Dr. Branman Awards Dr. Rhys Branman's Cosmetic Surgery Blog

Recovery After a Tummy Tuck

January 6, 2016 - Rhys Branman, MD

tummy tuck aftertummy tuck beforeAs you probably know,  an abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure that removes excess skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen and tightens the abdominal muscles. If you have a tummy tuck at Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center, you will have post operative instructions to follow after your surgery. For your health and safety, my nurse will go over these carefully with you, and give you a printed copy of specific instructions for your care after surgery. I would just like to give you a general idea here now.

You will need someone to stay with you the first night after surgery. I prefer you have someone stay with you two or three days. I have written a blog entry about pampering yourself after any surgery. Think about doing this; pamper yourself. Set your recovery area up in advance to have everything you need near you. I would like you to have someone with you the first few days. It is possible to experience light headedness when getting up or when you undress. Have someone assist you.

Special drains and a dressing will be in place, and you will have to wear an abdominal binder. The bulbs of the drains will be attached to the abdominal binder and will usually be removed 5-7 days following surgery. I will tell you how to care for the drain bulbs and your wounds. You will get precise instructions on wound care, showering, and exercise. It will be difficult to stand straight at first, but you will be advised to begin walking as soon as possible, but you should not attempt to stretch or pull your abdomen straight for the first 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure. You will be wearing the abdominal binder 24 hours a day (except when showering, or performing wound care) for 3 weeks unless showering or washing the binder. This protects your muscles and gives you support. After your first post-operative visit you may shower. You may want to have your caretaker assist, and you will have to avoid submerging incisions in water until 4 to 6 weeks after surgery

Your initial recovery will take about 2 weeks. This means that the wounds will be healed, sutures and drains will have been removed. Of course there will be some soreness after your surgery, but I will prescribe pain medication for you to take; you may have a pain pump. You should take the medication as prescribed. It is easier to control pain before it gets worse, so don’t wait. Take your pain medication on schedule. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin until approved by me. In most cases, pain medication should be taken with food to prevent nausea. You will also be prescribed antibiotics. It is imperative that you take these as prescribed as well in order to prevent infection.

As stated on my Tummy Tuck page, many patients return to work after 2 weeks, while others take three or four weeks to rest and recuperate. As a general rule, 80% of your swelling is gone in 2 to 6 weeks and the remainder should be gone in 3 to 6 months. You may resume moderate walks after the first 2 to 4 weeks as tolerated. Avoid lifting, bending, straining, or aerobic exercise for at least 6 weeks and contact sports for 3 to 4 months. Scars will be prominent during the first three to six months as they heal. After about 9-12 months, your scars will flatten out and lighten in color. They will always be apparent, but should not show under most clothing, even a bathing suit. So take good care of yourself and you will be rewarded with a lovely new belly!

Call Melinda to set up a consultation with me at 501-227-0707

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