A Tummy tuck surgery, or Abdominoplasty, is designed to remove excess skin and fat, and tighten abdominal muscles, which helps to flatten the midsection and improve waist contours. While this can be one of the most transformative cosmetic surgeries, it is also one of the most extensive plastic surgeries for the body.
As such, it is important that each patient knows what to expect following the procedure, including what it will feel like as they go through stages of recovery.
Will It Be Painful?
The amount of pain or discomfort patients experience postoperatively will vary depending on their tolerance for pain and the extent of the procedure performed. There are a few types of tummy tuck, including mini, full, and floating, each of which has unique characteristics and varying incision length. Muscle repair will contribute to a sensation of tightness which is temporary but uncomfortable for the first week or two.
In addition, some patients may opt to combine the procedure with liposuction, which will contribute to the post-op sensitivity they experience. In most instances, due to long-acting local anesthetic injected into the tissues during the procedure, the abdomen will remain numb for the first 12-24 hours, which helps minimize discomfort greatly.
In some cases, numbness, particularly below the belly button and above the incision, lasts for weeks or even months, as nerves regenerate. As a result, any pain that is experienced is typically in the upper abdomen and sides, where the nerves are less impacted and will recover first.
Individuals who have undergone liposuction will also notice sensitivity similar to a bruised feeling for one to two weeks in the upper abdomen or flanks. In order to manage any pain you may experience, your plastic surgeon will prescribe a pain medication to be taken as needed in early recovery.
What other feelings can I expect?
Following the procedure, the treatment area will appear swollen and as a result, may feel tight, particularly if excessive skin laxity was present prior to the surgery. You’ll be asked to bend slightly at all times for the first week and most patients describe a sensation of ‘tightness’ more so than pain. While most swelling will subside within two to three weeks of the procedure, residual swelling may take several months to resolve.
In addition, as you recover from abdominoplasty, you may also experience a number of other changes as your body adjusts to the modifications made during the procedure. While in most cases, these symptoms are subtle, you may feel phantom pains, tingles, itchiness or a warm sensation in the treatment area, as the affected nerves re-grow.
Muscle tightness, spasms, or pins and needles sensations are also common during recovery and may be experienced for four to six weeks following the procedure. However, while annoying, these symptoms are usually tolerable.
As a result of the removal of tissue and tightening of abdominal muscles, your body will also form scar tissue following the procedure. For the first couple of months, scars will appear reddish, raised and possibly puckered, however, in most instances, they begin to fade and smooth out over time.
When recovering from a tummy tuck procedure, it is important to be patient, as the healing process may take several months. Although you may experience some tenderness and sensitivity in the early weeks, most patients find that the final results are well worth the temporary discomfort and often, great improvements can be seen right away. To learn more about what a tummy tuck feels like, please contact our clinic to schedule a consultation with Dr. Edelstein or Dr. Jindal, who will walk you through the process to ensure that you know what to expect.
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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