Truth be told, a tummy tuck surgery, also referred to as abdominoplasty, is one of the more invasive and intensive plastic surgery procedures. Needless to say, you should expect your recovery time to be considerably longer than most cosmetic surgeries regardless of which abdominoplasty surgery is performed (a complete abdominoplasty procedure or a mini abdominoplasty procedure).
In most cases, the tummy tuck recovery period depends on the patient’s physical health. If you have strong abdominal muscles, you should expect a shorter recovery period than a person who does not exercise regularly.
What does this all mean to you? Well here’s the thing. You and your surgeon should discuss in great detail the risks and recovery expectations prior to your tummy tuck. As you’ll want your recovery period to be as worriless as possible, you should plan ahead to be well prepared.
Your surgeon will give you specific postoperative instructions and, please understand, it is very important to follow all of his or her recommendations.
Now, you’re probably wondering what to expect during a tummy tuck recovery. Let’s take a look at the three recovery periods you should expect.
If you’ve opted to undergo a complete abdominoplasty then you may be required to remain in the hospital or surgery center for up to three days. After a mini-abdominoplasty, it is most common patients are released within a few hours.
Common side effects immediately following your tummy tuck, include:
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Pain and discomfort of the abdomen
- Numbness of the abdomen
- Nausea, grogginess and vomiting due to general anesthesia
Painkillers will be provided. Ask your specialist for specific instructions in terms of usage and use only as directed. Also, enquire about which medications to avoid. Misuse or over-consumption can lead to infection and other problems.
Furthermore, a pain pump may be used to help battle the soreness.
Drains will be inserted to help with any excess blood and other fluids. Your doctor may also recommend a special compression garment to aide healing. He or she will provide specific instructions on the length of time you will need to wear the garment.
The bottom line, again, is that your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to care for your new tummy after you’ve left the hospital. It is vital you do not ignore these instructions.
At this point, avoiding infections will be one of your most important tasks. Tummy tuck infections usually take place up to a month or longer after your surgery. In any case of breaking out in a fever, or if you experience any redness, pain or swelling at the incision site, you should contact your practitioner immediately.
- Heavy lifting should be avoided at all times.
- Strenuous activity, including sexual, should be avoided, but walks (even if you can’t straighten-up) help circulation and are an effective way of reducing swelling and preventing blood clots.
- Expect for a month’s delay before you can become a bit more active. Within two months, most tummy tuck patients resume to their regular pre-surgery exercise and activities.
- Specific dietary regimen will be added to your recovery list.
The Full Recovery Period
Generally, a full recovery lasts about six months. This is the length of time your body needs to alleviate the swelling, but don’t worry, your new abdomen will be sensitive and sore only for a few weeks after your tummy tuck procedure.
The scars produced from your abdominoplasty will be located above the pubic area, and most likely across the length of your belt line, but, however, can normally be hidden by clothing. These will eventually flatten and lighten in color—a process that can take up to nine months.
Your surgeon might be able to recommend certain scar-minimizing products for your benefit. Expect the scars to appear to worsen before they begin to heal, and just in time for your new body shape to emerge.