Finding an experienced tummy tuck surgeon and having the operation is only half the battle of getting the best tummy tuck results possible. Your tummy tuck recovery makes up the other half.
By and large, your ability to conscientiously comply with post-surgery instructions will make a huge difference between mediocre and great outcomes. You have to strike a balance between speeding up recovery, so you can resume your daily routine as soon as possible, and not disrupting the healing process.
Most women want to regain their pre-baby body or have a tighter and more toned tummy, especially after shedding the excess pounds. Regardless of your motivations, these 10 tips from award-winning plastic surgeon Dr. Larry Fan will give you a head start on recovering from a tummy tuck like a pro!
Two More Quick Questions
Two More Quick Questions
Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
As much as you’d like to think that the flab will go away instantly after surgery, the healing process following your tummy tuck takes weeks to months. After all, every patient is different — from the tummy tuck variation that’s performed to how comfortable you are with physical activity post-surgery.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of recovering from a tummy tuck without a hitch while getting the results you’re looking for at the same time, let’s take a look at why you should listen to Dr. Larry Fan when it comes to tummy tuck recovery.
Tip #1: Choose a Qualified, Trustworthy Tummy Tuck Surgeon
Dr. Fan has seen the best and worst in tummy tuck results.
One of the worst was a woman who underwent a tummy tuck in Mexico with disastrous results. After finding our San Francisco plastic surgery office, she recounted how she was awake the entire time the procedure was performed. In fact, the only anesthesia used was ice!
By the time she realized something fishy was definitely going on, it was too late for her to back out.
She ended up with terrible results — persistent bulging of the abdomen due to incomplete skin removal, and a very thick, heavy scar due to poor stitching.
Clearly, the decision to have a tummy tuck is not something to be taken lightly, and the most important aspect of that decision is your surgeon of choice.
While there are certainly a good number of competent, experienced tummy tuck surgeons out there, only a few are truly committed to taking their time to understand your specific needs. These surgeons, like Dr. Fan, will give you the tummy tuck results you want, rather than performing a tummy tuck based on what is faster or easier.
A good tummy tuck surgeon will get the job done, removing flabby skin and repairing weakened abdominal muscles. A great plastic surgeon, however, has an innate eye for aesthetics and technical dexterity in body contouring surgeries.
Dr. Fan’s patients often remark about his aesthetically beautiful and natural results. Also known for being brutally frank to patients, you can trust that Dr. Fan will always have your best interests at heart.
Tip #2: Have Realistic Expectations
A tummy tuck can dramatically restore a more youthful silhouette to your waist, but it's at the cost of a slightly difficult recovery for the first few days or weeks. Several activities will be restricted for the first few months too.
You will also feel sore and tight for about two weeks after surgery. Expect pain in the surgical area as well as your back. It will eventually subside, but it's important to be mentally prepared for the procedure.
Tip #3: Don't Sit Around Too Much
You will need help getting up and using the commode for the first few days, but don't spend all day sitting.
You need to move around to get your muscles moving again and prevent blood clot formation in the legs. At the same time, avoid excessive walking, prolonged standing, or lifting for the first week following surgery.
It's helpful to pump your leg muscles every hour or so while sitting down or lying in bed.
You will probably feel more comfortable walking in a bent-over "little old lady" position for the first week, and that's okay. Move in a way that is comfortable for you.
Tip #4: Don't Overdo It With Physical Activity
Even if you're feeling good, take it easy after surgery.
While it's necessary for you to walk often during recovery, it's equally important not to avoid overexertion or to do anything strenuous for several weeks after surgery. Overdoing it can put you back to square one and lead to complications such as swelling and increased pain. You will need to refrain from lifting more than 10 pounds for about six weeks.
Tip #5: Wear Support Garments As Instructed
You may be discharged home wearing a garment. This garment is designed to support the surgical area, which in turn will facilitate healing and reduce swelling.
Tip #6: Take Steps to Avoid Infection as Much as You Can
These steps include bathing with a chlorhexidine solution the night before surgery to help reduce bacterial contamination and reduce the chance of infection.
Keep your wounds clean after surgery.
Tip #7: Steer Clear from Constipation Early On
As a side effect of pain medications and anesthesia, it's not unusual to have difficulties with bowel movements following a tummy tuck.
To avoid abdominal straining and overexerting yourself in the bathroom, ask your surgeon about over-the-counter stool softeners such as docusate sodium (Colace) a few days before surgery.
Tip #8: Give Yourself Enough Time Off Work
Most patients are able to return to work after a week post-surgery, but you may not feel like doing so. It's best to plan for at least two weeks off from work. If you can extend it to three weeks, it would be a luxury!
Tip #9: Watch What You Eat (and Drink!) Before and After Surgery
Stick to a low-sodium diet and avoid processed/packaged food items that are laden with sodium. This will help reduce swelling and fluid retention which is common post-tummy tuck. In addition, refrain from drinking alcohol for at least the first week and while you're taking any prescription medications as it dilates blood vessels and may cause unwanted bleeding. Finally, get more fiber to help avoid constipation.
Tip #10: Be patient, Stay Positive, and Be Proud of Yourself
Incision appearance, plus swelling and pain, can result to an unexpected emotional roller coaster. Post-surgery blues are normal. Remind yourself that this is part of the process.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with us during recovery. Ultimately, be proud of yourself for finally taking the step towards a better you!
For more expert advice, mosey over to this article on tummy tuck timing and benefits.
Plan For Your Tummy Tuck Today
Now that you're a savvy enough to not just prepare for a tummy tuck but also recover well from it, finding a surgeon who has your best interests at heart is next on your tummy tuck to-do list.
Finding the right surgeon entails asking the right set of questions, like these 14 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Plastic Surgeon, during your initial consultation.
Keep in mind that the best tummy tuck results are a result of well-informed decisions! The more you ask questions, the more you'll be comfortable and confident in your choice to have a tummy tuck.
If you're ready to move forward, we recommend scheduling a free consultation with Dr. Fan right away. Otherwise, the next step would be completing this short online self-assessment to determine whether or not you're a good candidate for a tummy tuck.