With offices conveniently located on Belmore Road in Lorn NSW, Dr. Beldholm and his team will guide you from the consultation to recovery and beyond.

Download our infographic: “15 Exercises to get the Best Body After a Tummy Tuck”

Click Here


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