7 Top Tips for a Smooth Tummy Tuck Recovery
Tummy tuck surgery, also known as an abdominoplasty is an effective procedure to remove excess skin around the abdomen. Although this is a common procedure, it is still major surgery. This means every effort should be made to prepare yourself prior to surgery for how you are going to feel during the recovery period.
With help from previous tummy tuck patient Marie, we offer our 7 top tips to making sure your recovery is as smooth as possible.
Have your support system in place – and prepare them!
Having family and friends to take care of you once you’ve had your operation is essential. You shouldn’t undertake any strenuous exercise, heavy lifting or straining for at least 6 weeks. So you’ll need to think about:
- Who will drive you back from the hospital?
- Who will do the food shopping?
- Who’s going to walk the dog?
- Who will do the house work?
- Do you have childcare in place?
If you put necessary arrangements in place prior to surgery you won’t need to worry about these things when you’re recovering. This is your time to sit back and relax and make the most of having time to chill out and have someone run around after you! It’s also important to remember that having this type of surgery will impact on those around you aswell, so make sure they’re prepared. Keep them involved throughout the whole process so that they know what’s expected of them. They’ll have to dote on you for 2-3 weeks so if they’re prepared they’ll have no excuse to complain!
Indulge yourself in magazines, box sets and a good book
Prepare for a bit of boredom during your recovery. They’ll be a lot of lounging around in bed or on the sofa so unless you’re happy to watch Jeremy Kyle or Loose Women every day we’d advise preparing the following before your operation:
- Pick up some good books or magazines
- Invest in some box sets – but choose carefully (see Marie’s top tip below)
- Organise for a friend to come and see you whilst you’re recovering to have a good natter and a catch up
All these things will give you a feeling of normality during your recovery period and keep the boredom at bay.
TOP TIP – Stick to drama! Marie advises choosing your box sets carefully because laughing after a tummy tuck tends to hurt!
Keep in contact with your surgeon/nursing team
If you have any concerns about the way you’re healing or feeling following your tummy tuck it is important you have an emergency contact number at the clinic. This can either be for your Plastic Surgeon or the nursing team. If you aren’t provided with contact details before your procedure then don’t be afraid to ask for them. Chances are you won’t need them. But having them there as a precaution will put your mind at ease.
And always remember that the medical team are there to help you and take care of you so if you have any questions, however minor, don’t be afraid to ask.
This is probably the most important piece of advice we can give you. If you push your body too soon, your body won’t be afraid to tell you.
Marie tells us how on day 10 after surgery she was fed up of daytime TV so she decided to clean the floors by hand and change the bed. All very normal activities if you haven’t just had major surgery. This led to her tummy swelling and was her body’s sign of saying ‘I’m not ready’. And she paid for it the next day, feeling like she’d taken 2 steps backward.
Your surgeon will advise you on how long to rest for and when you can start moving again but everyone recovers at a different pace. Listen to your surgeon but most importantly listen to your body. Don’t rush yourself and be patient.
Prepare for the emotional ups and downs
Undergoing an invasive procedure such as a tummy tuck can take its toll on your body. But it can also take its toll on your emotions. It is very common for patients who undergo a tummy tuck procedure to experience ‘mood swings’. These emotions may range from a feeling of depression (‘why did I do this?’) to sheer delight (which may lead to over-exerting yourself). We think it is important to be aware that these emotional swings do occur post-operatively.
Firstly because you are put under general anaesthetic you will feel a bit ‘funny’ for the first few days. Marie describes her experience of crying over her soup on Day 1, “Strangely, I felt a bit emotional and when asking a question about having some pepper with my soup, I began to cry…I did feel a little crazy as I had no idea why I was crying.”
This is a completely normal emotion to have. And these emotions will carry on as your recovery progresses. You’ll go through ups and downs. You may start to feel low at your lack of mobility and independence. Then you may have some good days where you start to feel ‘normal’ again. But keep in mind you have undergone a major surgical procedure and your body is getting used to the changes – you just have to ride it out.
Constipation isn’t nice at the best of times – let alone when you’ve just had surgery on your abdomen. So keep hydrated, drinking plenty of water and a high fibre diet. This will make your time lazing around the house a lot more comfortable.
TOP TIP – Invest in bottled water to keep next to your bed. Marie advises the sports top bottles as you can drink comfortably whatever position you’re in.
Most importantly – remember why you did it
There are lots of ups and downs but it’s essential to keep in mind why you had the surgery in the first place. You did it to feel more confident, to wear those clothes you’ve always felt too self-conscious to wear, to stand tall and to throw away those Spanx. Remember this and it will get you through those ‘down’ times. At only 15 days post-op, Marie tells us,
“My journey’s not yet over, but already I know I made the right decision by going ahead with tummy tuck surgery. I’m so looking forward to getting back to full fitness, being able to exercise again – and enjoying my new flat-tummied life.”
And look at her now…
So remember, it’s a tough journey. Tough on your body and tough on your mind but once you come out the other side, it’ll all be worth it. And if you prepare yourself using our top tips then it should make that process that little bit easier.
Click here to read Marie’s full tummy tuck diary right from the beginning and an update on how she’s feeling now she’s fully recovered.
Considering tummy tuck surgery? Aurora Clinics are a nationwide plastic surgery group offering abdominoplasty at clinics throughout the UK. For more information about tummy tuck surgery, or to book a consultation with one of our team of BAAPS registered surgeons, please contact us and we’d be happy to help.