There are many aspects to successful tummy tuck recovery, here’s what you should know.
A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, removes some of the excess skin and fat around the lower abdominal muscles to make it look smoother and tighter. Tummy tucks are often done after a woman is done having children if she has a “pouch” she’d like to eliminate that isn’t going away with diet and exercise. Someone who has lost a lot of weight might also have the need for a tummy tuck. Only your doctor can tell you if an abdominoplasty is right for you, but in the meantime, here are some facts about the procedure, what tummy tuck recovery might look like, and some tips for recuperating and getting back to normal after your surgery.
What Is a Tummy Tuck?
During a tummy tuck, your surgeon will make an incision along the pubic hairline and on each side of your lower abdomen. In some cases, another incision will be made near the navel. The skin is pulled down and the excess skin in the area is trimmed off, then it’s sutured together. The surgeon will make you a new belly button, too, since your original one will be pulled down.
In some cases, liposuction is done as well to remove excess fat. This can add to your recuperation time.
Some tummy tucks are only done in a small area of the lower abdomen, while others remove more of the skin in a larger area. The extent of your surgery will help determine your tummy tuck recovery timeline.
As you’re stitched up, your surgeon will often place drainage tubes under your skin to allow fluids to drain during the healing process. These will be removed later.
A tummy tuck can be done under local anesthesia and sedation, which means that you’re awake but relaxed, or under general anesthesia, which means that you’re asleep. Your surgeon will talk to you about your options and help you decide which is best for you.
What Is the Tummy Tuck Recovery Process Like?
Immediately after your tummy tuck surgery, you will still be numb if you’ve had local anesthetic. If you were asleep, you will need to wake up in the recovery room. Your pain will be managed with medication.
Over the next few days, you’ll experience pain, swelling, and some bruising. You might have some bleeding, too. Your surgeon will tell you what to look for in terms of troubling signs. You will probably need to change your bandages periodically; you’ll be instructed on what to do.
You’ll also need to move your legs and walk around at certain intervals to prevent a complication called deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. This is when a blood clot develops in a vein, and it can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lung. This condition can be fatal, so follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to prevent deep vein thrombosis from occurring. If you notice the signs of DVT, which include leg swelling, a hot or warm spot on the leg, pain when moving your foot, shortness of breath, or chest pain, call your doctor or get to the emergency room immediately.
You might be given antibiotics, blood thinners, and ointments to use to help prevent complications and enhance your healing. Always follow your doctor’s instructions precisely when taking prescribed medications. If you are taking narcotic painkillers, it can be helpful to have someone else help you so you don’t take too many or take them too close together.
How Pearl Recovery Retreat Can Help
Recuperating from a tummy tuck can take several weeks. In the early days, your mobility will be limited and you might experience pain. Being home alone is not a good option, as you will likely need help changing your dressings, showering, getting dressed, and getting yourself meals. If you are home in a busy household, that is also not conducive to getting the rest that you need.
If you can recuperate at Pearl Recovery Retreat, you will have round-the-clock nursing care available. Someone will always be on hand to help you as needed with your activities of daily living. In addition, healthy meals are brought to you so you can eat in the comfort of your own room. The facility is quiet and clean, which will allow you to relax and get the rest needed to fully recover. We also have services like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, massage, and juice cleanses that can help you to get better more quickly.
Even more importantly, Pearl Recovery Retreat can help you coordinate your care to ensure that you have the medical assistance needed during your recovery. A nurse can check you for signs of DVT or infection. You will be given your medications on time and in the correct dosages, eliminating the risk of taking the wrong medicine at the wrong time or taking them too often. You’ll also be able to get transportation to and from your surgical center for a follow-up appointment with your surgeon or if you have signs of infection or complications that require additional medical care.
Tips for Tummy Tuck Recovery
Whether you are recuperating at home or at a recovery center, here are some tips to help the tummy tuck recovery process go more smoothly:
- Eat foods that are high in protein. These will give your body the energy it needs to heal from the surgery.
- Have easy-to-prepare, healthy foods on hand. Prepping some of these foods ahead of time will help you to avoid relying on frozen convenience foods or fast foods, which are high in salt and can contribute to excessive swelling.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help your body processes.
- Listen to your body. Don’t try to overdo it when it comes to activity.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Don’t lift items that are too heavy or start driving too soon. Have someone help you to get to the bathroom during the first couple of days after your surgery. Take medications as prescribed, and be sure to do the exercises necessary to prevent blood clots.
Contact Pearl Recovery Retreat if you are interested in booking services to help you with your recovery after your tummy tuck surgery.