Tips for Recovering from Abdominoplasty


Plan time off

Abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck, is a major operation and you must plan enough time off work, and make arrangements for childcare, pet care, housework, shopping and any other commitments. You won’t be able to return to work for at least two weeks and you won’t be able to lift anything heavy or stand for long periods for up to three weeks.

Draft in help

You’ll need help getting out of bed, caring for children and cooking. If your children are still quite young, you’ll need two adults around so that they’re not left unsupervised if you need help. By day three you’ll be more mobile and independent, so only one person will be enough.

Do nothing for at least two weeks

No laundry, no cooking, no childcare! Too many patients worry they’re neglecting their home and family, but you need to focus on. Women have had abdominoplasty surgery using Gary Ross are told in no uncertain terms that they are allowed to be selfish for the first three weeks.

By the second week you should be mobile and able to look after children, but there should still be another adult about just in case sudden pain or fatigue takes over.

Expect to be tired for up to six weeks

After a couple of weeks you may be back at work, but find you’re in bed at 7.30pm! You’ll be OK during the day, pain and energy-wise, but you’ll need extra sleep to help you recover. Don’t fight it, it’s important if you’re to get better quickly.

Food is important

Up your protein intake and eat regularly. Add extra fruit and vegetables as well, as this can help to combat constipation as well adding vitamins.

It can take a year to heal fully

Although the majority of the pain, swelling and tiredness is gone by six weeks, there’s still a lot going on internally and externally. Your surgery site might feel numb, and you may have swelling and pain at the end of the day and the scars will be prominent and itchy. You’ll notice this all diminishing, though, so don’t worry.

The first three days are the worst

It’ll seem like the longest three days ever, but it’s over soon, as long as you rest! Just live by the clock and take your meds.

The pain meds don’t remove the pain altogether, they simply lessen it

You’ll start off on opiate painkillers, which will make you groggy, but you should be OK to come off them and go onto ibuprofen after three days.

You’ll need surgical drains for a week at least

It’s easy for your carers to learn how to empty these drains, but you’ll have to return to hospital to have them removed. You won’t be able to bathe or shower until they’re out, as the drain sites must stay dry.

You won’t be able to drive for ten days or so

You can’t drive while on opiates, and after that, you need to be able to perform an emergency stop without pain or the fear of pain. This varies from patient to patient, so take advice.

You need to avoid exercise and heavy lifting

Whatever your exercise regime was, start it off again slowly. You’ll know if you’re overdoing it, so listen to your body and avoid abdominal workouts for at least two months.

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