Tummy Tuck Recovery Timeline
Mar 6, 2014 @ 02:55 PM — by Dina Eliopoulos
One important aspect of preparing any patient for a plastic surgery procedure is ensuring that they understand and are prepared for the time that will be required to fully recover from surgery. During a tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Dina A. Eliopoulos makes alterations to a patient’s midsection to create a more toned and tightened appearance. The tummy tuck procedure often involves removal of excess fat and tissue, repair of the abdominal muscles, redraping of the skin, and possibly liposuction for removal of localized fat deposits. As a result, our Chelsmford patients should allow ample time for tummy tuck recovery. Below is a basic timeline for some of the key aspects of tummy tuck surgery:
- Compression garments and drainage tubes: Following tummy tuck surgery, the patient will return home with compression garments and drainage tubes. The drainage tubes allow the body to eliminate any excess blood or fluid from the body. This, as well as the compression garments, helps to reduce swelling during recovery. While the compression garments should be worn for several weeks, the drainage tubes will be removed between seven and 10 days after surgery.
- Pain or discomfort: Anesthesia is used to keep the patient pain-free during the tummy tuck procedure and the effects of this anesthesia may extend beyond surgery. However, in the first few days following a tummy tuck, it is common for patients to experience mild to moderate discomfort. Dr. Eliopoulos will prescribe a pain medication that may be used as directed to help manage this symptom.
- Swelling and bruising: Swelling and bruising are the two most common side effects of tummy tuck surgery. While the compression garments will help alleviate swelling, it is normal for some swelling to remain for several weeks after surgery. Although the swelling will gradually improve, it may take up to six weeks before swelling has subsided enough for the full results of surgery to become apparent. Bruising will resolve more quickly and often lasts little more than a week.
- Physical activity: The first 24 hours of recovery should be devoted to rest. During the first week of recovery it is still important to avoid most physical activity. We do advise short walks around the house but anything more strenuous than that could interfere with the healing process. After the first week of surgery, walking and light activities can gradually be increased. By around four weeks after surgery, patients can begin adding light exercises into their routine, and by six weeks after surgery, most patients can resume a normal workout routine.
- Scars: Tummy tuck surgery will result in scars. While Dr. Eliopoulos will place the scars strategically so that they can be hidden, even by a bathing suit, patients should understand that scars are unavoidable. Initially after surgery, the incision site will be raised and bright red in color. Gradually, the scars will lighten in color and become less obvious in appearance. Once the incisions sites have healed, creams can be used to help the scars fade. It can take a full year for scars to heal to their final stage of appearance.
Schedule an Appointment
While the tummy tuck procedure does require a lengthy recovery, most patients find that it is worth it when they finally experience the slim, toned, tummy that they had hoped for. If you have been unable to achieve the waistline you desire through diet and exercise, schedule an appointment with Dr. Dina A. Eliopoulos to learn more about tummy tuck surgery. We look forward to hearing from you!