Many people underestimate the full extent of a tummy tuck procedure and don’t realize that not only is excess skin removed, the remaining tissue is then stretched and repositioned entirely. It is an extensive procedure and although there is pain involved in the post-operative recovery, each patient’s recovery experience is slightly different. This makes it impossible to say exactly how you will feel after surgery. There are a few concepts that can be discussed, however, that will give you a better idea as to how you may feel after an abdominoplasty procedure.
Just like each recovery is unique, each tummy tuck procedure is slightly different from the next. This means that the type of pain and amount of discomfort felt by each person is, understandably, also different. Pain experienced post operatively largely correlates to the extent of the procedure performed. This includes factors like whether or not liposuction was preformed in conjunction with the tummy tuck and the type of tummy tuck performed. Patients who undergo a circumferential tummy tuck (a tuck that goes all the way around the body), for example, will likely have a longer and more uncomfortable recovery than someone who undergoes a mini tummy tuck procedure.
As far as the type of pain and location that is felt, there are a couple of experiences commonly reported by patients post operatively. If painful, patients will usually notice discomfort in the upper abdomen, as opposed to the lower abdomen where the incision was made. At first this may seem confusing, but it is easily explained by the fact that the lower abdomen is actually numbed as a result of the abdominal tissues being lifted and repositioned, thereby knocking out nerves in the lower abdominal area. The upper abdomen, however, contains many nerves that are still intact and that may cause pain to be felt in that area.
The type of pain felt post-operation varies. It is not uncommon, as an example, for it to take up to six weeks for muscle spasms in the abdomen to ease and nerves to recover. After a tummy tuck procedure, nerves recover from the outside in towards your belly button and some, typically under the belly button, never recover at all. In most cases though, patients report that the first ten days after the operation are the most uncomfortable and that the discomfort lessens exponentially after that point. The pins and needles sensation is very common during the recovery. Most people find this sensation tolerable.
Your own pain tolerance is one of the most important things to consider when assessing how much pain you may experience after an abdominoplasty procedure. Some patients do not feel the need to complete the standard pain medications prescribed post operatively. Others, however, require a refill on pain medication or the use of a constant rate of infusion of medicine. The infusion is a relatively new method of pain control for patients at home post-operation. This pain control is typically supplied through a small pump that the patient wears for a few days after the operation. When trying to decide how you might feel after a tummy tuck, think about how you have healed from any injuries in the past. That should give you a relatively good understanding of how you may heal from a tummy tuck.
The extent of abdominoplasty procedures leaves potential for, what some patients describe as a long and painful recovery. Here at Edelstein Cosmetic however, our patients usually experience minimal post-operative pain due to excellent pain management coupled with thorough home care instructions. All of our surgeries are overseen and monitored by a board certified anesthesiologist and follow up examinations will be with your specific surgeon. As always, be sure to call and schedule a consultation with a doctor to address your specific questions and concerns.
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