Tummy tuck recovery periods can be variable based on the degree of muscle tightening, the degree of skin excision, and the patient’s pain threshold. Patients are generally instructed to stay in a partially flexed position for the first week, making it difficult to be completely functional. Additionally, for several days after surgery, you will consume pain medications around the clock, thus making your gait unsteady. As such, securing a responsible adult who can assist you during this early postoperative period following your cosmetic procedure is beneficial.
In the second week, you can stand up straight as the swelling resolves and the skin recoils. A good indicator of when you can start standing straight is when your discomfort lessens, and you begin to taper your pain medications. Approximately two weeks after surgery, your drainage tubes will be removed, allowing you to resume showering. By the third week, you should expect to be completely off of your pain pills and be able to drive a car and take care of all of your chores. You can also return to light physical activity, such as walking around the neighborhood.
By one month, you will graduate to full physical activity and appreciate 80% resolution of swelling. At six weeks, you may consider strenuous activity. By three months, you will be in full stride with 90% of swelling resolved and enjoying your normal daily routine activity.
By six months, you should be completely back to your normal weight and enjoying your new figure, with tightened abdominal muscles, wrinkle-free abdominal skin, and narrowed waistline. The tummy tuck recovery process can be one of the more regimented plastic surgery procedures secondary to repairing loosened muscles.
Muscle repair, termed muscle plication, describes a maneuver that involves the strategic stitching of the abdominal muscles that have stretched out following weight gain or pregnancy. Much like a brassiere, your new abdomen will be pulled in, giving you several inches of size reduction in your waistline. Unfortunately, muscle plication can be painful as the muscle contains the highest density of sensory nerve fibers after bone.
Patients have noted significant gains in the healing process as early as two weeks following surgery. Although heavy lifting and strenuous exercise can not be resumed for two weeks, most patients will be pleasantly surprised to find they can perform most routine duties after removing their drains. Drains are required since a large abdominal cavity is created by undermining performed to trim redundant skin maximally.
Tummy tuck recovery at our center is tolerable using Exparel, a long-acting numbing medicine that keeps you pain-free for the first four days. However, by two weeks after your tummy tuck procedure, most patients will be off their pain medications and thus be able to perform their daily routine events.
Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips
Patients universally demonstrate easier tummy tuck recovery experience following the administration of Exparel, even though this medicine is only effective for the first four days. This relief is possible because the most discomfort following surgery is experienced in the first three days. Increased pain results from swelling of the tissues from a blood-related fluid oozing, called third spacing. Another measure to encourage early return to normal activity is compliance with wearing your compression garments. Compression garments provide two benefits. The first benefit is that it will limit the degree of swelling by providing physical compression of oozing vessels. The second benefit of compression garments is that the physical pressure directly suppresses the firing of pain fibers.
If you are interested in a tummy tuck, we encourage you to consult to discuss the details of your tummy tuck recovery and how we can make your journey pleasant.