Abdominoplasty is a common plastic surgery procedure, but not everyone knows what to expect after a tummy tuck. Some things are intuitive. Others tend to take patients by surprise. So, what’s normal after a tummy tuck?
Recovery Times Can Fall Outside the Average
While looking at average recovery timelines can help you mentally prepare for your procedure, plenty of people fall outside the average. Everything from your age to how well you follow post-op instructions will make an impact.
Different Tucks Have Different Recoveries
The tummy tuck isn’t a single procedure; there are varying types (extended, mini, etc.), and each will impact what your recovery period looks like. As a general rule, the more extensive the procedure, the longer and more complex the recovery will be. When figuring out what to expect after your tummy tuck, research the recovery period for your exact procedure.
Blood Clot Prevention Is a Big Focus
This isn’t tummy tuck specific, but it is something to expect after any surgery. Post-procedure, the risk of developing blood clots increases. Luckily, there is plenty that can be done to minimize this risk. You’ll need to wear special garments that prevent clots from forming in the legs.
Position Matters a Lot
Check your posture right now. If you are like many people, your spine is curved forward and you are placing quite a bit of pressure on your abdomen. During your recovery, especially those first few weeks, you’ll need to be gentle on your stomach, especially at the incision. This means sitting and resting at angles that keep pressure off the abdomen.
Mobility Is Limited at First
And by this, we don’t just mean limited as part of your instructions is to take it easy. We mean you will actually find it difficult to move. Your body will be sore and general anesthesia often leaves the muscles feeling sluggish. On top of this, you’ll be on a pain management plan that likely includes pain killers, which tend to slow you down. While you should move a bit each day in order to heal faster, don’t push yourself and don’t get frustrated with these limitations.
You Might Have Drains to Care For
Some doctors perform drain-free tummy tucks, but this isn’t always an option. If you need drains for yours, they will require special care. Most people are ready for things like bandage changes and general wound care, but if you’ve never had drains or helped someone who did, there is a bit of a learning curve.
You Will Need Help
It’s tempting to try to go it alone during your recovery, but this isn’t a good idea — at least, not at first. Because you are so limited in your mobility, you should have someone staying with you who can offer assistance with everything from getting dressed to taking care of kids and pets.
What Isn’t Normal
In addition to knowing what to expect, you need to know warning signs of problems after a tummy tuck. These include excessive swelling, nerve pain and tingling that does not go away, bruising that doesn’t fade and excessive bleeding. Reach out to your doctor if you notice any of these signs.
Dr. Francesco Campanile is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is also fellowship trained in hand and microsurgery. Dr. Campanile knows that making a lasting change to your appearance is a big decision. His calm, professional approach and deep caring for his patients set a tone that will help you feel confident and relaxed while reviewing your options and learning all about the procedures that can benefit you. Request a consultation today to meet with Dr. Campanile in person.