For many patients who have a tummy tuck performed, one of the common outcomes of the surgery is a recharged motivation to exercise regularly in order to maintain their new look. Before getting back in the gym, though, it is important to set realistic expectations for your recovery timeline and learn what to expect during the postoperative period. The professional team of board-certified plastic surgeons and medical staff at Après Plastic Surgery are committed to providing an unmatched level of patient care from the initial consultation throughout the recovery period, and beyond. If you are considering a tummy tuck procedure and have questions about the recovery, the best place to start is with a consultation at Après Plastic Surgery.
What is a tummy tuck?
An abdominoplasty, formally known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure designed to sculpt, trim, and enhance the contour of the midsection through the removal of excess skin and tightening of the underlying abdominal muscles, or fascia. A tummy tuck can be useful for both men and women, and it is often used as a skin removal tool for after weight loss patients. The tummy tuck is also commonly performed in conjunction with other surgeries – such as breast augmentation, liposuction, or labiaplasty – as part of a larger mommy makeover procedure.
How can a tummy tuck help me?
Many patients believe that the tummy tuck is capable of producing more dramatic physical results than almost any other cosmetic procedure offered today, particularly when combined with liposuction and other surgeries. With the ability to remove large amounts of hanging skin, tighten the abdominal muscles that have separated, and even reposition the belly button, a tummy tuck can truly transform a patient’s entire midsection for a smooth, taut, and sculpted physique.
How long is the recovery after a tummy tuck?
Despite being a relatively common and routine procedure, it is important to remember that an abdominoplasty is still a significant surgery and requires an extended period of recovery and healing. As with any procedure, the specific details of the recovery timeline will vary from patient to patient, but here is a breakdown of the general postoperative period following a tummy tuck:
First 24 hours
Immediately following the surgery, patients should expect to still be groggy from anesthesia and will likely sleep the majority of the day. Some pain and discomfort will likely occur, but your doctor will give you medications to help with these symptoms. You may be advised to stay in the hospital or surgical facility for the first night in order to be monitored closely. It is likely that your nurse will have you stand up and walk, assisted, to and from the bathroom several times in the first 24 hours.
1 week after surgery
Once you return home, you will still have significant swelling, along with some level of discomfort. It is important to rest as much as possible and keep up with your medications, including antibiotics. Your mobility will still be severely restricted at this point, so it is essential that you plan to have help around the house in the first several days or weeks after your tummy tuck. This is a particularly important consideration for patients with young children. After about one week, you should be able to begin some very light walking associated with regular daily routines, if cleared by your doctor.
2 – 3 weeks after surgery
Most patients are ready to return to light office work after about two weeks, but spending long periods of time on your feet is not recommended. During this period, you may begin to notice an improvement in bruising and swelling, but it is still crucial to continue wearing the compression undergarments that were provided to you immediately after the procedure. Typically, patients at this stage are able to increase their amount of cardiovascular activity to longer periods of walking. Lifting, core workouts, running, and other exercises are still off limits at this time.
4 – 6 weeks after surgery
Your one-month follow-up appointment is the perfect time to discuss your fitness goals with your doctor and find out what exercise routines you may be cleared for. Remember that while it may be tempting to get right back into your old regimen, overdoing it too early can cause more harm than good and even compromise the results of your procedure.
After about 6 – 8 weeks, many patients are able to return to more significant physical activity, but it may take up to three months, or more, to feel completely comfortable in the gym again. The best thing you can do is listen to your doctor’s advice and get his or her clearance before resuming any form of exercise.
Am I a candidate for a tummy tuck?
Fortunately, the tummy tuck can be a safe and effective option for many people. Ideal candidates for an abdominoplasty:
- Are healthy
- Don’t smoke
- Are at a stable, healthy weight
- Have excess skin around the midsection
- Are not pregnant or planning to become pregnant
The best way to determine whether or not a tummy tuck may be right for you is to be evaluated by a qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon. Call to schedule your consultation with one of the experienced surgeons at Après Plastic Surgery in Portland, OR today, and take the first – or final – step toward getting the body of your dreams!