A tummy tuck surgery essentially involves flattening of the abdomen through the removal of excess skin and fat cells. Drastic weight loss and pregnancy can both leave loose skin hanging around the waist. While both are important milestones, the way one looks can greatly impact mental health. Therefore, many people look towards getting a tummy tuck surgery as a permanent solution.
The procedure has a recovery period of around 12 months, and during that, you must make sure to take complete care of yourself. Many people take time off work as it isn’t allowed to perform routine activities such as driving or exercising. Proper post-op care is needed for healing.
Although when it comes to the recovery timeline, you should remember that there is no one-size-fits-all. Each of the procedures performed is unique, and the duration of recuperation can vary from one person to another. Your doctor will make sure to advise you on the timeline of your treatment, depending on the procedure opted. Despite that, there are certain things that you should avoid post-op and some helpful tips to keep in mind that can support the healing process.
Consultation is Important for You
It is necessary to be fully knowledgeable about any kind of treatment that you’re getting. At Longevita, we put great emphasis on being transparent about the procedures so that the patients know exactly what to expect.
Our consultation session will ensure you access to complete information about the tummy tuck surgery. And, the surgeon and your patient relations specialist will also explain to you the pre and post-operative instructions and even provide you with an online infographic with comprehensive details about what’s important. It will help you keep everything in mind.
Without any hesitance, a patient can contact us if they have any questions.
Timeline for Recovery Period
The following are the stages of recovery. Their details will help you get a better idea of how things will proceed.
Immediate Post-Op Care
The total time required for a tummy tuck surgery will not be more than 3 to 5 hours, and usually, inpatient care is provided. So, you should be ready to stay in the hospital for a day on the first night. A salt solution transfusion after you wake up from surgery will make sure to keep you hydrated.
You will also find that drainage tubes will be attached on both sides of your lower abdomen, which are there to ensure the drainage of any blood or serum accumulation. In the case of moderately severe pain, which is to be expected, you will be provided with tablets or injections. Further, as the stitches made are fresh and delicate, you will be required to bend your knees and hips to avoid any strain or tear.
Day 2 Post-Op Care
You will be discharged from the hospital on the second day after surgery to return to your hotel for rest purposes. As not much time has passed, you will probably have bruising, mild swelling, aching, and throbbing. Don’t get panicked about this, be patient, as it is a completely normal occurrence.
Day 3 to 4 Post-Op Care
After spending a day at the hotel to regain your strength, it will be time to return to the hospital so that you can attend the first check-up appointment. It is undoubtedly essential as the doctor will make sure that there isn’t an unpredicted post-op complication that needs immediate attention. Along with that, any other necessary care will be taken.
You can still expect to ache and throb these days. Other than that, you are allowed to take a shower on the third day.
First 2 Weeks Post-Op Care
A concern shared by many patients after a tummy tuck surgery is swelling. There is no need for alarm as it occurs very commonly, and you should expect it too. It can simply result from inflammation and develops as a part of the body’s recovery process. At this time, you should also expect maximum bruising.
You can start to wear cover makeup at this stage.
First 2 Months Post-Op Care
Soon after the tummy tuck surgery, you will need to wear supportive elastic garments (pants or corset) at all times for the first six weeks. They can help reduce the swelling while aiding the healing process.
End of the Year
This is the time when you can finally enjoy the results of your procedure and see a visible difference. Don’t get stressed because your body would need adequate time to recover, and it won’t heal overnight or in a matter of a few days. In the end, you will realize the worthiness of your venture.
Post-Op Expected Discomfort
Surgery can take a toll on the body, and your experiences may differ depending on the kind of treatment you’re getting. Here too, you may go through some aches and pains.
Getting itchy on the areas that have been operated upon is quite common. You may even notice the formation of small bumps under the skin. It is not indicative of anything bad happening because it just means that your body is trying to get rid of damaged fat cells. You may also feel dizzy, and whenever that happens, all you need to do is lie or sit down immediately.
Pain is to be expected after a tummy tuck surgery, but you will be given medications so that you don’t suffer. The skin of the target area may feel numb because of the disruption of nerve fibres. It will eventually pass away, though. Many patients also feel depressed soon after the operation but start to feel better after around two weeks. Bleeding, bruising, and consequent scarring (hypertrophic scarring, hypo pigmentation, and widespread scars) can also develop. You must make sure to keep the area dry and clean at all times for the best results.
Post-Op Do’s and Don’ts
It is essential that after surgery, you follow proper guidelines of care for complete recovery. First and foremost, you’re recommended to wear an elastic support garment for a minimum of 6 weeks, day and night unless your doctor says otherwise. It helps with the complaint of swelling for many patients. Another thing that should be kept in mind is not to mix alcohol with pain medications and antibiotics. The medicines themselves have many side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headache, and vomiting, which alcohol consumption can worsen.
In the same vein, you should also not smoke for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Both smoking and chewing tobacco can inhibit the circulation of blood and significantly harm your surgical outcome. As far as exercise is concerned, a little bit of walking is okay as it can promote blood circulation, which helps with healing. But make sure that someone accompanies you, as your balance and strength could be compromised. Do not try lifting, pushing, or pulling objects for 6 weeks. Saunas and swimming pools are also to be avoided for the same duration.
After a tummy tuck surgery, you may find it difficult to stand up straight for approximately 10 days. It’s only because of the nature of the surgery. Any brazen movement of the area around the incision can put a strain on it and cause the wounds to open. So, limit your motor activity. It is only temporary as the tightness will gradually soften with healing.
Engaging in any sort of sexual activity is not recommended for a month. Further, sun exposure should be minimised for a year, and when you do go out, use ample sunscreen with high SPF. You can resume driving 2-3 weeks post-op, but after discussing it with your patient relations specialist.
When it comes to recovery, eating healthy is extremely important. You should drink several glasses of water each day, and lots of fluids are especially recommended in the first few days after surgery. Light meals should be preferred after undergoing general anaesthesia.
You can take a shower 48-72 hours after the surgery but only in warm water and for a brief time in the beginning. The temperature should in no way be too hot or too cold.
Most of all, be patient. You just have to plan and consider all the aspects of the healing process, including the time frame. It will be slow but focus on getting better with each passing day. And if you ever think there’s a problem, do not hesitate at all to contact your patient relations specialist.
When Can You Return to Work?
One of the things that people think about and carefully consider before deciding to get surgery is how much time it’ll take. And that includes the question of when they’ll be able to return to work.
Usually, people can resume their professional life after 2 to 4 weeks. Although, there might be variations in it depending on the kind of work performed by you and of course your personal needs. You can further discuss the timeframe of this with your patient relations specialist to develop a clearer idea.
Deciding to get a tummy tuck surgery is undoubtedly momentous. You can easily get anxious as a result of a wave of changes, and it’s even easier to get disappointed if you don’t see immediate results after the struggle. Remember that you’ll just have to be patient with the healing process to enjoy the ultimate fruit. It will be stressful, but worth it.
You will be able to gain confidence in the way you look and feel about your body once it’s smooth and toned as a result of this procedure.