There are a number of different aspects that need to be considered when you’re planning a major surgical procedure such as a tummy tuck.
Your consultation will provide you with all of the details you need to prepare for your surgery as well as your recovery but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t educate yourself beforehand.
The more prepared you are, the more positive your surgical experience will be. While the weeks leading up to your surgery can be slightly nerve-racking, not knowing what to expect during your recovery can feel even worse.
Recovering from Abdominoplasty
Patience and a strong support system are key to having a smooth recovery. There is no way to accelerate your healing without it leading to complications, which is why knowing how to handle the side effects of your surgery can make this period a lot easier.
Along with a feeling of tightness and pain around your middle, swelling is one of the most common things to expect during your recovery. This is what you need to know about the swelling that will occur and how you can deal with it.
Tummy Tuck Swelling: Phase 1
Swelling is inevitable after a tummy tuck surgery but the worst of it will diminish after 2 months.
A tummy tuck surgeon such as Dr. will be able to help you track your recovery and healing during your follow-up appointments, ensuring that you’re always on track with regards to swelling reduction.
It should be noted that the area above your incision site will stay swollen for slightly longer than the rest of your stomach and will only be back to normal after 12 – 18 months.
Your lower abdomen will also appear bloated for a time, mainly because of the pain medication that you will be taking during your recovery, something that tends to slow down your digestive processes.
Tummy Tuck Swelling: Phase 2
Once the initial swelling has subsided, the tissues just above the scar on your lower abdomen will start to swell because of fluid not being able to move downwards.
Scar tissue tends to peak at around the 12-week mark, which is also when it will look the puffiest. Once the scar tissue begins to mature, the fluid movement will normalize, which means the remaining swelling will also subside – this usually takes 6 – 12 months.
During the final stage of the recovery process, your abdominal walls will start to stretch again to conform to your new shape. Naturally, patients who have a slim frame will tend to retain a flatter stomach than those who carry more weight inside their abdomens.
Tips for Reducing Tummy Tuck Swelling
Here are some basic tips that can help with the reduction of swelling during your tummy tuck recovery period.
- Elevate your legs. The more time you can spend lying down with your legs elevated, the easier it will be to reduce the swelling. Walking around every other hour is a must but make a point of spending as much time on your back as you can for at least 3 – 4 days after your surgery.
- Find out about compression garments. Placing slight pressure on the abdominal area can also help reduce swelling, so speak to your surgeon about a compression garment.
- Make sure your drains are working. Drains are used to heal the large internal abdominal wound and reduce swelling, which is why it’s important to make sure that they are working correctly until they need to be removed. You can check that they’re functioning correctly by emptying them every 8 hours and recording the drainage.
- Watch what you eat. Reducing your sodium intake is a simple and effective way to minimize and reduce swelling. To give your body everything it needs to heal, make sure that your diet contains foods that are high in essential vitamins and nutrients and that you’re staying hydrated.
Know that the recovery process can sound complex once you start your online research but your surgeon will be there to guide you every step of the way. You will always know exactly what to expect and what you should be doing during your recovery to achieve your desired outcome in the safest, most comfortable way possible.