When you think about your upcoming tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, you more than likely are thinking of the end result — more toned, slimmer abs and a new sexy appearance! Gone will be the stretched abdominal muscles, loose, saggy skin, and protruding belly.
However, before scheduling your appointment with The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery to discuss your tummy tuck, it will be helpful to have some idea of the recovery timeline you can expect after having your procedure. Our board-certified plastic surgeons will be happy to outline the entire process for you.
You may only need to stay in the hospital for a few hours after your surgery, but once you leave the hospital, that’s when the real recovery begins. Here’s what you need to know.
Immediately After Surgery
With your abdomen secured with an abdominal binder, your surgeon will provide instructions on the types of physical activity to avoid and for how long you can expect to wear a pressure garment. You’ll be driven home by a trusted friend or family member who will help get you comfortably settled in and assist you over your first few days of recovery.
First Few Days After Surgery
You can expect to feel some pain and tenderness at the site of your surgery for your first few days. During this time, you are strongly encouraged to take any prescribed courses of antibiotics and anticoagulants. The abdominal support garment you’ll be wearing should also help with swelling and discomfort.
At this time in your recovery, it’s recommended that you keep to a light diet to ensure you’re not straining your stomach muscles. Eat low sodium meals to reduce inflammation and increase your fiber intake to decrease straining during bowel movements.
Avoid alcohol, smoking, and unnecessary sun exposure for at least the first three months post-surgery.
One to Three Weeks After Surgery
During your follow-up visit with your surgeon, it may be decided to remove your support bandage. Expect to become excited when you see the significant change to the contours of your midsection!
After your checkup, you may need to continue wearing a supporting garment. If you have a sedentary job not requiring any lifting activities, you should be able to return to work.
If you’re looking forward to getting back on the treadmill or elliptical machine at the gym, you will need to wait about three weeks. However, when resuming these activities, be sure to monitor your incision for any signs of swelling.
One to Three Months After Surgery
Many patients will experience swelling in the first three months following a tummy tuck. You may also feel a pulling sensation and numbness or bruising in your abdominal area. Your incision should be fully healed, but it’s possible that the scar will still appear red and raised. Over time, it will flatten out and fade.
One to two months after surgery, you should be able to resume your normal activities, including strength training and getting back to your job if it involves physical activity. Your surgeon will make the ultimate determination and provide the best guidance.
One Year After Surgery
One year later, your abdominoplasty should be fully healed and the results visibly noticeable. You’ll still be getting used to all the flattering compliments coming your way! Your inflammation should be gone, and your scar faded. Although the latter will never completely disappear, it should be nearly invisible and hidden beneath your underwear line.
Ensure you’re maintaining your results by following a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Gaining or losing weight may change the appearance of your abdomen, resulting in the reappearance of sagging skin. This possibility is one of the reasons why patients should wait until they are at a stable weight and are finished having children before undergoing the procedure. By maintaining your weight, the results of your abdominoplasty by one of our board-certified surgeons should last a lifetime.
Want to Know More About Your Tummy Tuck Recovery in Baltimore or Columbia, Maryland?
To learn more about your tummy tuck procedure and its associated recovery time, we invite you to contact The Maryland Institute of Plastic Surgery and schedule your consultation. Call us at (410) 744-0900 or contact us through our website. We look forward to meeting you soon!