When planning for a tummy tuck, it is easy to get caught up imagining all the fun you will have with a flatter, smoother stomach. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is a medical procedure that requires some special care after the operation. Here are a few things every patient should know about recovering from a tummy tuck procedure.
[Also Read: Exercise For Slim Waist And Flat Tummy]
The Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
Immediately after the surgery, your recovery will begin. Most patients spend an hour or two recovering from the anesthesia at their surgeon’s office. Once you go home, you will need to take it very easy for the first few days. About one to three days after the surgery, you will normally have a follow up appointment with your surgeon to ensure that everything is healing. Most patients get their surgical drains removed after five to seven days of recovery. Stitches will not be ready for removal until about a week afterwards.
Most people feel well enough to go back to work within seven to ten days of their procedure. Roughly four weeks after the surgery, most patients are recovered enough to begin light workouts again. Bruising and swelling will typically fade within four to six weeks, but it may take up to six months for your final shape to be revealed beneath the swelling. Recovery may be even quicker if you have a mini tummy tuck that requires less drastic changes than a full abdominoplasty. Each case is different though, so you will need to talk to your surgeon before returning to normal activities.
Taking Care of Your Incision
The most important part of tummy tuck recovery is simply taking care of your incision site. You will need to keep it clean and properly bandaged to avoid any infection that could make your recovery more difficult. You will typically need to keep dressings on and avoid showering for a day or two after surgery. Until your drains are removed, you will need to empty them and record drainage amount about three times each day. All of this special care might sound intimidating, but do not worry. During your immediate recovery and follow up appointments, your surgeon and their staff will help you to deal with incision care.
Making Sure You Get the Best Results
During recovery, you will need to take some steps to ensure that you get the best possible results. Your doctor will provide you with a compression garment that wraps around your stomach and helps to hold everything in the proper place as it heals. This helps to speed up healing and reduce swelling. You normally just need to wear your medical binder for about two weeks, and then you can switch to wearing Spanks or any other type of compression garment.
Of course a scar from a tummy tuck is easy enough to hide with bikini bottoms or low waisted pants, but many patients still want to minimize scarring as much as possible. You can do this by following the advice of your doctor and taking proper care of the incision. Gently massage pure vitamin E oil into your scar once a day and always apply sunscreen when it will be exposed to UV rays. This will ensure that your scar stays as light as possible.
Be Prepared to Take It Easy
Though it is technically possible to recover quickly and get back to work in just a week or two, many patients find that it is better to prepare for two or three weeks of down time. For the first few days, you may want to make sure you have a friend or family member stay with you to help you out. In the next couple of weeks, you will want to spend plenty of time relaxing and avoiding strenuous activity. Get plenty of books, games, movies, and television shows so you can keep yourself from getting bored while you recover. However, you do not need to just lay in bed all day. Taking gentle walks and moving around will not be too taxing in the days after your surgery.
Ways to Speed Up Your Recovery
There are also a few actions you can take to help your body heal as effectively as possible. To prevent blood clot formation and boost circulation, you should try to walk around several times a day if possible. Your doctor will most likely ask you to avoid using nicotine products for several months before or after your surgery. This is important because nicotine impairs circulation and makes it difficult for your body to heal. Get plenty of water and eat a lot of nutritious food. This will ensure that your body has everything it needs to heal your stomach. Follow all of your doctors advice, such as completing a full course of antibiotics, to prevent infections and boost your recovery process.
Dr. Donald Roland is board-certified plastic surgeon in NYC. Dr. Roland has been performing tummy tuck operations for over 20 years. To learn more about how a tummy tuck procedure works, you may call Dr. Roland’s office at (212) 744-9400.