For all tummy tuck patients at our Kalispell practice, recovery questions are an important topic. The procedure is known for having a longer recovery time than most other cosmetic surgery operations. We want to make sure our patients feel prepared, informed, and comfortable before undergoing surgery.
Before this transformative experience, it’s smart to do plenty of research. Here’s some advice that will make recovering from your tummy tuck as smooth and comfortable as possible.
What does a tummy tuck do?
It helps to know the basics of what a tummy tuck involves even before consulting with a plastic surgeon. Our typical tummy tuck candidates are men and women who feel self-conscious about their excess abdominal skin (whether after pregnancy or other significant weight loss). During the procedure, our board-certified plastic surgeons make an incision along the lower abdomen and remove the excess skin. For women who developed diastasis recti during pregnancy, surgeons can also repair the abdominal muscles as part of the procedure.
Liposuction can often be combined with tummy tuck surgery, but they are not weight-loss procedures. Large weight fluctuations after a tummy tuck can jeopardize the results.
How long is recovery from a tummy tuck?
While some patients stay overnight after surgery, most are able to return home the same day. Dr. Spring and Dr. Hromadka avoid using surgical drains in most tummy tuck cases. Instead, they use internal stitches (“progressive tension sutures”) or an FDA-approved abdominoplasty surgical glue that eliminates the empty space where fluid can collect. These techniques improve the recovery process by minimizing the discomfort and inconvenience associated with drains. Compression garments can also help the healing process. Over the course of the following weeks, abdominal-area swelling slowly resolves. Patients can expect to see their full results within a few months.
4 Tummy Tuck Tips
Our staff always provides detailed post-op instructions for all our patients. But here are a few extra tips for recovering from your tummy tuck.
- Let people know and ask for help. Whether it’s canceling a work meeting or scheduling a babysitter, make sure your friends and family know about your procedure ahead of time. There’s no need to feel self-conscious about revealing your tummy tuck plans. Cosmetic surgery is widely accepted, as Time magazine reported in 2015 and as we discuss in this related blog post. Enlist a trusted friend or family member to help you plan for transportation to and from surgery and other transportation needs during your recovery. If needed, create a list for your spouse regarding any child care or household needs.
- Clean, clean, clean. Do a little “postoperative proofing” around the house. Tidy up the kitchen, do laundry, and finish up your grocery shopping. While it’s important to have a clean house for obvious reasons (less risk of infection, etc.) it’s also good to remember you have a limited range of motion after surgery. Take care of any errands or heavy lifting beforehand.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet of fruits, veggies, and lots of protein. Give your body all the nutrients it needs to recover as quickly as possible.
- Take your time. You can’t rush healing. Sleep as much as you can for the first 2 weeks after surgery. Rest on an incline the first couple of days to reduce swelling. Bonus tip: a pillow under your knees can give you extra support!
While the recovery process can take a significant amount of time, treating your body right and letting it heal slowly will give the best possible results.
If you’re interested in what a tummy tuck can do for you and you’re in the greater Missoula area, please browse our before and after photos. Feel free to schedule a consultation by contacting our Kalispell office using the online form or by calling us at (406) 300-5869 to schedule an appointment.