Tummy tuck procedures are among the most sought after cosmetic surgeries today. The allure of a perfect flat tummy and the confidence to show it off drives most to seek after this surgical procedure. A large majority of individuals who consider having a tummy tuck mistakenly or otherwise due to misinformation, conceive this procedure to be a non-complicated affair. This is untrue. An abdominoplasty is a major surgery and like any other life saving surgeries, it requires planning, resources and comprehensive post-surgical care. Performed by a licensed professional, the results are quite pleasing. Almost always matching the individual’s expectations.
Now that the abdominoplasty is complete, what next? Despite the excitement and urge to immediately show off your tummy, don’t. A tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure which as soon as it is done, tons of care are necessary to ensure a smooth healing process and minimal scarring. Normally, you’ll feel swollen and a slight amount of pain as the anesthesia begins to wear off. It is recommended that you use pain medication and normally your doctor will prescribe some. Try to relax, after all the tough part is already done. Immediately the tummy tuck is done, the surgeon bandages up the abdominal region. This will minimize movement and basically hold you together till you’re healed.
The healing process will vary in length of time depending on the extent of the abdominoplasty procedure. The recovery process is divided into the following stages:
- First Stage: This is the immediate post-surgery phase. The individual is put under observation and assessment that is crucial is avoiding postoperative complications such as bleeding, skin loss or infections.
- Second Stage: This is the period between 2 to 6 weeks after the abdominoplasty procedure. Movement is possible but you’re highly advised against any activity that would put any sort of strain on your abdominal muscles. It’s normal to still experience a little discomfort. The doctor makes follow up assessments checking for any fluid buildup.
- Stage Three: This is typically anywhere between six weeks and six months. Your tummy more or less begins to feel like your own, the numbness has mostly dissipated and the incisions are healed. You might experience tingly or itchy sensations from time to time. This is completely normal.
- Stage Four: Past six months, the incisions are completely healed and the bandages are now long gone. You may show off you trim midsection as much as you want. After all you didn’t have a tummy tuck just to hide it now did you?
As soon as you’re checked out of the hospital, the surgeon or physician generally issues a set of post-surgical instructions such as how to clean your abdominal area, how to properly check for signs of infection and others. It is advisable to make routine visits back to the doctor. Along with the doctor’s specific instructions, there are several basic things generally considered mandatory if a well healed tummy tuck procedure is expected.
- Regularly monitor your body temperature. Fluctuations in body temperature are often an indicator for an infection. Where possible, regularly follow up with a C-Reactive Protein Test or CRP in short. This is a highly specific method of checking up on any infections.
- Stick to your prescriptions. Take your antibiotic medication and pain medication on time. I cannot insist how important antibiotics are to the healing process. A slight infection could mean the difference between life and death. There are nasty pathogens out there so watch out. At the same, in the event you’re concurrently on other medications such as birth control pills, it is advisable to notify the doctor. This allows for safe determination of the appropriate medication.
- Wear garments that provide abdominal support. These take the pressure off abdominal muscles allowing for faster healing.
- It is recommended to exercise once in awhile. This strengthens the abdominal muscles. Also drink plenty of fluids as this helps to keep the skin looking healthy and taut.
Having taken the courage to undergo a cosmetic surgery is a great step in improving one’s overall looks. It take courage to accept fault in one’s body and actually take corrective measures. Tummy tuck surgeries are not always for pregnant women. Despite the various challenges and risks, a well healed abdominoplasty is completely worth the trouble. Enjoy it!
Dr. Gregory H. Croll is the owner of his own practice, and the leading doctor for tummy tucks in Columbia, MO.