The healing time for a given procedure varies between different patients. The following represents the general recovery you might expect following your abdominoplasty. Individual tummy tuck patients may experience variations from this course.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR TUMMY TUCK IN TORONTO
When you awake from your surgery you will be in the recovery room. Your incision will be well hidden in the low bikini line and groin. You will have your support garment on, and one or two soft drains will be exiting from the pubic area (2 drains in all). You may feel some incisional pain and discomfort, but this is generally well controlled by pain medications.
If you are not staying overnight, you will be able to go home when you have fully recovered from the sedation.
ACTIVITY LEVEL DURING YOUR RECOVERY FROM TUMMY TUCK SURGERY
Immediately after surgery, the skin will feel tight. For the first 2-3 days, you are encouraged to walk slightly bent forward to avoid pulling on the incision line, and to put pillows under your knees and your head when you’re reclining so you’re bent at the waist. You can also sleep on your side in a slight ‘fetal’ position (ie bent at the waist). You may find it difficult to rise from a lying position and it will be easier to turn on your side, allow your legs to hang over the side and slowly use your arms to raise yourself to a sitting position before rising. Avoid sitting up in a chair for the first week.
You should plan to be off work for 2-3 weeks. During that time you should take it easy – a little stroll as your tummy tuck exercises is okay but not much more. We encourage you not to spend all your time in bed. This will minimize the risk of deep clots in your leg veins.
Avoid straining, lifting, and bending completely over. You may be able to begin cardio type physical activity at 3-4 weeks. Strenuous physical activity (like lifting weights, abdominal crunches) is not permitted until 6 weeks after surgery.
WASHING TO PROMOTE TUMMY TUCK HEALING
On the third day after your surgery, you can take a shower (eg if your surgery was on a Thursday, you can shower on Sunday). Do not sit in a bath.
When taking a shower, remove the support garment and underlying dressing. The small white tapes (called steri-strips) over your incision should be left on.
You will need to hold the drains in your hand while you shower. You can wet and soap the tapes and your incision. Use mild soap such as Dove or Ivory. Pat yourself dry using a towel (do not rub) and put the dressing pad and support garment back on. This daily routine will help keep the incision and drain sites clean, and will promote wound healing.
Taking a bath will only be possible once the drains are out, the sutures around your belly-button are out and the incisions are well on their way to being healed (approximately 2 weeks).
Avoid swimming pools or whirlpools for at least 1 month.
TUMMY TUCK DRAINS
Drains are used to remove any excess fluid or blood, preventing accumulations under the skin that would promote swelling after tummy tuck surgery. Both drains are usually removed within 2 weeks. Occasionally, they need to be left in longer.
Before you are discharged home, the nurse will show you how to empty your drains, but here are a few reminders:
Record the Drainage in following format:
|DATE||TIME||DRAIN SITE (if more than 1 drain)||AMOUNT (in cc’s)|
SUPPORT GARMENT WORN DURING RECOVERY TIME FOR TUMMY TUCK
The garment is necessary to support the tightening of your abdominal muscles. It will help to decrease swelling, prevent the accumulation of fluid under the skin, and to conform the skin to its new position, maximizing the cosmetic outcome. Failure to comply with garment instructions will increase the risk of seroma formation and suboptimal results.
The garment should be worn day and night for 3 weeks, removing it only to shower or wash the garment. From 3 to 6 weeks, the garment should be worn during the day, but you can take it off at night.
The support garment should cover the incision – if you notice it has slid upwards, you can slide it back down by pulling down at the sides.
CARE OF YOUR TUMMY TUCK INCISION
Most of the stitching is dissolvable and woven under the skin to prevent stitch marks. Some of the stitches around the belly-button are non-dissolvable and will be removed 2 weeks after the surgery.
Once a steri-strip (the little white tapes over your tummy tuck incision) starts to curl up at it’s edge, you can remove it the rest of the way and throw it out. After the steri-strips are removed, no dressing will be required over the incision. At this point, you can begin using a scar cream such as Dermatix.
Avoid direct sunlight to the incision line as this may result in pigmentation changes. This is particularly true during the first year after the surgery. Never expose the incision to sunlight without sunblock – use SPF 30 or greater.
Scars will initially be red and a little raised, but over 3-6 months they usually get lighter in colour and flatten out.
The quality of your tummy tuck results may be compromised if you fail to return for any scheduled post-op visits, or follow the pre- and post-operative instructions.
Don’t hesitate to report any unusual or concerning changes during your tummy tuck recovery time.
Consult With Us
Before undergoing any Plastic Surgery Canada procedure, consult an experienced and reputable Plastic Surgeon. Book your consultation at our plastic surgery clinic in Toronto by calling (416) 256-4194 or by clicking here.Contact Us