One of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the world is abdominoplasty. It repairs torn abdominal walls, removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen and lifts the remaining skin for a taut, toned, svelte physique. At eSSe Plastic Surgery in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we receive a lot of questions about abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck. One of the most common is what should I wear the day after. Today, we answer that and give you seven tips on making your abdominoplasty recovery as smooth as possible.
What Should I Wear After Abdominoplasty?
Immediately after your tummy tuck, your abdomen will be wrapped in bandages. You may also need to wear a prescription-strength compression garment to mitigate swelling. On the way to your procedure, wear loose, baggy clothing.
Rather than your cutest pair of jeans, we recommend a loose pair of drawstring pants. You should also wear a button-up or zip-up shirt that is large enough to wear easily over the bandages and possible compression garment. We strongly recommend against wearing a top that requires you to reach over your head.
First Week Post-Op
For the first week post-op, you should continue to wear loose-fitting, soft, comfy clothes. Some women prefer to wear a soft, loose dress rather than a baggy shirt and sweatpants. Whether you prefer pants or a dress, we strongly recommend investing in a soft bathrobe.
Depending on the extent of your procedure, you may need to wear a medical-grade compression garment or regular Spanx garment for up to six weeks or longer. This should be worn at all times except for when you bathe.
Six to Eight Weeks Post-Op
After your post-tummy tuck recovery, your wardrobe will fit differently. Depending on how much fat and excess skin was removed, you may find that you go down a pants size or two. Unless you already have a sewing machine, you may find it is easier and more affordable to go on a shopping spree than tailor your own clothes down to two sizes.
If you didn’t have much fat and excess skin removed, your clothes might not go down a size. However, your waist will look flatter and leaner without a soft tummy hanging out over your pants. You can still go on a shopping spree, too! Find a bold belt in your favorite color to accentuate your new tight, trim tummy. And don’t forget a little black wrap dress to highlight your new hourglass figure.
7 Tips for Making Your Tummy Tuck Recovery As Smooth As Possible
1. Get Some Rest
The most important thing you can do after your tummy tuck is to rest whenever you feel tired. On the day of your procedure, you may feel drowsy or groggy after being put under general anesthesia. Sleep whenever you feel it’s necessary.
For the first seven to 10 days post-op, you may want to sleep in a recliner or up against the head of your bed. By three weeks post-op, you should be able to sleep on your side again. It may be between four and six weeks post-op before you can sleep on your stomach again.
2. Stay Lightly Active
The day after your procedure, start walking. Track your steps with a pedometer app on your phone or try to remember how far you walked. Try to increase the distance you walk a little each day. For example, if you walk from your bedroom to your kitchen on one day, walk from your bedroom to your front door on the next.
Among the many incredible benefits of walking is improved circulation. This mitigates the risk of constipation which may occur if you take too many painkillers. Stand as much as you can, but remember it’s okay to sit whenever you need to. To be a good candidate for this procedure, you must be able to listen to your body rather than your pride as you recover from your procedure.
3. Do Not Bend or Lift
Immediately after your procedure, you will not want to lift your arms above your head to get dressed. For the first week post-op, bend over and lift objects heavier than 10 pounds as little as possible. If you have small children, you will probably need a caregiver for them. You may need a pet sitter if you have rambunctious dogs or curious cats.
We strongly recommend against using a vacuum cleaner, carrying a heavy briefcase or bag of groceries or wearing a heavy backpack. If you only need a mini-tuck, you may only need to take between three and five days off of work. If you require a full or extended abdominoplasty plus liposuction, you may need to take two weeks off of work if you have a desk job.
4. Drive When Ready
You can drive whenever you feel ready after your abdominoplasty. However, you may not drive within 24 hours of taking prescription narcotics. After one to three days, you should be taking only Tylenol for discomfort.
A full day after your last dose of narcotic painkillers, there are no restrictions on your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery. Just be sure to go slowly when you leave your driveway. Your tummy may still be a little tender.
5. Avoid Strenuous Activities
Do not engage in strenuous activities for the first-week post-op. This includes vigorous aerobic exercise like cycling and running. You should also avoid heavy weight lifting and other anaerobic activities. Ask your surgeon for the green light to swim when you feel ready.
6. Control Diet
Make sure you’re eating enough protein and fiber after your procedure. If your prescription painkillers are causing you gastrointestinal distress, eat bland foods. A temporary diet of boiled chicken, plain rice, toast and yogurt should make you feel better. If you can’t stomach a bland diet, ask your surgeon for a prescription for an alternative analgesic.
Don’t worry if you aren’t as regular as you usually are for the first week post-op. This is a perfectly normal part of going under general anesthesia and taking prescription narcotics. Just be sure to not strain while you make bowel movements. We strongly recommend filling your diet with legumes, high-fiber fruits, whole grains and a gentle fiber supplement. People who were irregular before their procedure may need to take a mild laxative.
7. Take the Right Prescription Medications
When you come in for your in-person consultation, your surgeon will advise you when you can resume taking your normal medications. He will also give you instructions on how to take any new prescriptions, such as narcotics and antibiotics.
If you take blood thinners, including Plavix (clopidogrel), Coumadin (warfarin) or aspirin, be sure to mention this during your initial consultation. You should stop taking all drugs and supplements which thin your blood for several weeks pre- and post-op. If you don’t understand one of your surgeon’s instructions, please do not hesitate to ask. Following all of the instructions completely is key to a quick, successful recovery.
Do not stop taking your antibiotics just because you feel fine. Take the full course of antibiotics exactly as prescribed. If you experience gastrointestinal distress after taking prescription narcotics, take your painkillers after meals unless your surgeon has specifically instructed you to do otherwise.
Unless your surgeon instructs you to, do not take multiple analgesics at the same time. For example, do not take Excedrin at the same time as Tylenol (acetaminophen). Excedrin, among other ingredients, contains acetaminophen. Whatever medications you take, make sure you do not exceed the daily maximum dose.
You should avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, for three weeks post-op. You should also avoid taking any aspirin-containing drug for three weeks post-op unless you get the go-ahead from your physician.
Am I a Good Candidate for Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is a highly individualized procedure. The only way to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure or not is to come in for an initial consultation. However, signs you may be a good candidate include good general health, a stable weight, realistic expectations about the results, a commitment to not smoking for 12 weeks and displeasure in the appearance of your abdomen.
Displeasure With Your Abdomen
From natural childbirth and ventral hernias to aging and rapid weight loss, a lot can change the shape of your stomach. In fact, your abdominal walls can even be torn from pregnancy, rapid weight gain, excessive heavy lifting and excess straining on the toilet. If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your abdomen, no amount of diet and exercise may be able to fix it. If the integrity of your abdomen is compromised, abdominoplasty is one of your only options.
If you have suffered an abdominal tear or can’t fit into your clothes properly due to excess skin and fat, you are probably the ideal candidate for abdominoplasty. Depending on how much excess fat you carry around your abdomen, you may need liposuction in addition to a full tuck.
The best candidate for abdominoplasty has a history of maintaining a healthy, stable weight. It’s okay if you have 10 to 30 pounds to lose before you reach your goal weight. But you should be able to maintain your ideal weight once you get there. Whenever you gain a lot of weight, your skin stretches to accommodate the expanded fat cells. If you lose the weight again, you may find that your skin doesn’t “snap back” into place. You may need additional skin tightening in the future.
Universally, the best candidate for abdominoplasty is a non-smoker. It is crucial that you do not consume nicotine for the six weeks prior to and after your body contouring procedure. Nicotine constricts your vessels, elevating your blood pressure during your procedure. This is not ideal. Moreover, you need to avoid constricted blood vessels during your recovery to ensure the maximum amount of nutrients can be delivered to the treatment site.
Using tobacco products, especially cigarettes, is terrible for your skin. Tobacco ages your skin prematurely and will lead to your skin sagging earlier than non-smoking peers barring other factors.
If you have been diagnosed with an active infection or other illness within two weeks pre-op, reschedule your procedure. As excited as you may be to contour the body of your dreams, you need to give your body plenty of time to heal before you undergo almost any procedure.
Learn More About Abdominoplasty Recovery Today
A tummy tuck is a life-changing procedure. It can prevent painful medical conditions, repair torn abdominal muscles and boost your self-esteem beyond your wildest dreams. To schedule your initial consultation, call the dedicated medical professionals at eSSe Plastic Surgery in Fort Lauderdale, FL today. We will help you determine the best cosmetic procedures and treatments to achieve your aesthetic goals and provide you with a detailed timeline of what to expect after each procedure.