Recovery after a tummy tuck is one essential part of the process that some surgeons don’t talk a whole lot about. Although preparing for what to expect during the surgery itself is a good idea, you should also be aware of what to expect afterward.
Tummy tucks are performed under general anesthesia, so the first thing you’ll experience is waking up in recovery. You may feel groggy, tired and nauseous. Although most patients will go home the day of their surgery, some may stay overnight. Even after returning home, patients will need to stay in bed for the first several days.
The incision will be covered by a dressing, and you’ll have drains placed to draw fluid build-up away from the area. A compression garment may be worn to help promote healing. You should expect to feel sore and tender. Discomfort can be managed by over-the-counter pain relievers. Antibiotics may also be prescribed by your surgeon to prevent infection.
The First Weeks
Swelling is very common following tummy tucks, so the results may be hard to see initially. As your body heals and adjusts to its new contours, bruising and swelling will fade away. Scar redness will also face over time, although some patients notice the healing incision looks redder at first.
Be sure to have someone at home to help you the first several days, which will be the most difficult. You’ll need to get plenty of rest, so don’t be afraid to delegate and accept offers of assistance from friends or loved ones. By knowing what to expect and following these few tips, your tummy tuck recovery time should go very smoothly.
Dr. Alexander received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of the country’s first medical schools, and then had five years of intensive general surgery training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, serving as chief resident in 1993-1994. There he was one of two residents honored “Outstanding Teacher” by the Whitehead Society.
After becoming Board Certified in General Surgery, Dr. Alexander attended the University of California San Francisco, one of the premiere Plastic Surgery programs in the United States. There he completed two additional years of residency training in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Alexander is double board certified in Surgery and Plastic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Alexander specializes in facial rejuvenation, and was the first surgeon in California to perform the QuickLift,™ a revolutionary surgical procedure that takes years off the face with less downtime than traditional facelifts. He is a specialist in chemical peels and laser surgery and was selected to author the chapter “Facial Resurfacing” in Plastic Surgery, the premiere textbook of the specialty. He also specializes in facial cancer reconstruction and endoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures, publishing his own original research about endoscopic plastic surgery. He lectures in medical forums and has presented his results at both national and international surgical meetings.