The tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. Like all cosmetic surgeries, it carries some risk of complications. You can avoid most of these complications by following your surgeon’s pre and post-operative instructions. How well you take care of yourself during your tummy tuck recovery can impact your results.
What You Need to Know About Tummy Tuck Recovery
If you are thinking about getting a tummy tuck, one of the things you need to consider is how the recovery will be. Every surgical procedure requires some downtime and a tummy tuck is no different.
The recovery depends on factors like your health, age and body weight. It will also depend on the type of tummy tuck procedure you have. You can either get a full tummy tuck, an extended tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck. The more extensive the procedure is, the more tummy tuck recovery time you will need.
It’s natural to want to go back to normal daily activities immediately after surgery. However, take time to allow your body to heal. Depending on the type of tummy tuck procedure, you may have to stay in the hospital for a few hours or overnight. Your recovery begins when you leave the hospital. Before going home, your plastic surgeon will give you aftercare instructions to follow.
When you leave the hospital, you will have drains placed at the surgical site, unless you have a drainless tummy tuck. Your doctor will show you how to take care of them and empty them. You will also have to wear a compression garment for a few weeks as you recover.
A compression garment helps speed up recovery. The recovery period after a mini tummy tuck is normally shorter. But, you will still need to avoid any strenuous physical activities for at least 6 weeks.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Week by Week
There is no single answer about how long a tummy tuck recovery takes. There is, however, a general timeline that most patients go through. Here is how your tummy tuck recovery week by week will look like:
Most of the time, you can go home the same day after an abdominoplasty. You will, however, still need someone to drive you home that day and help around the house for the first few days.
During those days, you will experience some discomfort, and there will be swelling, tightness and even bruising. A drain helps drain excess fluid from the incision site. You may need to have these drains on for a few days to a week.
At this time, ensure that you keep the bandages clean and change them as instructed by your doctor. You will also have a compression garment that you need to wear day and night during the first few weeks.
While you may want to have a bath after the surgery, don’t. Instead, take a light shower or sponge bath making sure not to disturb the incision. During the first week, avoid bending too much at the waist. Also, limit your activities like driving and exercising. You also need to avoid drinking and smoking as you continue to recover.
In the second week, you will still have swelling at the surgical site. The bruising, tightness and pain should have started fading. Massaging the area and using scar treatments can help improve healing but only if your doctor gives you the green light. You still need to wear your compression garment, and you can return to light desk work. However, don’t start exercising just yet but it’s okay to take short walks.
A compression garment may be worn for up to four weeks but at week three, you shouldn’t have to wear it day and night. You can also return to normal daily activities and light exercising. Avoid weight lifting, sit-ups, and other strenuous workouts, however. By the fourth week, bruising and swelling should have improved significantly so that you can already see the results settling in.
Generally, the tummy tuck recovery time takes about 6 to 8 weeks. You will still, however, need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. At 6 weeks, you should already be enjoying the results of your tummy tuck procedure.
Top Tips for A Successful Tummy Tuck Recovery
A tummy tuck is a safe procedure that helps eliminate excess skin and stubborn fat. If you are considering getting one, you need to talk to your surgeon. Talk to them about what to expect and what the recovery period will look like.
Here are a few things to do to ensure that your recovery is successful.
1. Stick To a Healthy Diet
One of the things that you need to think about is what you put in your body. Before and after your surgery, you need to maintain an ideal weight.
As such, avoid losing too much weight before the surgery. Instead, stick to your regular diet and exercise routine for healthy body weight.
It’s also vital that you eat foods that contain the right nutrients. Your doctor will suggest what you need to eat and what to avoid before and after your surgery.
2. Avoid Complications and Infections
Every surgery, even when performed by an experienced plastic surgeon, does carry some risk. One of the ways you can lower the risk is by following your surgeon’s pre-surgery instructions.
After the surgery, you need to decrease your exposure to germs and bacteria. Getting plenty of rest and following your surgeon’s specific aftercare instructions will reduce your risk of complications.
3. Ask For Help
After a tummy tuck, you will experience limited mobility and discomfort. It’s recommended that you have someone with you who can help around the house. During the first week, you will need assistance sitting down and even going to the bathroom. Having a person there who can help with your children and pets can make your recovery much smoother.
4. Manage Your Expectations
No surgery is easy or simple. Recovery takes time. It’s therefore vital that you manage your expectations during the healing stage. The last thing you want is to set back the recovery just because you were not patient. It’s also important that you make it to all your follow-up appointments to ensure that you’re healing well.
5. Get Moving but Not Too Much
After your tummy tuck surgery, you will be eager to start walking right away. While moving is the best way to reduce the risk of blood clotting and body stiffening, try not to overdo it. Short, daily walks, even around the house will help. Walking is good for circulation and can help speed up your recovery.
Before you go for an abdominoplasty, talk to your plastic surgeon. Explain your concerns and ask about how you can make your recovery easy. Your plastic surgeon is there to guide you on this journey. Truth be told, your tummy tuck recovery will be much easier if you already know what to expect.
Book a consultation today at the Harley Clinic.