Tummy Tuck Recovery: Beyond the Physical
You can find quite a lot of information about healing physically from a tummy tuck; for New York patients and others we have written about it ourselves. But it’s critical to give some thought to your state of mind too. Abdominoplasty requires more physical and mental reserves than many other cosmetic surgeries, and it makes sense to be prepared. Here’s how.
Be Really (Really) Ready to Take it Easy
You need to allow yourself to have sufficient downtime from the get-go. We try to spot “type A” folks among our New York tummy tuck patients and stress this aspect of recovery. Here’s a quote to illustrate the point from a RealSelf member:
I went in thinking I was going to be up and running in two weeks. I’m an intelligent woman, but this was stupid. Plan on taking a minimum of two weeks off work—or three or four, if you can swing it.
If you’re one of those people who believe they heal faster than others—maybe you think you won’t need help with meals for a few days, or you will be able to manage your kids or pets right away—we’ll ask you to think again.
What can you do? Have a loved one or trusted friend lined up to stick closely by you for at least a week. And, as you commit to surgery, be sure you also commit to giving yourself permission to rest.
Healing Can Play Tricks
It’s a good idea to keep in mind that the healing process is not linear and your body can have ups and downs. This can contribute to mood swings and even feelings of discouragement.
For instance, as your tissues swell in the several days after the procedure, you may get it in your head that your abdomen is not as slim as you had hoped. Not only that, swelling can wax and wane depending on how you balance light activity and rest. Do not even begin to judge your results for a few weeks. Even then, know that it will take a few months for the healing process to be complete.
You may also experience some temporary frustrations. You may have drains for a few days and you won’t be able to shower right away. You’ll probably walk a little hunched over for a week or so. Some patients report itchiness or tingling as they heal, and most feel moderate to intense fatigue during the first few weeks.
What can you do? Let your caretakers know that you may feel down and even cranky off and on. Try to take your recovery a day at a time and remember that over 95% of RealSelf patients say abdominoplasty is worthwhile. In fact, connecting with others through sites like RealSelf is a good way to keep your spirits up.
Regret, and Guilt?
As you manage the physical side of healing, don’t be surprised if you occasionally consider whether you did the right thing in choosing abdominoplasty. As we mentioned, the procedure does involve a longer recovery time than most—this gives you time to wonder when you will feel yourself again. This is perfectly normal, and in fact, other elective surgeries (such as joint replacements) can lead to similar feelings.
Some people even feel guilty, whether they fret about taking time away from their family, their job or even their pets. It’s not unusual for post-pregnancy patients to worry that electing surgery somehow signals that they regret having children.
What can you do? We advise our New York tummy tuck patients to view their procedure as an investment. A few weeks of initial healing and a few months of returning to normal pay off in so many benefits. Patients look better in and out of clothing, and very often find a new sense of confidence and satisfaction with their lives. Many return to sports and exercise they weren’t comfortable doing with a saggy belly. With tightened abdominal muscles, patients may also gain better posture, eliminate skin rashes and even reduce urinary incontinence.
Abdominoplasty in New York with Our Team
If you choose to have your tummy tuck in New York with us, we’ll make sure to prepare you with complete information about what to expect, and we’ll support you through the days and weeks after surgery as well. And, because we use twilight sedation for almost all our patients, you’ll be on the road to recovery without a general anesthesia hangover.
To find out more, contact us via email anytime.