Following any type of body contouring—whether a tummy tuck, mommy makeover or a post-weight-loss procedure—most people are anxious to see their final results. While you may notice an immediate difference in the size and shape of your body, swelling is a major factor in your body contouring recovery and how quickly you will see more prominent results.
Use these tips to help reduce swelling and speed up your recovery after body contouring surgery.
1. Use Cold Compresses
Cold compresses can be used in the first few days after your procedure to help reduce swelling and keep you comfortable. Apply a cold compress to the affected area for up to 20 minutes at a time, taking a break before applying again. Never apply ice directly to your skin — place a towel or a similar barrier in between to avoid injury.
2. Take Lukewarm Showers
As tempted as you might be to hop in a steaming hot shower, it is best to hold off on this until you’ve recovered further. The heat and steam from your shower can worsen swelling and may irritate your incisions. Instead, take a tepid shower and do not vigorously scrub incision sites.
Your plastic surgeon should provide you with bathing and showering guidelines, as you will not be able to get your incisions wet right away. Follow these instructions closely to avoid complications and to streamline your body contouring recovery process.
3. Wear a Compression Garment
Wearing a properly-fitting compression garment will help with swelling and make you feel more comfortable as your body heals. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with specific information about what type of garment to wear, how it should fit and how long you’ll need to wear it. Again, follow these instructions as closely as you can.
Your compression garment should feel snug, but not uncomfortably tight.
Other easy ways to reduce swelling include limiting your salt intake and keeping your body elevated. Some people find that sleeping in a recliner for the first few nights is the most comfortable, while others might use a pillow or two for support where needed.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
It almost sounds too simple, right? However, staying properly hydrated is key to a smooth, speedy recovery after any procedure. The best thing you can drink during recovery is fresh water, as sports drinks, soda and even most fruit juices are very high in added sugars.
For the first few days of recovery, you may need to drink small amounts of water at a time if you are feeling nauseous. Once you feel more like your normal self, make sure you’re drinking plenty of clear liquids.
5. Get up and Moving
When you get the okay from your plastic surgeon, start walking around your house to get your blood flowing, promoting healthy circulation. As you continue to recover from your body contouring procedure, you can gradually add more movement and physical activity into your daily routine. Just remember to check with your plastic surgeon before introducing a new level of exercise into your routine.
Dr. David Kaufman earned a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating with distinction, the highest academic honor. As an active duty naval special warfare officer, he served our nation for four years, including duty in Operation Desert Storm. He then attended Harvard Medical School, receiving his medical doctor degree in 1996. From there, he entered and completed postdoctoral surgical training in a combined general and plastic surgery residency at Stanford University Medical Center.
A board-certified plastic surgeon and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Kaufman’s diverse surgical experience and skill enables him to choose procedures and techniques to best suit each patient. Consider him and his practice, Kaufman Plastic Surgery, if you are looking for a plastic surgeon in the Sacramento area.