If you are self-conscious about excess skin and fat on your stomach, you may be considering a form of cosmetic surgery known as a tummy tuck. Also known as abdominoplasty, a tummy tuck is a very popular procedure that is most often requested by patients after they have experienced pregnancy and childbirth or after they have lost a great deal of weight. This is because both of these often result in sagging, loose skin that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. Abdominoplasty can also tighten the underlying abdominal muscles to further improve the appearance of your stomach area. However, it is important to note that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss tool, but an effective way to enhance your appearance once you reach a weight that you are happy with.
From the outset, you will be made aware that a tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure. As such, you will need to ensure that you allow yourself sufficient time to heal and recover if you are to prevent complications and achieve the best possible cosmetic outcome from our procedure.
Here is what you need to know about what to expect from our tummy tuck recovery including how long you can expect it to take before you can get back to normal.
Immediately after your surgery
Once you come around from the general anesthetic after your surgery, you will find that your abdomen is covered in bandages and dressings. You may also have some small, thin tubes placed under the skin around the abdomen that will drain any excess blood or fluid that may collect. These will usually stay in place for up to 24 hours, and you will hopefully be able to go home the day after your procedure provided our surgical team is pleased with your initial recovery response.
Caring for your wounds
One of the most important aspects of your recovery will be making sure that you take proper care of your incisions so that they don’t become infected. While you are in the hospital or our medical facility, you will receive help with this. However, you will be given specific instructions for keeping the incisions clean once you return home. This will include how to change the dressings on them and how to clean the surgical sites.
Bruising, swelling and even numbness in your tummy is to be expected, but these usually dissipate within a few weeks. Nevertheless, it isn’t unusual to have some numbness in your abdomen for up to two years.
Taking pain medication
You can expect to be in some discomfort in the days and potentially the first few weeks after your tummy tuck surgery. This is completely normal, although every patient has a slightly different response to pain and while one patient might experience significant discomfort that requires fairly strong pain relief, others will be able to manage with over the counter analgesic.
It is important that you take any pain medication as prescribed and don’t wait until you reach a point where the pain becomes severe. Studies have shown that being in pain actually slows down the healing process, as well as making life pretty miserable for the patient!
Getting back to your usual activities
Unsurprisingly, it will take a reasonable amount of time before you can return to your usual activities. Here is what you need to know about your recovery timeline.
- You can usually go home within 24-48 hours of a tummy tuck procedure.
- You will need to take it easy for a few weeks. This means lots of bed rest, although you should still make sure you are moving around regularly to prevent bed sores and blood clots from forming.
- You can expect to need to take between four and six weeks off of work and will need to avoid physical activity during this time.
- You won’t be able to drive for several weeks and should speak to your surgeon and your insurance company to check exactly when you will be able to get back behind the wheel.
- It can take up to eight weeks to see the complete result of your tummy tuck procedure.
If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure, or if you would like to schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for this surgery, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our team is ready and waiting to assist you.