Indiana tummy tuck patients at my plastic surgery practice come from throughout the Schererville, Merrillville, and Valparaiso area and love their results. Most of them wish they’d taken the plunge earlier than they did. Knowing how many of my patients are considering this procedure, I’m sharing these tips to make recovery even easier!
Get Time Off
You’re going to want a minimum of one week to recover; most of my tummy tuck patients find that 10 to 14 days is even better. If you have a job that involves lifting, you’ll need to either take more time away from work or be temporarily reassigned to a position with no lifting. Taking time off from work and avoiding strenuous activities are even more important if your tummy tuck surgery was combined with other surgeries as part of a mommy makeover.
Get Extra ZZZs
Sleep is Mother Nature’s healer! Some of my patients find that a recliner gives them the best sleep, while others discover that tucking a pillow beneath their knees is adequate. Find what works for you and get that extra sleep! Learn more about the factors that can affect getting a good night’s sleep after surgery in this study published in Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology.
Lifting little ones in and out of the stroller, highchair, tub or car seat; lifting groceries out of the cart and into the car and cabinets; moving furniture around to run the vac—all these activities must be done by someone else while you’re recovering. It’s best to set this up in advance—perhaps your spouse can take a week off, or a relative can visit. Even a local teen hired to help after school can give you the assistance you’ll be grateful to have!
After your tummy tuck, you’ll have to shuffle slowly in a slightly bent-over position for a few days because your tummy will be super tight. While rest is important to recovery, moving is also essential. Get up every hour and walk around the bedroom. Extend this, when you’re comfortable, to a short walk around the main floor of your home, then outside. Don’t overtax yourself, but do get moving, as it will speed recovery and help you feel emotionally better, too! And stay away from the gym until I give you the OK, OK?
Get Healed Without Infection
- If you smoke, quit at least 4 weeks before and remain smoke-free for 4 weeks after your tummy tuck. Smoking takes oxygen away from your tissues, where you need it to heal. Hopefully, after a month without tobacco, you’ll be able to quit forever!
- Use a chlorhexidine solution in the shower the night prior to or morning of your procedure. It runs around $9 at Walgreens, although other pharmacies sell it, as does Amazon.
- Follow the instructions I give you for wound care and take special care not to get your sutures wet.
- If you see oozing and/or redness/soreness around your sutures, call us and come in.
- It’s important to empty the drains as they fill or at least every couple of hours. After the draining has stopped, I’ll take the drains out.
It’s pretty common to have constipation after any abdominal surgery. Here are some helpful tips to keep things moving:
- Some of my tummy tuck patients take an over-the-counter stool softener the day before surgery to avoid the constipation that occurs with post-op pain medications.
- Avoid straining with bowel movements.
- Drink a lot of water, i.e., 8 to 10 glasses every day. Soda, tea, coffee, and other beverages can be added, but aren’t included in that count, so think water, water, water!
- Avoid these constipation-causing foods for the first week after your procedure:
- Red meat
- Dairy products, especially cheese
- Baked goods such as cake and pie
- Fried foods like fries and chips
- Too much salt can dehydrate you, worsening constipation
- If you become constipated, try these tips:
- Drink a cup of hot black coffee
- Eat beans and/or other legumes
- Enjoy a handful of berries or other fresh fruit several times a day
- Eat a handful of nuts 2 to 3 times a day—opt for raw nuts rather than roasted/salted nuts
We’ll give you prescriptions for pain medication prior to your surgery. Even if you don’t like taking medicine, fill the prescriptions. After a tummy tuck, you’ll have a sense of tightness, tenderness, and discomfort in both the front and back of your abdomen. Most patients find that pain medication, when taken appropriately, makes recovery much easier. A short course of pain medication won’t make you addicted to it.
It’s a Long-Term Investment in Yourself
After seeing my tummy tuck before & after photos, you’ll know that you’re going to look and feel super after your recovery is complete. Understanding that it’s not an overnight transformation will make the weeks of discomfort and several months of restricted activity much more tolerable. In a separate post, I gave tips for preparing for a tummy tuck.
It Will Change You—Physically and Emotionally
When you look in the mirror after your tummy tuck recovery is complete, you’ll feel younger, sexier,and delighted with your body! In the meantime, keep in mind the 3 R’s of plastic surgery: Risks, Recovery and Rewards. If you understand the risks and follow my instructions during recovery, you’ll reap the rewards of a renewed figure!
Call one of my two Indiana plastic surgery offices today at at 800-721-3244 or complete this online consultation request form for more information about a tummy tuck.
To your health & beauty,
Gus Galante, MD, FACS
Board-certified Indiana plastic surgeon