Our doctors have performed hundreds of tummy tuck surgeries at our state-of-the-art surgical center. They understand the concerns that our patients have before their surgery and while it is second nature to us, we realize that surgery raises a lot of questions. We want to provide general information based on the most commonly asked questions that patients have asked during their pre-surgery appointments.
As always, you can contact our office for further information if needed. We have several staff available to help you get through your recovery from the day of surgery, until you are fully recovered.
DAY OF TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
After your surgery, you will be monitored in Cassileth Plastic Surgery’s surgical recovery area until you are fully awake and alert. Once you are up on your feet, we will help you move around, get dressed and prepare to be discharged. You will have waterproof dressings on your incisions, which are to be left in place until your next visit. You will also have a drain, which is necessary to assist with excess fluid and to ensure fluid doesn’t collect and cause an infection.
Our anesthesiologist will release you with instructions concerning your pain medication. Usually you will be prescribed Norco or another pain medication and you will likely be on it for about a week. You can ask any questions you have about drug interactions or how to take the medication at this time, or you can call in later to discuss any concerns.
Your drain will need to be emptied and monitored. We will show you how to do this and how to measure the fluid output. The amount of fluid output over a 24-hour period will determine how long you need to have the drain. It will be in place for 3 to 7 days. The rule of thumb is that once the output drops to 30cc in a 24-hour period, the drain can be removed.
You will need to be driven home or to the recovery retreat you have selected and you will need an adult to stay with you for the first 24 hours at a minimum. With tummy tuck surgery, it is very helpful to have someone with you for a few days who can help with meals, keeping track of your medication schedule, deal with children, pets, phone calls, etc.
TUMMY TUCK PAIN MANAGEMENT
Tummy tuck surgery has traditionally been considered one of the more painful procedures until the release of an injectable anesthetic called Exparel. Our doctors have found that administering this long lasting anesthetic directly into the tissue during surgery provides dramatic pain relief. This anesthetic lasts for 3 days and combined with the prescribed pain medication, keeps patients very comfortable.
THE FIRST FEW WEEKS AFTER TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
You will need to rest as much as possible for the first week and you won’t have your normal energy. The comparison that many people have mentioned is it is similar to the energy level they have during a bout of the flu. Resting, drinking plenty of water, walking and stretching will help you recover as quickly as possible. Over-exerting yourself is easy after surgery, so be sure to adjust your activities accordingly.
Tummy tuck surgery is done to remedy two problems; excess skin and a protruding abdomen due to muscle damage. Not all people have both problems. A small percent of women won’t need the muscle repair usually necessary after pregnancy and will just have the excess skin removed as part of a mommy makeover. Patients who only need excess skin removed will have a faster recovery as the muscles will not be corrected by during the surgery.
WALKING AND STRETCHING DURING TUMMY TUCK SURGERY RECOVERY
During the procedure, the excess skin is removed, the muscles are repaired and the remaining skin is pulled very tight and sutured. Patients should try to walk upright and should stretch the area as much as possible. It will be normal to want to walk in a hunched position but this will not help the healing process. Normal walking and stretching won’t cause any damage or cause the sutures to come loose.
It will be more challenging for patients who have had muscle repair to force themselves to walk upright, but this is necessary to avoid complications. The Exparel and the prescribed pain medication should make it possible to do this without too much discomfort.
TUMMY TUCK INCISION CARE
Avoid any heavy lifting for 4 weeks. It is best not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk during this time. If you have small children, have someone assist you with them. Work on standing normally, as erect as possible whenever you are up.
Depending on the type of work you do, you may be able to return to work after 3 weeks. If your job requires lifting or is physically demanding, you should arrange to have a month to recover before trying to resume work. Ask the patient coordinator at Cassileth Plastic Surgery if you have any concerns about when to return to work.
Any type of high impact exercise should be avoided for 6 weeks. Some patients who have just had excess skin removed with no muscle repair might be able to resume high impact activities in 4 weeks. Check with the office before you begin high impact exercise. Running should not be resumed for 6 weeks.
Scars will resolve over time. The full recovery period for a tummy tuck is about a year. You will see the results of your tummy tuck long before this but it takes about a year for the scars to fully fade.
If you have any questions about anything related to your recovery process, don’t hesitate to call the office. The best Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Our team is here to support you throughout your recovery.
RESUMING NORMAL ACTIVITIES AFTER TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
The full result of your procedure will take several months to emerge. The best approach getting great results from your face surgery is to follow the Cassileth Plastic Surgery instructions carefully. If you have any questions, call the office as we are here to support you throughout your entire recovery period, and beyond!
- Get approval to be released from the surgery center after your operation.
- Learn how to empty the fluid drains which will need to remain in place for 3 to 7 days. Once the fluid is below 30 cc’s, the drains can be removed.
- Pick up your pain medication.
- Ensure you have a caregiver for the first 24 hours to help you with everyday tasks. Several days of assistance is preferable.
- Do not get the surgical site wet and do not remove the sterile dressing. If the dressing needs to be replaced, schedule a visit in the office.
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for the next 4 weeks.
- Avoid high-impact exercise for 6 weeks. Check with Cassileth Plastic Surgery before resuming these activities, including running.
Days 5 through 7
- Return to the office for your first checkup.
- Get lots of rest and limit overexerting yourself.
- Ensure you are walking upright to help maintain the abdominal muscles. This natural stretching will not damage your skin or your sutures and is part of the healing process.
- Return to office work.
- Return to more physically demanding work.
- Return to high-impact exercise and activity after checking in with Cassileth Plastic Surgery.
- Full recovery time for a tummy tuck