If your lower belly has excess skin and stubborn fat that isn’t responding to diet and exercise, a tummy tuck may be right for you. Tummy tuck surgery can effectively and permanently rid your waistline of sagging skin and localized fat. But before you jump into it, here’s your guide to preparing for tummy tuck surgery, what to expect during recovery, and how long it’ll take until you can fully enjoy the benefits of your tummy tuck.
Preparing for a Tummy Tuck
Before your tummy tuck, make sure that you’re at or near your ideal body weight. This procedure is not a weight-loss procedure but rather a technique for ridding the body of excess skin and stubborn fat. You’ll need to have any medical complications resolved before surgery. Build habits of healthy living so that it’s easier for you to maintain long-term results afterward. If you’re a smoker, you’ll want to quit before having surgery because smoking interferes with circulation and can hinder your ability to heal. Most of all, consider whether you want to have any children in the future – if you do, a tummy tuck may not be a good idea now because a future pregnancy can reverse the results.
Other Things to Prepare:
- Two to three weeks off work for healing
- Medical supplies
- Caretaker and driver to and from surgery
- Comfortable, loose clothing that is easy to put on
- Towels and padding for your bed
- Extra pillows to prop you up while sleeping
What to Expect During Recovery
Your recovery experience will largely depend on the kind of procedure you have. For example, a partial tummy tuck will have a quicker and somewhat easier recovery than an extended or comprehensive tummy tuck. All tummy tuck patients may expect soreness, swelling, and likely some pain. Dr. Agullo will help you manage the pain with prescription medications or a pain pump. You may also experience numbness, bruising, and fatigue. Most of your discomfort will be gone within one week, and within a couple weeks, you may feel up to going out and about. Expect some scarring, but the scars will be hidden beneath the bikini line and will fade over time.
How to Care for Your Body the First Week After Surgery
The first week after surgery, you’ll need to rest to help your body focus its energies on healing. However, do not remain bedridden; get up and walk around every once in a while to keep circulation moving so that you reduce any swelling and avoid getting blood clots. Avoid driving and exercising, and limit any activities that require more than walking short distances. Be very careful not to strain any of your incisions or abdominal muscles. Take your prescription medications promptly and regularly, especially the antibiotics. You will need to sleep in a semi-sitting position with your head and shoulders propped up on pillows. Dr. Agullo will instruct you on how to manage draining any drains, changing any dressings, and wearing support garments.
How Long the Healing Process Lasts
Within a few weeks after surgery, you can expect to feel well enough to resume many normal activities. Within about six weeks, you may be able to resume more strenuous activities and exercise. Some patients may experience depression or anxiety after cosmetic surgery, but this should subside as your body heals and you begin to see and feel the positive results of your surgery. After a few months, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the results of your tummy tuck!
For more information about tummy tuck surgery, call our El Paso office at (915) 590-7900 or our Las Cruces office at (575) 520-5041 to schedule your personal consultation today with double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Frank Agullo. For your convenience, you can also contact us online at our El Paso Office.