A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, removes excess skin and fat while restoring weakened stomach muscles to create a firmer, smoother midsection. It is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures performed today, giving men and women the flat, toned stomach they always wanted. Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Miami, FL. At his premier state-of-the-art surgical facility, Dr. LaGrasso has helped countless patients with this body contouring procedure. Whether or not it is a mini or full tummy tuck, the recovery goal is the same – giving patients an excellent outcome.
If you are considering abdominoplasty, here are some helpful tummy tuck recovery tips to optimize your results.
Is there a tummy tuck recovery timeline?
It is natural for patients to want their bodies to bounce back after cosmetic surgery, but it is crucial to take the right amount of time to heal properly. For men and women considering a tummy tuck, it is essential to know what to expect with the recovery period and to be fully prepared. There is no concrete timeline to follow, as every patient's recovery will vary, based on the following factors:
- Type of tummy tuck procedure
- Overall general health
- Post-op care
During a one-on-one consultation, Dr. LaGrasso will discuss in detail what his patients can expect with their tummy tuck surgery. Since recovery times vary, a general guideline to follow is most patients feel back to normal in about 6 – 8 weeks.
What are helpful tummy tuck recovery tips?
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Patients who are in good health and physical condition before surgery generally have a better chance for a smoother recovery. Patients should maintain their ideal weight and healthy diet before and after their tummy tuck surgery. Ongoing weight fluctuations post-op can alter a person's results. Also, Miami, FL patients who currently smoke should quit at least six weeks before surgery and forgo smoking afterward. Smoking can hinder the healing process and can cause unnecessary complications.
2. Be prepared at home
Rest is an essential part of tummy tuck recovery. Before the procedure, patients should have their space at home prepared with their favorite books, magazines, or TV shows cued up. It will give patients peace of mind before surgery. It is also imperative to have help from family or friends for at least the first 48 hours following surgery. If patients have children, especially with a tummy tuck procedure, an extra set of hands is vital to avoid lifting or straining the abdominal area, which can cause complications during the recovery.
3. Sleeping and light activity
At home, patients will need to rest at an incline for the first few days. Keeping the upper body raised, with knees slightly bent at an angle, will help reduce any swelling that may occur when lying down. While getting plenty of rest is critical for the first two weeks, light walking is also encouraged after surgery. It decreases the chance of a blood clot forming in the legs and maintains proper blood flow, which aids in the healing process.
4. Daily care and maintenance
Part of following the surgeon's instructions means learning how to properly care for the incision area and for any drainage tubes, if necessary, to avoid infection. Compression garments should be worn as instructed for abdominal support and to reduce any inflammation or discomfort. Patients should also drink plenty of water to flush the body of any toxins, which will help reduce swelling.
5. Tummy tuck scarring
As with any surgical procedure, there will be an incision scar afterward. It will take several months to a year for it to begin fading to a more skin-tone color. Following post-op instructions is essential for an incision to heal properly. If given any topical creams, apply those as directed to the incision site. Patients should also avoid any excessive force, abrasion, or motion to the abdominal area during recovery.
6. Set your expectations before surgery
Be prepared to take time to recover. Most patients take up to a month off from work, especially if they have a more physically demanding job. Even when feeling better, patients should avoid exercising or any strenuous activity for the first 4 – 6 weeks, or until cleared by their surgeon. Driving or cooking is usually manageable after a week or two. Miami, FL patients also won't be hitting the beach in their new swimsuit right away. It can take up to three months for swelling and bruising to go down completely, so be patient.
7. Listen to your surgeon
It is important that patients thoroughly follow all their post-surgical care instructions. Don't overdo any activities, even if you are feeling better and take all medications as instructed. This will help ensure that you have optimal results.
If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure, we invite you to schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey LaGrasso. His private practice, in Miami, FL, is an established and renowned surgical facility helping women and men accomplish their aesthetic goals with dramatic results.