What to Expect during Tummy Tuck Recovery
To help ensure you experience optimal results from your tummy tuck procedure, our team will provide detailed instructions before surgery. In addition, Dr. Kenneth Smart will support you throughout your recovery and monitor your progress with multiple post-operative check-ups. To learn more about the stages of tummy tuck recovery, contact our Frisco, TX, practice and schedule a consultation today.
Preparing for Your Recovery
Prior to the procedure, you will need to prepare for a potentially long recovery. Rest and extensive downtime are essential to proper healing, and we usually recommend that you assemble various supplies beforehand. These can include:
- Ice packs
- Loose and comfortable clothing
- Healthy and convenient food
- Medication (over-the-counter or prescribed)
- Creams or ointments to minimize scarring
- Handheld shower head and bathroom chair
We may also advise that you begin a regular exercise routine before the procedure, if you are not already doing so. While you cannot continue this regimen immediately after surgery, many patients have found that exercise prior to surgery can speed recovery.
Immediately after Surgery
Following the procedure, you may experience pain, swelling, fatigue, and general soreness. To help minimize post-surgery discomfort, our surgery center features the On-Q® PainBuster®, which provides a continuous flow of anesthesia. A family member or friend will need to drive you home after you are discharged from our surgery center or the hospital. You should also arrange for someone to stay with you to help prepare food, perform household tasks, and change bandages for at least the first night after surgery.
In the days following your surgery, you will need to get sufficient rest and change your bandages several times each day. Dr. Smart may place drainage tubes under the skin to prevent fluid build-up, but they will typically be removed one week after the surgery. We usually instruct patients to avoid showering for the first two to three days, though individual cases may vary. During this time, you should have gentle sponge baths, taking particular caution around the incision sites. Even when showers are permitted, you should avoid excessive force on these areas. Baths, hot tubs, and swimming pools are prohibited until the incisions are completely healed.
During the weeks and months following your tummy tuck procedure, there are some general guidelines to follow. You should plan to rest extensively for the first two weeks after your surgery, though some patients may require up to six weeks. Unless your job involves physical activity, most patients can return to work within 10 to 15 days after the procedure. You will need to wear an abdominal binder for about three weeks following surgery to help support your muscles as well as enhance contouring.
Any activities that could place strain on your abdominal muscles — such as sit-ups or crunches — should be avoided for about three months. While moderate walking can help aid your recovery, Dr. Smart will typically recommend six weeks of rest before resuming your regular exercise regimens. Incision sites will inevitably scar, but Dr. Smart will select inconspicuous locations low on the waistline or bikini line. While the scars heal, they may briefly become more noticeable before fading. Recovery can be aided by applying ointments and avoiding direct sun exposure.
Minimizing Risks of Complications
A good portion of your recovery will focus on preventing complications. As with any body contouring surgery, tummy tucks come with some amount of risk, including infection, blood clots, and poor wound healing. Dr. Smart possesses extensive training and experience, which helps to minimize risks, but you play a significant role, as well. Be sure to let us know if you have a history of poor circulation, diabetes, heart, lung, or liver disease so that Dr. Smart can take these factors into consideration.
Smoking or using tobacco products of any kind can slow recovery, so patients should abstain from smoking for at least two weeks before and after surgery, at the very least. Tobacco products affect oxygen levels throughout the body and significantly depress immune function, greatly increasing the potential for complications such as infection.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Smart and learn more about the tummy tuck recovery process, contact our practice today.