Tummy Tuck is one of the most-requested cosmetic surgeries for men as well as women. Despite its name, the procedure is much more than a “little nip and tuck.” It is a midsection makeover that eliminates excess fat and skin and also tightens abdominal muscles, if needed. Here at Image Surgical Arts, Dr. Brady Harris often extends the procedure all around the torso, using liposuction to remove excess fat and re-contour the back, sacrum, and flanks as well as the abdomen.
Tummy Tuck can produce life-changing results, but it is serious surgery, so naturally you can expect some downtime for recovery before you can go back to your normal routine or see final physical results.
Just What Will That Recovery Be Like?
The experience can differ somewhat from patient to patient. Recovery depends on your age and overall health but a Tummy Tuck procedure is also individually tailored, so your surgery will be unique to you and your body. You may have a full procedure to address your abdomen and tummy (above and below the waist) plus nearby areas as noted earlier. Or, you may undergo just a mini-tuck to tighten up your tummy below the waist.
Nonetheless, once your surgery is complete the process of Tummy Tuck recovery is essentially the same for everyone.
- This is an outpatient procedure, performed in our own accredited surgical center. You will need to have someone drop you off and then pick you up following your surgery. You’ll be ready to go after spending an hour or so in our recovery room.
- We will give you detailed written instructions to take home, so you’ll know exactly how to care for your incision site(s) and so on. We’ll go over everything before you leave, and we always encourage you to call if you have any questions.
- As the anesthesia starts to wear off, you will feel discomfort, but we will prescribe pain medication and muscle relaxers to help with that for the first few days.
- Initial swelling and bruising will gradually diminish, however you will have to wear a compression garment as instructed, perhaps for several weeks. This garment is essential for proper recovery. It not only helps reduce swelling and bruising, it supports your skin and muscles as they heal.
- You will need to take things easy for the first 5-7 days, then you’ll be able to gradually increase your activity level. By the end of the second week, most patients are back to normal work or other daily routine. While everyone’s recovery is a little different, we encourage you to listen to your body!
- No smoking! Smoking restricts blood flow, and recovery requires good circulation. Dr. Harris will require that you stop at least 6 weeks prior to your surgery and another 6 weeks afterward. (What a great time to quit altogether!) You’ll want to stay away from alcohol for the first few weeks as well and definitely never mix alcohol with your prescribed medications.
Tips to Make Your Recovery Faster and Smoother
- Plan in advance to get some help, at least for the first couple of days, and especially if you have small children. You will not be able to bend over or lift things, and you’ll be sore. Having someone else handle cooking and cleaning, the kids and the dog will boost your mood as well as your recovery.
- Results are permanent, as long as you do your part as long as you maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, nothing will completely stop the aging process. Most important? Follow Dr. Harris’ orders! If you try to rush things or cut corners, your recovery will take longer. You could even endanger your results. This is the time to take it easy and give your body time to heal.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly provide long-lasting health benefits and will help you maintain a stable weight.
You probably won’t look back on your Tummy Tuck recovery and think it was fun or easy. But knowing what to expect and following the doctor’s orders will make the time go as quickly as possible and give you the best possible results.
So What Now?
If you're still researching, we fully support that journey! Download our free eBook below to learn all there is to know about the procedure. If you're ready to start on your own personalized surgical plan, schedule your consultation today!