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The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

The Tummy Tuck Recovery Process

By Stuart Baker on February 15, 2012

Many Americans undergo the popular cosmetic surgery called tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. The surgery can dramatically improve a patient’s physical appearance and self esteem by reducing the appearance of soft sagging skin around the waistline and creating a slimmer, sexier, and more youthful contour to the body.

Springfield plastic surgeon Stuart Baker specializes in performing tummy tuck to help his patients get into better shape so they can look and feel younger.

General Anesthesia: Some tummy tuck patients have concerns about recovering from the surgery. A tummy tuck is, after all, a surgical procedure and as such involves some period of recovery. Tummy tuck is performed with the patient under general anesthesia, which carries with it some inherent risks. General anesthesia also requires a longer period of recovery than is required for surgeries performed under local anesthesia.

Hospital Stay/Bed Rest: Most patients who undergo a tummy tuck are able to return home the same day of their surgery. In some cases, usually those involving removal of larger amounts of tissue, a one- or two-night stay in the hospital is part of the tummy tuck recovery plan. Patients who return home the same day as their operation will need several days of bed rest to help them properly recover from the procedure.

Time Off Work: It is not unusual for a tummy tuck patient to feel discomfort in the abdomen for several weeks after surgery. If you work, plan on taking at least two weeks of sick or vacation time to recover from your tummy tuck. Depending on the physical demands of your job, it may be a good idea to schedule time off for longer than two weeks to reduce the chances of injury or complications from the surgery.

Exercise: Tummy tuck patients should expect to refrain from heavy, strenuous physical exercise for about six weeks after their surgery.

Drains: During surgery, a drain is placed in the area of the incision to drain fluid away from the surgical location. Patients should care for and routinely empty the drain to prevent infection or other complications. Patients should strictly follow their doctor’s orders regarding care and cleaning of the post-surgical drain.

Sutures: Sutures placed in the skin following tummy tuck are most often removed during a follow-up consultation with the doctor a week or two after surgery.

Tummy Tuck Side Effects

Most tummy tuck patients experience some or all of the following side effects in the days and weeks after their surgery:

  • Sore and/or tender abdomen
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Most of these side effects will go away within one to three weeks of the surgery. If these or other symptoms persist longer, patients should contact their doctor immediately.

Tips to Reducing Post-Surgery Swelling

Swelling of the abdomen is one of the most common conditions patients experience while recovering from a tummy tuck. There are ways to reduce post-surgery swelling, such as:

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
  • Eat healthy foods that are low in sodium
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Take your time returning to daily work or home routines
  • Gently massage your abdomen to encourage circulation of fluids
  • Apply ice or cold compress if your doctor directs you to do so
  • Wear a compression garment as directed by your doctor

Contact Our Practice

If, after reading this blog post, you still have questions about recovering from abdominoplasty, we encourage you to consult Springfield tummy tuck surgeon Stuart Baker. Dr. Baker is experienced in performing tummy tuck and can advise you on what you can expect during the recovery period following your surgery. Contact Dr. Baker today!

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