Tummy tuck surgery is very exciting for most women who are ready to take back their shape. This procedure, whether performed alone or as a part of a mommy makeover, corrects problems like excess fat and loose skin in the midsection area, stretch marks, a muffin-top, and cellulite. Nearly as soon as women begin envisioning their new bodies once they have decided to have a tummy tuck, they also start thinking about their recovery period. Many of our patients want to know when they can expect life to return to normal after their procedure. We discuss that here.
A tummy tuck, called abdominoplasty, is a procedure in which the abdominal muscle is tightened. Dr. Kimmel does this through an incision just below the bikini line that runs from hip to hip. Gently pulling the abdominal muscle so that it lies flat and smooth, he trims the excess loose muscle and inserts sutures to secure the tissue. This same process is repeated for the overlying skin. In some situations, it is necessary to also reposition the belly button so that it does not sit too low on the abdomen. The result of tissue tightening is a flat, taut midsection.
We understand why patients want to know about their tummy tuck recovery. This procedure is often misunderstood as painful and lengthy. The reason this is the perception that many people have of tummy tuck recovery is that patients cannot stand upright or sleep lying flat for several days after their procedure. This, however, is related to tightness and simple mobility more than it is pain. Because the muscle has been tightened, it needs time to relax and flatten after the natural trauma of surgery. For a few days, patients take prescription pain medication to control comfort. Usually, by the end of the first week, soreness has improved so much that comfort is achievable with over-the-counter pain relief.
During the first week, patients should expect to not be able to reach overhead. After a week to 10 days, mobility should improve quite a bit. However, it can take two to three weeks to be able to stand completely upright with minimal tightness. This improves a little each day. Patients are usually ready to return to work and light activities after 3 weeks of recovery. Light exercise may resume after about 4 weeks of recovery. However more vigorous exercise and heavier lifting may need to be postponed for another few weeks.
Patients who undergo tummy tuck surgery can expect routine follow-ups to assess their healing. During these visits, we discuss which activities may be resumed based on how the muscle and skin are recovering.
Learn more about tummy tuck surgery. Call our Hazleton or Pottsville office to schedule your consultation.