Tummy Tuck Aftercare: A Few Do's and Don'ts to Remember

Health & Medical Articles

According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were 160,077 abdominoplasty surgeries, or tummy tuck, in 2013. Whether you've lost a significant amount of weight, just had a baby or simply want to feel better about your appearance, it is vital to understand just how important it is to properly care for yourself after the procedure. Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind while you recover from your tummy tuck:

Do Take Extra Care of Yourself for the First Few Days after the Procedure

Caring for yourself properly during the first two to three days after the procedure is critical. Here are a few tips to help you prevent any injury during the first few critical days after the surgery:

  • Walk hunched over for the first few days after your surgery. Additionally, ask for help getting in and out of bed to prevent damaging your incision. Shuffling around bent over at the hip will help relieve any stress on your sutures, which will prevent pain and help the area heal properly.
  • Sit and lay down with your knees bent and one or two pillows behind your head. Lying with your knees bent and your head elevated is the best way to prevent putting unnecessary strain on your incision.
  • Avoid driving, especially if you have been prescribed narcotic pain relievers. According to the University of Michigan Health System, it is vital to wait until you are no longer taking your prescription pain killers and are able to easily twist your waist and use your arms before you get behind the wheel.

Don't Ignore Your Surgical Drains

Near the end of your abdominoplasty, your doctor will insert plastic drainage tubes that will help prevent the buildup of fluid in your abdomen. These tubes are necessary and you will need to care for them properly until they are removed.

Your doctor will provide you with instructions to care for and empty the bulbs at the end of the drainage tubes. The bulbs will typically need to be emptied several times a day. In most cases, the bulbs are simply opened and you squeeze the contents into a small container.

It is important to measure the amount of liquid that you remove from the bulbs each time you empty them. In addition to measuring the liquid, it is important to watch for any changes in the color and odor of the liquid. If the liquid is tinged red or begins to smell foul, it is important to contact your physician immediately.

Avoid taking a bath while the drains are still present, and instead, cleanse the area with a mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water.

According to the University of Missouri, drains are typically removed five to seven days after the surgery.

Do Watch Out for Potentially Dangerous Symptoms

Caring for yourself after a tummy tuck is very important, which includes watching out for signs of infection or another potentially dangerous complications. If you experience any of these symptoms it's important to contact your doctor immediately:

  • Numbness and trouble moving your torso
  • Increased swelling and redness
  • Intense pain that won't go away after you take your prescription medication
  • Foul smelling or yellow, green or bloody discharge from the wound site
  • A high fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and rash

In addition, if you simply don't feel right or are worried the wound isn't healing properly, don't hesitate to contact your physician immediately.

You will experience pain and discomfort after your abdominoplasty, but it will all be worth it when you see the results. If you're considering abdominoplasty and are concerned about the aftercare, don't hesitate to contact a plastic surgeon, such as Renaissance Center For Facial & Body Sculpting, and discuss your questions and concerns. 


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