Tummy tuck patients at my Birmingham, Alabama, plastic surgery practice tend to have more questions about the recovery than people who are getting other cosmetic surgery procedures. Even though abdominoplasty—tummy tuck surgery—is among the most popular elective surgeries performed in the U.S., it is a major surgery that requires weeks of recovery.
Most tummy tuck patients research the procedure quite a bit before scheduling their consultations, but they often overlook the importance of preparing for the recovery. In this blog post, I’ll provide a to-do list that will help you heal as quickly and comfortably as possible following tummy tuck surgery.
- Get as close to your ideal weight as possible before your surgery. Even though liposuction may remove some fat during the surgery, a tummy tuck is not weight loss surgery. It is a body contouring procedure designed to remove excess skin and tighten abdominal muscles. Being at or near the weight you expect to maintain before surgery will also help you heal more quickly.
- Make arrangements for child and animal care. Taking care of your children or pets, if you have them, will be extremely limited during the initial week or 2 of recovery. If you’re a mother with young children at home, it’s important to know that you won’t be able to lift them (or anything heavier than about 10 pounds).
- Quit smoking. Patients who smoke should quit at least 3 to 4 weeks before their surgeries. Smoking interferes with healing, in part because nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict and limit blood supply, which increases the risks of complications.
- Start sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side after a tummy tuck is uncomfortable and should be avoided. You should prepare to sleep in a recliner or on your back during the first 2 weeks of your recovery. If you normally sleep on your side, sleeping on your back in the week before your surgery can help with the transition.
- Prepare your “nest.” You’ll need plenty of rest during recovery, especially during the initial 2 weeks. Get the area prepared by having everything you’ll want within easy reach. This may include electronic devices, books, magazines, and plenty of pillows to put behind your head and under your knees.
- Go through your post-op checklist and make sure you’re ready. Stocking up on supplies, filling your prescriptions, and having meals prepped in the refrigerator are some of the ways you can relieve stress after returning home from your surgery. You’ll also need to wear compression garments for several weeks after surgery. Many patients opt for Spanx® or similar products to reduce swelling and promote healing.
If you’ve been thinking about getting a tummy tuck and are looking for a plastic surgeon in Alabama, contact us using the online form to request a consultation. Or give our practice a call at (205) 933-9308 to schedule an appointment.