One of the most common plastic surgery procedures across the world is the tummy tuck procedure. While there are many resources available to give an introduction to the tummy tuck surgery and its benefits, there is comparatively much lesser literature available to prepare for the recovery post the surgery.
We detail out some critical information you must have and adhere to during your tummy tuck recovery. Understanding the recovery process and knowing what to expect during the different stages as well as the dos and don’ts will make your life much easier and recovery much faster.
Before going on to the details of the different stages of recovery after tummy tuck, it is important to understand that there is no fixed time that can be defined for recovering from a tummy tuck surgery. It depends from individual to individual, however there are some factors that may impact the tummy tuck recovery time like
- The type of tummy tuck you have undergone
- Age of the patient recovering from the procedure
- Overall health of the patient and whether they suffer from any other health issues
- Post op self-care routine as recommended by the surgeon and adherence to it.
Most of this are self-explanatory, the better your general health, the faster you will recover; just as younger the age, faster your body heals. Same goes for the post op care. Like any other medical procedure, even for tummy tuck recovery, it is critical that you follow all the instructions given by your surgeon diligently. This not only helps in ensuring that your incision heals faster, but also ensures that you can resume your regular life as soon as possible.
The only thing that may not be so obvious is why should the type of tummy tuck affect the recovery time? The logic is simple. If you are undergoing an extended tummy tuck, the area and the contouring is more extensive and detailed, thereby leading to a higher recovery time. On the other hand a mini tuck may be much faster to recover after the surgery.
Having said that, now let us look at the typical phases of recovery and the recommended care for each.
Phase I: At the hospital, right after the surgery
This is the phase, when you are still at the hospital and are just recovering immediately after your tummy tuck procedure. At this point of time, your operated area will be covered with dressing and small tubes may be placed around your incision, in order to drain away any kind of fluid build-up. The hospital staff will place your bed at an angle and you will be expected to rest completely.
Phase II: Returning Home post the surgery
When you have sufficiently recovered post your surgery, you will be allowed to return home. But, do remember that you will still need help for some time and you will not be able to drive home yourself. Ensure to make arrangements for the same, before going in for the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe medication for you including painkillers. Take them regularly.
Even after you reach home, it is prescribed not to do any heavy lifting, bending or extensive work. Taking care at this stage will help you with a much faster recovery than otherwise. Make sure you avoid smoking and alcohol and take the antibiotics or anticoagulants as prescribed by your doctor. You will also be trained to drain and clean the tubes, before you leave the hospital. Maintaining a good hygiene helps in recovery.
Phase III: Routine activities and resuming daily chores
Now that you have been back at home for some time after your tummy tuck treatment, you can slowly start going back to your daily life and routine activities. However, make sure that you have planned your recovery period and help during this period. Most doctors would advise against heavy exercise, sitting down or squatting and picking up heavy objects or children.
Phase IV: Over the course of time
Remember that you have undergone a surgery and its effects like a pulling sensation may take time to disappear. Even the scarring will take time to fade away, so give yourself and your body the time to heal and recover.