Recovery from a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is safe and relatively straightforward. If you’re thinking of having a tummy tuck, putting together a post-surgery healing kit should be on your list of things to do before your surgery date. Aside from speeding your recovery, your recovery kit can help reduce discomfort and ensure your recovery process goes smoothly. Here’s what to know about your tummy tuck recovery and how to prepare.
What’s it like to have a tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is one of the most popular procedures performed every year. It’s performed at the hospital with general anesthesia and can take around 3.5 hours. Many patients opt for liposuction on their flanks or love handles at the same time for better waist definition. After surgery, most patients will go home the same day. Some patients may spend a night in the hospital and be discharged the day after surgery.
An abdominal binder will be placed around your midsection to help reduce swelling and improve results. When you go home, make sure to get up, walk, and move around every hour. This is very important for cutting the risk of blood clots developing in the legs. Most patients use pain medication for 1-2 weeks after surgery. Drain tubes inserted at the time of surgery to remove fluid from the surgical site are removed in 1-2 weeks. Sutures are removed at 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, most patients can resume driving and all non-strenuous activities. Strenuous activities such as heavy exercise can be resumed at 6 weeks after surgery. The postoperative follow-up schedule for office appointments is 1 week after surgery, 2 weeks after surgery, 6 weeks after surgery, 3 months after surgery, and the one-year mark.
How Should I prepare for a tummy tuck?
For any surgery, it’s always ideal to be in good health. Your weight should be stable and within a healthy BMI. You’ll require clearance from your physician to make sure you’re a safe candidate to undergo surgery and general anesthesia. After surgery, you should make sure you have a responsible adult (a close friend or family member) who can stay with you for a minimum of 24 hours. If you have stairs in your house, you may want to sleep on the first level for a few days.
A recliner is ideal for sleeping for the first few days. If you’re in bed, make sure your legs are bent at the knees with pillows supporting them and that your back is gently supported with pillows. This should put you in a semi-flexed position.
Your Tummy Tuck Recovery Kit Checklist
Before your surgery date, spend some quality time making sure you have all the materials you need for a successful recovery. Here are a few important ones to include.
Bruising and swelling occur soon after your tummy tuck surgery. Although both will subside within a week or so, compression garments can significantly reduce your discomfort. Although most compression garments can be reused, it’s best to have a spare just in case – you won’t be able to do laundry because of lifting restrictions, so you’ll need a clean one if no one else is around. If you need recommendations or a fitting for compression garments, our office can help.
Silicone gel sheets
Scarring is always a possibility after any type of surgery, and a tummy tuck is no exception. Although the extent and degree of scarring is influenced by a combination of factors such as age, skin tone, and lifestyle habits, using silicone gel sheets along with your compression garment can greatly reduce scarring by smoothing out the skin of the incision site. Dr. Kayastha recommends using BioCorneum® scar cream. This is available for purchase at our office. After suture removal, a regimen of taping and scar massage can also be started to help minimize the appearance of your scars.
Prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements
You’ll receive pain and antibiotic prescriptions for your recovery. Healthy eating, along with vitamins and supplements, should also be a part of your plan. Arnica montana supplements can be used to help with bruising and swelling.
It’s important to make sure you avoid constipation after surgery. When you pick up your prescriptions, make sure to get an over-the-counter stool softener and start this immediately after surgery. You’ll be provided with gauze and pads from our office that you can use to change your dressings – it’s also good to have extra on hand just in case.
Since you’ll need to sleep in a reclined position after your surgery, you may need to prop yourself up on pillows to keep yourself in place. If you don’t already have extra pillows around, make sure to pick up more.
Healthy snacks, meals, and fluids
Since your priority should be resting after your procedure, it’s good to make sure you won’t have to cook or otherwise expend energy to make your meals. Consider prepping some reheatable meals ahead of time or stock up on healthy snacks and clear fluids that are easily consumable. For immediately after surgery, make sure to have some bland foods like crackers on hand since you may feel nausea from the anesthesia.
Schedule a Consultation
With the right preparation, you can enjoy a smooth and successful tummy tuck recovery. To meet with Dr. Kayastha and our team and learn more about your tummy tuck options, contact K Plastic Surgery at our Albany office at (518) 674-9060 or by filling out our online contact form.