As patients consider a cosmetic procedure such as tummy tuck surgery, it is normal to have many questions, and, possibly, a few reservations. At Dr. Stephen P. Hardy’s plastic surgery practice, patient education is one of our top priorities. We believe it is vital that patients are well prepared for what to expect throughout their cosmetic procedure, as well as what can be expected in the days and weeks following surgery. Knowledge empowers our patients to make educated decisions regarding their cosmetic procedure and eases the fears and anxiety that are common when preparing for plastic surgery. With proper preparation, our Missoula patients can ensure that tummy tuck recovery goes smoothly and that healing progresses without complications.
A tummy tuck procedure trims and tones the abdomen by making alterations to the stomach muscles and tissue. These alterations are often extensive and will result in considerable side effects during recovery. It is important for patients to understand what side effects can be expected and how best to care for these symptoms. Below are some common side effects that will likely result from tummy tuck surgery:
- Discomfort: Any surgical procedure is likely to result in mild to moderate levels of pain. Patients who undergo tummy tuck surgery are likely to feel sore around the abdominal area. Incisions may also feel tight and itchy, which can also cause discomfort. When discomfort is at its highest, prescription pain medication can be used as directed. As discomfort begins to subside (usually within a week), over the counter pain medication may be used as needed to ease pain.
- Swelling: Swelling is an unavoidable side effect of tummy tuck surgery. However, swelling can be controlled by compression garments. Drinking a lot of water is also important in controlling swelling. Even with these practices, it is normal for swelling to persist for several weeks after surgery. Although swelling will gradually subside, it may be six to eight weeks before the full results of surgery are apparent.
- Bruising: Bruising is likely to show up on the stomach following tummy tuck surgery. However, the degree of bruising will vary by patient. In most cases bruising lasts little more than a week.
In order to ensure that tummy tuck recovery goes smoothly and is free of complications, it is important to follow Dr. Hardy’s post-surgical care instructions. Below are some tips that can be useful throughout tummy tuck recovery:
- Do not push yourself: Allowing for ample time for the body to recover following surgery is very important. Patients should be prepared for a few days of very limited physical activity. After that, movement should be limited to short and frequent walks. It will likely be about two weeks before work and other routine activities can be resumed and six to eight before exercise is acceptable.
- Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is important to the overall health of the body and also helps reduce swelling. Hydration and proper nutrition are very important during tummy tuck recovery.
- Use medication as directed: Infection is one of the greatest risks of tummy tuck surgery. Dr. Hardy will prescribe an antibiotic to be used during recovery. This medication fights off infection so it is very important to take every dose of medication as prescribed, even if recovery is going well.
- Ice and massage: Ice and massage are two treatments that can aid in circulation, help control swelling, and manage discomfort. These are natural remedies that are encouraged throughout tummy tuck recovery.
If you are considering a tummy tuck or other cosmetic procedure and have questions about what to expect before, during, or after treatment, contact us at your earliest convenience. Dr. Stephen P. Hardy is happy to provide information and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you make the change you desire.