Tummy tuck procedure creates a flatter, more toned abdomen. Aside from removing the apron-like skin, it is also important to tighten the loose muscle or fascia and reposition the navel so it will look proportionate to the hips and waistline, thus creating a more natural result.
Due to the use of hip-to-hip incision in the lower abdomen, tummy tuck recovery is filled with “challenges” although studies after studies have shown that it has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates. In fact, one survey has suggested that it may encourage massive weight loss patients to stick to a healthy lifestyle to maintain their new contour.
- Do accept the prolonged downtime. It is best to prepare for at least a four-week recovery, despite promises made by some doctors that it could be shorter.
On average, patients are able to return to their desk job two weeks after surgery, although it might be helpful to work part-time temporarily to avoid undue stress that may compromise their healing.
- Be emotionally prepared. Most patients focus all their effort to prepare themselves physically, almost forgetting about the emotional aspect involved in tummy tuck recovery.
Due to the pain and lethargy, postop blues are not uncommon after tummy tuck surgery. For this reason, family support is more important than ever.
- Do accept help. The main focus of tummy tuck patients should be their recovery, thus household chores, childcare, and life’s daily responsibilities should take a back seat for a while. But for this possible, there must be at least one capable adult who will perform all these tasks, including the patient’s basic needs in the first few days postop.
- Don’t remain in bed. Prolonged immobility not only increases the risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis), but can also lead to poor healing, weight gain, persistent swelling, lethargy, and other untoward side effects. The general rule of thumb is to take a few short walks a day to promote good blood circulation.
- Don’t expect a skinny appearance in an instant. The swelling can take several weeks to dissipate, so a prudent patient should not expect to jump into a pair of overly tight jeans any time soon.
- Don’t hesitate to communicate with a plastic surgeon. A patient should express her concerns (e.g., tummy tuck scars that remain obvious, mood swings and depression, signs of complications, etc.) to her doctor no matter how trivial they might appear.