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Our Top Three Tips on Your Tummy Tuck Recovery


March 3, 2022

Our Top Three Tips on Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

As a very busy breast on body practice, the Centre for Plastic Surgery performs a large number of Tummy Tuck procedures each year. Abdominoplasties can offer some of the most gratifying results, but they are also one of the more extensive surgeries that we offer in our onsite surgical facility. It’s incredibly important that you know what to expect and feel prepared to go home the day of surgery. Here are our top three tips on recovering from your Tummy Tuck. 

Tip Number One— Choose a Trusted Caregiver

Woman with caregiver.

At any accredited center the surgeon and staff should require patients to have a designated caregiver who will understand your post-op care needs. The reality is that recovering from an Abdominoplasty is no walk in the park. You’ll feel tired from anesthesia, need help with medications, and need help with movement. Benjamin Rechner, MD says “An abdominoplasty typically includes the repair of muscle separation that will change the way the abdominal “core” engages for several days. The patient will need assistance with the most basic movements like rolling to the side or standing from a reclining position. Since your muscles will “be on strike”, your caregiver will need to help you out bed, assist you in the shower, and even lift you off the toilet.” The moral of the story? If you aren’t close to this person already, you will be!  You need to choose someone that you can trust to give you their undivided attention for at least the first 3-5 days following your surgery. 

Tip Number Two— Don’t Be Intimidated by the Drains 

Scared Woman

During your Tummy Tuck surgery, it’s likely that your surgeon will place tiny tubes that are attached to a small bulb called JP (Jackson Pratt) drains. They can feel somewhat awkward, but it’s rare that they cause much discomfort. They are placed to collect blood and other excess fluid from the surgical site, and your surgeon will want to monitor the content of your drains as an important indicator of how you are healing. “These drains are vital to your recovery and help to mitigate complications. Without them, the risk of issues like an infection or a painful seroma rises significantly. Our goal is to make sure that you heal as quickly and safely as possible, and drains are a part of that process”, says Dr. Rechner. They may sound a little gross, but the alternative could be much worse! We understand that drains can feel intimidating, which is why we take extra care to educate you about your drains ahead of time.

Tip Number Three— Don’t Over Do It 

Woman worn out after too much exercise.

Even if you are feeling great in the weeks following your surgery, healing from a Tummy Tuck can be quite the process for your body. It’s important that you refrain from heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the first few weeks. Dr. Rechner says, “While we don’t want you confined to bed following surgery, we also don’t want you to immediately return to your normal activities either. This can lead to excess swelling and other more serious complications that might bring you back to the OR. For the first three to six weeks your focus should be on giving your body time to heal.” We recommend only light activities like walking and a focus on a healthy diet that consists of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lots of fluids." Some signs that you’ve over done it are increased swelling, excessive fatigue, new or worsening pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are accompanied with a fever, it’s worth a quick call to your surgeon. 

Questions? We Are Here to Help 

We expect that you’ll have questions about your Tummy Tuck surgery and encourage you to ask them. The staff and surgeons at Centre for Plastic Surgery believe that an open communication and proper education leads to the best results. If you have concerns or just need clarification you can contact us at any time. We are happy to help! 

Content written by Julia Weston & Benjamin P. Rechner, MD