5 Strategies for a Quick Tummy Tuck Recovery
Across the U.S. and right here in New York, tummy tuck patients rank their surgery highly in terms of satisfaction. For many who have undergone pregnancy or weight loss, there’s no better feeling than regaining a flat, toned torso.
But abdominoplasty, as plastic surgeons call it, can also be a bit more challenging than some procedures in terms of recovery. Because it usually addresses both skin and muscles, and often involves light liposuction to remove small fat pockets, it’s a more extensive surgery than many.
Here are some ways to help ensure smooth sailing after your tummy tuck.
Have Medication Ready
You should expect to experience moderate discomfort for a few days following abdominoplasty, so be sure to fill all your prescriptions prior to surgery and have over the counter pain relievers on hand. It’s likely your plastic surgeon will prescribe an antibiotic to ward off infection as well. Follow your physician’s orders about medication very carefully—this is one of the most important things you can do during the post-op period.
Prepare Your Home
If you spend a little time getting your home ready before the day of your procedure, it will pay off in a big way when you return to rest. Wash your linens and have plenty of soft, comfy pillows and throws you can use to help you relax. Think about preparing a few different places where you can either lie down flat or lean back at an angle. If you don’t have a reclining chair, consider bringing a lounge chair in from outside temporarily!
Brainstorm other items to have on hand that will encourage you to take time out for a few days. Books, movies, music and magazines are good choices. You may also want to prepare a few meals ahead of time or at least stock the kitchen with food that’s easy-to-make and eat.
Give Digestion a Hand
Your plastic surgeon will caution you about avoiding strain of all kinds on your torso during the immediate post-op period, and this includes in the bathroom. You can help out in two ways. First, plan to eat a sensible, gentle diet that won’t upset your system. Next, talk to your doctor about laxatives if he or she doesn’t bring up the subject. It’s important to keep your bowels moving without having to work too hard at it.
One key thing you can do for yourself after surgery is ask others to help you out. If you have small children or pets, remember that you won’t be able to lift them right away and you won’t be driving at first. It could be nice to ask your partner or a friend to make you dinner once or twice. You may even decide to request assistance in washing and drying your hair. If you’re having trouble imagining what help you may need, sit down for a chat with your plastic surgeon’s patient coordinator. She is likely to offer a wealth of information and ideas.
Take it Easy
No matter how busy your day-to-day life normally is, now is the time to take a break. Give yourself permission to forget about work for a few days, have someone else take care of the kids and so on. Consider small ways to pamper yourself too: order up an in-home pedicure or foot massage, for instance.
By a huge majority, abdominoplasty patients feel the investment in surgery is well worth it. When you invest in planning for your recovery period, you will find the experience that much more positive.
Photo by Joel, available under a Creative Commons attribution license