Abdominoplasty Surgery

This information leaflet has been provided to help answer some questions you, your family and friends may have about what to expect after your abdominoplasty surgery.

What to expect after surgery

After surgery it is common to have some pain and discomfort around your tummy. This can be managed with regular pain relief.

It is common to have 1-2 drains, inserted under the skin in your tummy. This helps to remove body fluid or blood from building up under the skin. The length of time the drains remain in depends on the amount of fluid drained. Patients can go home with drains, if this is the case we will provide you with all the information before you leave the hospital.

A urinary catheter is sometimes inserted during the operation to help drain the urine from your bladder. We aim to remove this the day after the operation so you can resume toileting as normal.

Dressing care and Wound Infection

On return to the ward you will have a bulky dressing to your tummy. These will be changed to a light shower proof dressing before you go home.

It is important to look out for signs of a wound infection as this may cause you to become unwell and affect your recovery.

Signs and symptoms to look out for include any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Lack of energy
  • Pus near the wound site
  • Increased pain in the wound
  • Redness around the wound site
  • Swelling around the wound site
  • Warmer skin around the wound site
  • If you have any of the above signs or symptoms of infection please contact the hospital for advice.


During your pre-operative consultation you will be advised if you are required to wear either a light panty-girdle or lycra support for around 4-6 weeks after your operation. This helps to support your abdomen and avoid any fluid building up under the skin. Further advice about this will have been given to you by your surgeon before the operation.


Week 1-2

It is important to be mobile from day 1 and walk short distances in a flexed posture at your hips so that your abdominal muscles are protected from being pulled. Keeping mobile will also to help reduce the risk of developing a blood clot, most commonly in your leg. You will also be given stockings and it is important to wear these as instructed. You should not do any lifting of heavy objects for up to 6 weeks.

Your stamina will increase from week 2 and can return to work, if it is not physically demanding. Depending upon the job and the operation you may be recommended to take at least 4 weeks off work.

Week 3-4

Light exercise such as walking can be resumed. We would advise avoiding vigorous exercises or exercises targeted around the abdomen.

Week 6-8

Moderate exercise (running, swimming) can be commenced to help increase your stamina and strength.  We would recommend starting at low levels and monitor for any warning signs, such as pain.

Contact information

Plastics Dressing Clinic
Available Mon – Fri
8:30am- 5:30pm
Plastic Surgery Clinical Nurse Specialist
Available Mon- Fri
8am- 4pm

At all other times:


Appointments Line

If you need to change or cancel your appointments, please do one of the following:

  • Reply ‘change’ or ‘cancel’ to a text reminder about your appointment
  • Log in to DrDoctor (further information on the hospital website)
  • Or contact the hospitals appointments office 0203 315 6666
  • If you still have dressings in place please contact the plastic surgery nurses directly

Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS)

If you have concerns or wish to give feedback about services, your care or treatment, you can contact the PALS office on the Ground Floor of the hospital just behind the main reception.

Alternatively, you can send us your comments or suggestions on one of our comment cards, available at the PALS office, or on a feedback form on our website www.chelwest.nhs.uk/pals.

We value your opinion and invite you to provide us with feedback.

T: 020 3315 6727
E: chelwest.cwpals@nhs.net

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
369 Fulham Road
SW10 9NH
T: 020 3315 8000
W: www.chelwest.nhs.uk