After your abdominoplasty, you can expect your initial recovery period to last up to six weeks. The more prepared you are for your recovery period, the more successful it will be. When you return home following your tummy tuck procedure, you will have a dressing covering your incision as well as surgical drains under your skin.
Your doctor will provide you with detailed care instructions that will include:
- How to properly change your surgical dressings
- How to care for your surgical drains
- How and when you should be wearing your compression garment
- What medications to apply or take orally and when to manage pain and prevent infection
- What to look out for as signs for complications
- What activities you can and cannot engage in while recovering
- When to schedule your post-operative appointments
It is imperative that you follow your physician’s directives during your recovery from an abdominoplasty. You should also make sure to ask important recovery questions during your consultation appointment prior to your cosmetic procedure.
You should ask as many questions as possible to ensure you have a full understanding of what to expect during recovery.
Some questions to consider asking your plastic surgeon are:
- How long should I take off from work?
- How long will I need someone home to help me?
- When can I expect my stitches and drains to be removed?
- How and when can I bathe?
- How long will I wear the pressure garment?
- When can I return to everyday activities?
- When will I be able to exercise again?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
Include as many concerns as possible or questions you or your caregiver may have.
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Tips for a Faster Tummy Tuck Recovery
While everyone will experience recovering from a tummy tuck differently, there are some things you can do to help speed up the recovery process and to ensure a successful result from your abdominoplasty.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet Including Healing Foods
What you eat during your recovery period will have a direct impact on your body’s ability to heal. Protein-rich foods like salmon and chicken can keep your energy levels high and help aid your body in the healing process.
Adding healthy fats to your diet will help give your skin the nutrients it needs to recover and heal properly. In addition, you will want to add leafy green vegetable as well as pineapple and other fruits that are high in Vitamin-C. Be sure to eliminate any foods that can cause gas or bloating while you are recovering from your tummy tuck.
2. Focus on Hydration
One of the most important things you can do following an abdominoplasty is to make sure you are drinking a lot of water. Doctors recommend drinking eight 8 oz. glasses of water a day during recovery.
Water will help flush medications and toxins out of your system, reduce your risk of surgical complications, and aid in the reduction of swelling and fluid retention.
3. Get Plenty of Sleep in The Right Position
Getting plenty of rest is imperative to speeding up your tummy tuck recovery. When you are sleeping your body’s ability to heal is accelerated. Be sure to allow yourself the time to rest as often as possible.
You should also make sure that you are sleeping in an inclined position. You can use pillows and other supports to keep your body in a more upright position. Sleeping on an incline will reduce pressure and unnecessary stress on your abdominal area.
4. Wear Your Compression Garment as Directed
Following your tummy tuck, your surgeon will send you home with a “belly binder.” This garment is an essential part of your recovery. Wearing your compression belt will control swelling, support your abdominal wall, and aide in the healing of your abdominal scars.
No matter how unattractive or uncomfortable they may be, or whether you are starting to feel better, continuing to wear your compression garments as instructed by your physician will impact your overall recovery process.
5. Have Someone Commit to Helping You
For the first 24-48 hours following your tummy tuck you won’t even be able to move around unassisted or get into and out of bed on your own. Having a dedicated support system is vital to follow your doctor’s orders and properly care for yourself immediately following your surgery.
You will need to take at least 2 weeks off work, and if you have children or other daily responsibilities that require excess movement, lifting, or energy, you will need to have someone available to take care of those familial and household tasks.
6. Move Around Slowly
You must make sure you are not making any sudden, jerky movements that can disturb your abdominal muscles or your incision site. However, getting up and walking around the house can help you heal faster after a tummy tuck.
While you won’t be able to stand completely upright at first, walking helps to prevent blood clots, strengthen your muscles, and aids in digestion. Make sure to listen to your body and not overdo your physical activity.
7. Take Your Pain Medication as Prescribed
For at least the first 48 hours, you will be prescribed prescription pain medication. Taking this medication as prescribed and not when you are experiencing high pain levels can help your body to heal faster overall.
By keeping pain at bay and taking your pain medication before the pain levels rise, you are allowing your body to heal quicker. Pain has been proven to interfere with the body’s ability to heal after surgery.
In addition to your pain medication, you must take your antibiotics are prescribed and until they are completed. Tummy tuck procedures carry a higher risk of infection than other cosmetic surgeries and an infection can drastically setback and prolong your recovery.
8. Be Patient and Kind to Yourself
The results of your tummy tuck will not be visible for months after your surgery. It is important for your mental health that you are realistic with your expectations for healing and stick to your doctor’s recommendations for recovery.
Be sure to attend all your post-operative appointments and discuss any concerns you may have with your plastic surgeon. The more time you take to rest and care for yourself, the sooner you will recover and be able to enjoy your new appearance.
How Can Beautifi Help?
Make sure you research a variety of cosmetic surgeons before booking your procedure. Afterwards, if you have any concerns or questions, ask your surgeon about them during your initial consultation. The Beautifi team is always here to help when choosing a surgeon or financially planning for a cosmetic procedure. Learn how our process works or fill out an application to start your procedure journey!