It’s not true that you can’t have a flat and toned abdomen once you’ve had a baby or two, gained excess weight, or reached a certain age. The tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, may be exactly what you need to flatten your tummy. It can also give you a good reason to rebuild your beach-friendly wardrobe, and there’s no end to what it can do for your self-confidence.
But what’s the recovery process like? Is there a lot of pain and discomfort? How long does it take for the stitches to heal? And when can I go back to work or shop for that new wardrobe?
Robert J. Brueck, M.D., is a well-respected and skilled cosmetic surgeon who’s tucked plenty of tummies for men and women at his practice Beauty by Brueck, which has locations in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Punta Gorda, Florida. He notes that abdominoplasty does require some downtime — usually about two weeks — but knowing what to expect and how to prepare for healing at home can help your recovery go smoothly.
Preparing to heal
Because the recovery process following a tummy tuck can vary slightly from individual to individual, Dr. Brueck will provide detailed recovery instructions specific to your needs.
In general, however, abdominoplasty is outpatient surgery. This means there’s no overnight hospital stay, but you’ll need someone to drive you home after the procedure. You’ll also need someone to spend the evening with you.
Steps you can take before the surgery to help ensure a successful recovery after a tummy tuck include:
Schedule time off
Schedule at least a two-week absence from work. You may need to schedule more time off if your job requires strenuous physical activity.
Clear a path to the bathroom and remove fall risks, such as loose throw rugs, since you can expect to be a little unsteady on your feet for a few days.
Set up a place to relax
Set up a cozy area in your home to rest and recoup, placing books and electronics within easy reach.
Line up friends or family to help with meals, dressing changes, and other tasks for a few days after the procedure
What to expect at home after surgery
You’ll still be under the effects of anesthesia your first night home, and you’ll likely spend most of it sleeping.
Following the surgery, Dr. Brueck will place drains to remove excess fluids from around the surgical site. These small, thin tubes will typically remain in place for several days. There will also be sutures at the incision site. Follow all care instructions carefully to help prevent infection and unexpected scarring.
You’ll likely be provided a compression garment or elastic bandage to wear during your recovery phase. This will help minimize swelling and provide much-needed support as your abdominal muscles heal. The garment or bandage can easily be hidden under a loose shirt or blouse.
Expect to get up and take a slow walk around your home the morning after your procedure and at regular intervals after that. This will help speed healing, as it will help restore circulation and decrease fluid accumulation at the surgical site and in your extremities.
You can expect pain, but it’s not typically overbearing. Dr. Brueck will prescribe medications for your discomfort, which should wane rapidly. Discomfort should resolve within a couple of weeks. You may experience mild abdominal soreness for several weeks, however, and we generally ask that you avoid strenuous exercise for six weeks.
For more information about the tummy tuck procedure and what it can do for your self-confidence, call Beauty by Brueck today to schedule your consultation.