A tummy tuck procedure, or abdominoplasty, is a popular request at any time of the year, but no more, perhaps, than right at the beginning of spring. This is the time to plan for your own tummy tuck, making sure to leave room in your busy schedule for a proper amount of recovery time. A smooth healing process is the key to keeping that newly toned midsection ready to hit the beach in a brand new bikini. If you’re planning for your own tummy tuck this spring, are you sure you’re ready to have the best recovery possible?
First Thing’s First: The Tummy Tuck Procedure
It might have a nice, alliterative name that makes people think it’s nothing huge, but a tummy tuck is in fact a major surgical operation that deserves both respect and the time to heal. Abdominoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia and lasting anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the patient’s unique body features. It can sometimes involve very extensive changes to the abdomen, with large amounts of fat and skin removal, as well as suturing and tighteningof the deep abdominal muscles. It is most often sought by women following one or more pregnancies or by those who have weakened abdominal muscles for other reasons.
During a tummy tuck surgery, your plastic surgeon makes a u-shaped incision along the pubic area, between the hip bones, and then the skin is separated from the abdominal wall. The doctor will then work to tighten the underlying muscles there, repairing the weakening that has occurred because of pregnancies or age. Then, a second incision is made around the navel to allow for navel reconstruction in a new, more natural-looking position on the flatter, smoother abdomen. Typically, drains are inserted into the incision site to help remove any fluids. The incisions are sutured and bandages are applied, and the tummy tuck procedure is complete.
Up Next: Your Recovery from Your Tummy Tuck
Following your procedure, you should expect to experience some discomfort in the abdominal area, but this can be managed with pain medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Most patients also experience swelling, bruising, and some numbness near the incision sites. The drains and stitches will be removed by your plastic surgeon, usually sometime within the first week or two, and you will be shown how to clean your incision site and change your own bandages.
As you heal, your doctor will advise you to wear a specific support garment for a determined length of time, which will depend on your body’s needs at this time. It will aid in supporting the abdomen and its new contours, as well as reducing the swelling throughout the area. Most patients are able to return to work within two to four weeks following their tummy tuck procedure. More strenuous activity and exercise will still need to be avoided for about four to six weeks.
Get Started: Make Preparations Now for a Smooth Recovery
Now that you understand what to expect, the first thing you need to do is clear your calendar to allow yourself the proper amount of time to make a full recovery. There is no cutting of corners allowed when it comes to this rule. Take time off from work, don’t go on any ski trips, and skip out on big parties and events during this time. Rest and recuperation are your number one concern until your doctor clears you to resume your daily activities one by one.
Want to ramp up the time it takes your body to heal? Follow these tips now to ensure that you have a smooth recovery then:
- Stay healthy before your surgery. Wash your hands frequently and avoid people with outward signs of illness. Not only will a compromised immune system impair your healing abilities, but it may force your surgeon to postpone your surgery.
- Don’t drop tons of weight right before your procedure. It might be tempting to drop 10 pounds or more before your tummy tuck so you can get really svelte-looking results. This can put your body in danger, however, so don’t do it. Stick to a healthy everyday diet and regular exercise to keep everything in tip-top form.
- Plan a route to walk. Following your surgery, the first exercise you’ll be allowed to engage in is simple walking, which can even help the body to heal. Talk to your plastic surgeon about how often and how long you should walk, then map out a nice, scenic route you can enjoy.
- Ask for help from friends and family. If you have children or pets, reach out to others who might be able to help you manage their care, especially for the first critical 48 hours of your recovery.
- Get yourself ready around the house before your surgery. Fight the temptation to do chores or run errands after surgery by taking care of these tasks beforehand. Leave your home nice and clean so you’ll really be able to relax. Pick up family prescriptions, groceries, and dry cleaning on the day before your surgery.
- Find your space inside your home where you’ll be comfortable. Set up pillows, blankets, books and movies, healthy nonperishable snacks, bottles of water, and comfortable loose-fitting clothes nearby. Put as much in this space as you can to minimize how much you need to move around.
- Stock up on any medical supplies your doctor recommends, such as gauze bandages, cold compresses, over-the-counter pain medication, and ointments. Designate a special spot to keep your medical needs and keep it handy.
If you do all the right things before and during your tummy tuck recovery, you’ll give your body the chance to do what it does best: heal. Even if it may be frustrating to have all of these restrictions and limitations on your daily activities, just remember that it’s much better to be frustrated for only a little while than to cause yourself pain and other complications that can last much longer. Recover right the first time so you can get that great new body out to the beach.
A Great Recovery Starts with a Great Surgery
Ensure your best tummy tuck results by scheduling your initial consultation with a plastic surgeon specializing in body contouring procedures. At Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, Dr. Ran Rubinstein can offer these advanced body contouring techniques to achieve your best results. With VECTRA 3D Imaging, your consultation will give you an accurate look at the results you can achieve with any of the body contouring procedures.
Renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Ran Rubinstein at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists of Newburgh, New York. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is the only specialty plastic surgery practice in the Hudson Valley area with an on-site joint commission certified surgical suite. To contact Dr. Rubinstein, please call 845-863-1772. Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists is located at 200 Stony Brook Court #2 in Newburgh, New York.