Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Woman showing off her stomach after a tummy tuck

Few cosmetic surgery procedures create as dramatic a transformation as a tummy tuck. My plastic surgery patients from Modesto, San Ramon, bay area, and throughout the valley consistently tell me how happy they are with the results. Tummy tuck surgery requires a longer downtime than most other plastic surgery procedures, but patients can make the recovery process go as smooth as possible by following some important guidelines.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

By planning ahead and ensuring you have a good support system in place, you can set the stage for a successful recovery after getting a tummy tuck. Here are some specific tips to follow:

Closely follow post-op instructions: Virtually all board-certified plastic surgeons provide detailed post-op instructions. I point out to my patients that these are instructions, not suggestions, and following them as closely as possible can reduce the length of their recoveries and minimize the risk of complications.

Make smart diet choices: Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes protein-rich foods such as chicken and salmon can help improve the healing process. Foods containing healthy fats and protein can minimize scarring, too. Preparing meals before the surgery helps immensely because you’ll already be relying on family and friends to help out with other chores.

Rest, but don’t forget to move around: Even though getting enough rest is very important, patients also need to walk around the house a few times a day starting on the day of the procedure to promote circulation. This low-level activity speeds up the healing process and greatly reduces the risk of blood clots.

Keep wearing those compression garments: Wearing compression garments as instructed helps minimize swelling and avoids having fluid accumulate around the abdominal area. These garments should fit snugly, but not so tight that they’re uncomfortable or painful. Contact your surgeon if that’s the case.

Don’t lay flat while sleeping: It’s important to sleep in an inclined position during the recovery to help the healing process. Sleeping in a recliner or using large pillows for support removes pressure from the abdomen.

Avoid constipation: Most pain medications and the general anesthetic used during surgery can inhibit bowel movements during the early stages of recovery. If constipation becomes an issue for you, contact your surgeon for advice about stool softeners.

Ask for help: Many patients value their independence and are accustomed to being self-reliant. However, recovering from major surgery such as a tummy tuck can prove too much for just about anyone to handle alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors. And if you have small children at home, you’ll need to plan on child care because you won’t be able to lift them for at least 1 or 2 weeks.

Even though recovering after a tummy tuck can sound a bit daunting, looking at before-and-after photos of actual patients helps illustrate why it’s worth it. If you’re considering a tummy tuck, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (209) 834-0626 to schedule an appointment.

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