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Tummy Tuck Recovery

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Tummy Tuck Recovery

Arranging a stomach tuck? You’re going through a significant change! In addition to eliminating extra skin and fat, a stomach tuck tightens the muscles that support the abdominal cavity. Because of this, recovery can take several weeks and necessitates preparation, patience, and research.

You can go home after your tummy tuck.

The majority of the time, an outpatient abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is performed, meaning that you return home after the procedure. Even though the first two weeks following a stomach tuck can be quite taxing, it is preferable for you to move around after the procedure rather than spend all of your time in bed because this helps avoid blood clots. (Dr. Gallus believes that improving circulation is so crucial that she sends all of her patients who receive stomach tucks home with electronic devices that compress their legs.) When you recuperate in the comfort of your own home, you have the advantage of selecting caregivers and creating a peaceful environment. Even our patients who have several mommy makeover procedures done all at once recover and return home.

You may or may not need a drain after tummy tuck—it depends on your body and your surgeon.

An apparatus called a surgical drain is placed at the site of the incision by the patient following surgery in order to gather fluids and encourage a good healing process (the incision for a lymphatic massage after tummy tuck is made along the base of the abdomen, just above the pubic area). After surgery, drains are left in for roughly two weeks. 

It is common knowledge that drains can be uncomfortable to deal with; they can pull and tug and can be heavy to move. For this reason, some surgeons use a method for stomach tucks that eliminates the need for a surgical drain. Not all surgeons provide this option, and this drain-free technique is not just a standard tummy tuck without the drain. It requires a skilled surgeon who is familiar with this unique suturing technique.

While not every patient is a good candidate and every surgery is different, Dr. Tiffiny C. Taylor at Cynosure Care strives to provide every abdominoplasty patient with a drain-free recovery. If your BMI is higher than a certain point (roughly 30), for example, or if liposuction is a major component of your procedure, you might need to wear a drain to ensure a safe and quick recovery.

Know the causes and signs of a seroma.

A seroma is an accumulation of fluid following surgery. Seromas are fairly common, and generally speaking they just cause trouble. Large or painful seromas usually require draining, and additional compression is applied to the affected area to help resolve the problem.

Follow your recovery instructions closely to avoid seromas following tummy tuck surgery, especially the ones that advise against bending over, exerting yourself, or returning to your normal activities in the first few weeks following the procedure. After a stomach tuck, excessive bending and twisting before your wounds have fully healed can result in seromas.

Contact your board-certified plastic surgeon as soon as you notice any signs of a seroma. If you notice any of the following symptoms at or close to the site of your surgery, you may be developing a seroma:

  • Under the skin, there is a swollen lump or swelling.

  • Soreness or tenderness

  • Fluid seeping through wounds

The majority of seromas are easily treated, but if they spread, they could become more serious. As soon as you notice any of these infection symptoms, give your doctor a call: Your skin turns warm to the touch, the wound stops draining clearly, you experience fever, an accelerated heartbeat, dyspnea, or worsening pain, swelling, and redness around the seroma.

While you’ll need to stop certain supplements, others can be beneficial after tummy tuck.

We will advise you to stop taking specific medications and supplements prior to surgery. Although there is a lengthy list of things not to take, you might be surprised to hear that some supplements can speed up the healing process after a stomach tuck:

Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which can help lessen bruising, swelling, and inflammation. 

Zinc: Essential for all phases of the recovery process.

Vitamin C: Aids in the production of collagen for the best possible wound healing and scarring.

Arnica: Often used to lessen bruises and inflammation.

Lymphatic drainage massage may help with healing.

Similar to manual compression, manual lymphatic drainage massage is a very light massage that moves in the direction of the lymphatic system to encourage fluid removal and expedite the healing process. Although lymphatic massage isn’t necessary for a full recovery, patients who opt for this type of massage report feeling better after their procedures. 

Rest, rest, and continue to rest—even as your health begins to improve.

You should avoid making any plans or commitments for two weeks following a full stomach tuck. It is crucial to follow your recovery guidelines even after you begin to feel more like yourself again, which is usually towards the end of the second week.

You need to avoid strenuous activity for four to six weeks in order to preserve the internal sutures from your abdominoplasty. In order to repair diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, we tighten them during surgery. These sutures are invisible, which is why you have to fight the urge to organize your closet, start a garden, go to the gym, or resume your desk job duties that require physical labor.

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