Tummy Tucks Medically known as abdominoplasty are now one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures in the world.
This is according to the statistics conducted by the American Society of plastic surgeons.
Most patients especially those who have undergone pregnancy, weight loss programs, or whose abdomen skin has sagged due to age changes always strive to have an improved abdominal contour.
Abdominoplasty may be performed by a board-certified experienced plastic surgeon to get rid of loose skin and fat from the abdomen and also tighten separated abdominal muscles to improve your abdomen look.
Even though abdominoplasty is a safe procedure, poor care might lead to infections which may bring complications to your tummy.
That is why it is important to learn how to care for your incision and tummy after surgery to minimize these risks.
What to Expect During Tummy Tuck Post-Op
Typically, after your surgery, your surgeon will put you in the recovery room.
There will be bandages across your abdomen covering your incisions.
Your surgeon will temporarily place thin tubes in your incision to collect excess blood and fluid that will be coming from your body.
You will also be required to wear an abdominal binder a compression garment that will help reduce your tummy tuck swelling and prevent the formation of blood clots as your midsection heals.
Compression garments are very important and should be worn until after 4 – 6 weeks or until your surgeon tells you to stop wearing them.
Because of infections and pain, your surgeon will also prescribe you antibiotics and painkillers to help manage pain.
In most cases, you will be given post-operation instructions on how to take care of the thin tubes collecting fluid and keeping the area clean.
In case the bottles are filled up, you will be instructed to empty them and record the amount.
The recordings will help the surgeon determine the correct time and period they should be removed.
How soon can you shower after a tummy tuck?
Showering after undergoing Abdominoplasty is one of the most difficult things to do on your own.
This is because of the drain tubes and the pain you might be feeling after surgery.
Most surgeons recommend that you shower 24 – 48 hours after the surgery.
During shower time, you will be required to have sponge baths until the drain tubes are removed or your doctor says so.
After two weeks, your surgeon may give you an ok to shower.
You may remove your compression garments and dressing when you are taking shower.
Do not remove the skin tapes (steri-strips) as they should be left to fall off on their own.
Skin tapes contain skin adhesive to protect your incisions and are fairly water resistant.
After they fall off, your surgeon will instruct you to continue covering your incisions with gauze for about 7 more days. He will also explain how to care for your incisions during this period.
Avoid standing up while taking shower during the first week and have a seat while taking shower.
Standing for more than 5 minutes may cause back pain. Also, ask someone to accompany you to the shower.
Having someone help you while showering will prevent you from feeling pain.
During the first two weeks after surgery, your surgeon will ask you to avoid bathing in any still waters.
This includes; bath taps, swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and more.
How to sit and sleep after a Tummy Tuck
The best position to sit or sleep after undergoing a tummy tuck surgery is a reclining chair position. Recliners can be purchased from any furniture store or rented from a medical supply
This position allows your feet and head to be in an elevated position (flexed) which in return tension on the incision making you comfortable.
Most surgeons recommend you use this position for approximately two weeks after your tummy tuck from there you can sleep straight on your back or sideways.
You may also put pillows under the head and under your knees while sleeping on your back to minimize the tension on the incision.
When do you begin Exercises after Abdominoplasty?
You may begin to do light activities like light walking two weeks after surgery, and strenuous abdominal exercises such as Abs Exercises at 8 Weeks.
This is when your muscles could have healed enough to tolerate vigorous activities. Start out slow and increase the intensity of your workouts as you go. Do not overdo it at first.
It is wise to consult with your surgeon each time you are planning to do something so that he or she is able to guide you the right way.
Tummy Tuck Pain and Moving Around
Because of the nature of the surgery, it is normal to experience pain, bruising, and swelling after surgery.
Pain and soreness after a tummy tuck is normal and is generally worse during the first 10 days due to the rectus abdominal muscles being tightened with permanent suture. With proper pain medication, it usually subsides 3 to 4 weeks after a tummy tuck.
If you notice a hard lamp and continue to feel pain even after you have recovered, consult with your surgeon immediately as it might be a sign of a hernia.
Your surgeon will also instruct you to walk around and stretch your legs this will prevent the formation of blood clots.
Avoid strenuous exercises as they may put a strain on the incisions making the wound reopen.
The Bottom Line
Ensure you choose a certified experienced plastic surgeon for great results and fewer complications.
Also, eat a balanced diet meal that will speed up healing so you to resume back to your activities earlier.
Follow all Post-Op instructions given by your surgeon for proper healing and make sure that you consult him or her if you notice something unusual with your healing process.
In case you need help about how to find a good plastic surgeon, you can use our guide to do so. You can also use our find a surgeon near me tool to search for an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon near you.
- Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/body/tummy-tuck-guide/
- Tummy Tuck recovery American society of Plastic surgeons https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck/recovery
- Mayo Clinic. Tummy Tuck https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/tummy-tuck/about/pac-20384892
- Shestak KC, Fedele GM. Abdominoplasty in Evans GRD, ed “Operative Plastic surgery.” New York: McGraw Hill,2000.