In order to make sure you get the best results possible, you need to take tummy tuck recovery seriously. A tummy tuck removes any hanging skin and excess fat around the abdomen, resulting in a trim, toned stomach, and is a popular procedure after major weight loss or pregnancy, helping patients show off their new and fit physique or reclaim their pre-pregnancy body.
The last thing you want to do is complicate your health and new flat tummy by not adhering to the guidelines of a tummy tuck recovery plan. There are certain things you need to avoid during the process to make sure there are no complications, that all sutures heal properly, and you get long-lasting results. Dr. Leo Lapuerta is a triple-board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience performing various surgeries, including tummy tucks, helping patients in Houston, Pearland, and Katy, Texas, say “bye-bye” to their belly. Here is his list of exactly what recovering patients need to avoid after a tummy tuck procedure.
Don’t Attempt Recovery Solo
During tummy tuck recovery, you will need help. Even if you are usually an independent person in every phase of your life, you need to let your guard down and ask your support system for help. This can be friends, family, coworkers, or any other individual who cares about you. Tummy tuck recovery involves a lot of rest, and you will not be able to perform a lot of the daily tasks that are a standard part of your everyday life. That is why you need to make arrangements before the procedure to make sure you and your support system are prepared for your recovery.
Don’t Stay Totally Sedentary
Following surgery, you will likely be tired and in some discomfort, and all you will want to do is rest. This will be especially true if your plastic surgeon also utilized liposuction to help you get the best possible results. However, after surgery, it is important to get your blood flowing to avoid the formation of blood clots. You may be asked to walk around as early as the first day of your tummy tuck recovery, with a friend or family member assisting you as you try to get your blood pumping to aid the healing process. No matter what, do not walk around alone, since your balance and strength can be affected for the first couple of days following the surgery.
No Alcohol with Pain Medication
If you are prescribed pain medication to help treat any discomfort, then you need to avoid drinking alcohol. Mixing alcohol with pain medication is always a bad idea, especially if your body is recovering from a surgical procedure and your surgery required the use of anesthesia.
No Nicotine of Any Kind
Nicotine can hurt the healing process. You need to avoid smoking for at least the first six weeks of tummy tuck recovery, as smoking can lead to complications and hinder your ability to fully recover.
Avoid Strenuous Activities and Lifting Heavy Objects
In the early phase of your tummy tuck recovery, you want to avoid putting needless pressure on your incision site. Lifting heaving objects and other strenuous activities—moving any objects over five pounds, bending and twisting for household chores, and other exercises—are huge hindrances that will easily cause pressure. Patients are generally asked to avoid strenuous activities for six weeks following surgery.
Stay Home from Work for Two to Three Weeks
You cannot recover from tummy tuck surgery at work. You need to be at home, comfortable, and relaxed for two to three weeks following surgery. Tummy tuck recovery is different for everyone, and some patients have returned to work in as little as 10 days; however, the typical patient needs to take at least 14 days off to give themselves the time they need to heal.
Keep Your Scar Out of the Sun
Regardless of whether you undergo a full tummy tuck or mini tummy tuck, the incision is strategically made in order to hide the resulting scar from being easily visible. Depending on the skill and expertise of your plastic surgeon, the incision should be made in such a way that it cannot be seen when you are wearing clothing, even if you are in a swimsuit. However, during tummy tuck recovery, it is the patient’s responsibility to do everything possible to help the scar properly heal so that it will fade over time. That means keeping the scar out of the sun, since the sun will make the scar worse via causing inflammation and discoloration. If you are unable to avoid the sun, liberally apply sunscreen and reapply at least every hour.
Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach
If you are a stomach sleeper, you’ll want to practice sleeping in a different position in the weeks leading up to surgery. Until all soreness has gone away, you are advised to avoid sleeping on your stomach. Not only will this help you avoid discomfort while sleeping, but it also will put less stress on your stomach when you try to switch from a lying position to a sitting position.
Avoid Drastic Weight Gain
Now that you have a firm stomach, you need to avoid any drastic weight fluctuations. A tummy tuck is a long-lasting and effective procedure that removes excess hanging skin from around the belly, but gaining weight will reverse the effects of the procedure. Your skin will stretch back out, resulting in a return of the dreaded loose skin that your tummy tuck surgery removed. In order to make sure the results of your tummy tuck last, try to keep your weight from going above the level it was at when you underwent the procedure.
Schedule a Tummy Tuck Consultation with Dr. Lapuerta
If you are curious about what the tummy tuck recovery process will be like, schedule a consultation with Dr. Leo Lapuerta. Dr. Lapuerta partners with the patient to clearly communicate everything they need to know, including what to avoid after a tummy tuck. Each patient’s recovery process will be different, so it is important to have a plastic surgeon who is able to explain exactly what tummy tuck recovery will be like on an individual basis. Dr. Lapuerta has earned an excellent reputation as a plastic surgeon who is able to talk to patients in a relatable way, answering any and all questions the patient may have. If you are interested in learning more about the tummy tuck recovery process or would like to request a consultation, contact Dr. Lapuerta today.