Tummy Tuck Recovery: What To Expect
If you are considering going forward with a tummy tuck, you will naturally want to know ahead of time what the recovery will be like. The truth is: recovery is different for everyone. But, that said, there are still some things that will apply to everyone. Here’s what you should know.
The reason that recovery is different for everyone is due to several factors, including:
- Body Weight
These factors will determine how quickly you are able to recover completely from the tummy tuck. Habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, are likely to prolong your recovery time. Patients who heal slower due to health conditions will also have a longer recovery time. Ideally, you should be healthy before proceeding.
You will need to figure out a good time frame to plan your recovery. Typically, you should plan on taking 2 to 3 weeks off from work while you recover to give you adequate healing time. Remember that a tummy tuck is surgery and like other surgeries, you will need downtime to recover.
HERE ARE SOME ELEMENTS TO YOUR RECOVERY AND ITS TIMELINE:
- First 48 hours: You should have someone with you for the first couple of days after surgery. You will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment, but you also should have someone on hand to help you at home. You will have drains in for a few days after your tummy tuck and will be given instructions on how to properly care for them.
- Drains: Until your drains are removed, you cannot bathe or shower. Instead, you will need to take a sponge bath to prevent immersing the drains in water. After the drains have been removed, you will need to wait an additional 48 hours before being allowed to shower.
- Medications: Dr. Pirani will prescribe medicines that are appropriate for your recovery. Make sure that you take or use any prescribed medications exactly as indicated for your own safety and to help you recover properly.
- Nicotine: If you are a smoker or other type of nicotine user, you will need to wait at least 6 weeks before using nicotine again. Nicotine slows down healing, and will interfere with your results. It can also cause complications.
- Alcohol: If you are taking any kind of pain medication, you need to avoid all forms of alcohol. Medication and alcohol can interact, causing dangerous results.
- Binder: For about 6 weeks, you will be wearing an abdominal binder. The binder prevents fluids from building up in your abdomen as it heals.
- Activity: While you will be back on your feet in a couple of weeks, you need to avoid strenuous activity, including heavy lifting, for 6 weeks.
If you want to get the best results possible from your tummy tuck, you will want to follow these recommendations as well as anything else that Dr. Pirani prescribes.
There are some common side effects that you might experience following your tummy tuck. The pain should subside within the first few days following your surgery. Dr. Pirani will let you know what you should do for pain control in those first few days.
Swelling is another common side effect. Swelling can remain for up to 3 months following surgery as your tummy adjusts to its new shape. Wearing the abdominal binder will help reduce swelling, but it still might take a couple of months to see what your final results actually are.
You also might notice that your tummy feels like it is being pulled or stretched when you stand up. This is a normal sensation. Additionally, you might see some bruising or numbness in your tummy area, but both should subside in time.
The scar itself from the procedure will be red while it is healing, but eventually, it will fade. It is important to keep the scar out of direct sunlight, but if that cannot be avoided, wear adequate sunscreen to allow it to heal and fade.
You do not want to try to rush your recovery from a tummy tuck. In order to get the desired results, you need to allow yourself the ability to rest and take proper care of yourself.