Your Ultimate Guide to Your Tummy Tuck Recovery
Posted November 26, 2020 in Tummy Tuck
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Once you have decided on a tummy tuck, you are likely going to be anxious to hit the town in a form-fitting dress or the beach in that itsy bitsy bikini you’ve been eyeing in the back of your closet.
The good news is that you’ll get there, and those curve-hugging outfits are well within your grasp. The bad news is that it will not happen overnight.
Plastic surgery recovery (of any kind) takes time, and tummy tuck surgery is on the longer side of that spectrum. Tummy tuck surgery is invasive. Incisions are made through the skin, fat, and muscle. Abdominal muscles are physically tightened and repositioned, and skin and fat are trimmed and sutured.
It’s not a simple process—but it is an effective one.
And while we cannot sit here and claim that your tummy tuck will be a breeze, we can assure you that it will not be as bad as your thinking, and, in little time, it will all be a thing of the past.
What Will Happen the Night of My Tummy Tuck?
In nearly all cases, tummy tuck surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning no overnight hospital stay. Now, even though you can go home shortly after the operation, you cannot drive yourself home, nor do you want to plan to go out to a nice dinner.
Your first night at home should be spent in the same manner as if you stayed in a hospital: by resting!
Adequate rest is your number one ally during your recovery process, and this is never truer than during this first night. You do not want to do anything strenuous (meaning anything that requires too much energy or places any strain on the fresh incisions).
Since you were required to have someone drive you home after your surgery, you should consider asking this person to stay with you for the first night (at least). This person can help you get to where you need to go (to the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen), help with routine activities (like changing), and monitor your drains (if used).
You will not be able to shower the night of your tummy tuck. Patients are required to keep their incisions dry for a couple of days.
What Will Happen During the First One to Two Weeks of My Tummy Tuck Recovery?
With each day, you will start to feel stronger and more capable of carrying out your regular day-to-day activities. The important thing is not to rush this process. You will likely feel more healed than you actually are internally, so don’t push yourself too hard.
You will be asked to take at least one to two weeks off work (even for desk-style jobs). This is so you can focus on your healing.
These days should be filled with a few things:
- Adequate rest
- Moderate stretching (best accomplished with leisurely walks around your house)
- Plenty of fluids (meaning water or caffeine-free teas—avoid overly sugary drinks, soda, and alcohol)
- A healthy diet
During this time, you should wear loose-fitting, easy-to-remove clothing. Tops that button in the front are ideal since you will not have to reach over your head and stretch your core.
Tummy tuck surgery will likely result in some pain and discomfort, and you will be given prescription pain medication to alleviate this (although some patients choose to rely on over-the-counter medication like TYLENOL®).
While you can prepare for some of the instigators of this discomfort (such as stretching or moving too much), you may not be aware of other factors. During the initial days of your recovery, try your hardest not to cough, sneeze, or laugh. Any woman who has had a C-section will understand why this is. Whenever you cough, sneeze, or laugh, your core muscles tighten. Unfortunately, after a tummy tuck, those muscles are raw and bruised, and they are not going to enjoy a sudden contraction.
If you feel one of these coming on, take a pillow and hug it tightly to your abdomen—it can help minimize some of the pressure and pain.
Fortunately, while this may be uncomfortable now, it will go away, and one day—in the not-too-distant future—you’ll be laughing at it.
If your tummy tuck requires the use of drains, they will usually be removed after five to seven days.
What Will Happen After the Initial Two Weeks of My Tummy Tuck Recovery?
For most tummy tuck patients, life can start to return to normal after two weeks. Even though you can start to add more activities into your routine, you want to do so slowly, and you want to continue wearing your compression garment.
It is possible to return to work (although if your job is strenuous, you may want to reconsider), and you should be clear to drive (you just need to make sure you can easily twist your body to see in every direction around you).
Even though you can resume a fairly regular routine, you will want to avoid exercise for at least six weeks. Abdominal-heavy exercises (like sit-ups) should be avoided for even longer.