Tummy tucks are an excellent way to help mothers and those who have lost a significant amount of weight feel confident again. Dr. Hernandez personalizes each tummy tuck procedure for patients at her San Antonio office.
Tummy tuck recovery depends on several factors, including age, health, and body weight. Here are some insights into what will occur (and what steps you can take) during your tummy tuck recovery:
Immediately following your tummy tuck
You’ll feel quite groggy after surgery, and may experience some postoperative pain. Most patients wake up fairly comfortable because Dr. Hernandez injects a long-acting local anesthetic called Exparel into the tissues of the abdomen during the surgery. Exparel numbs the pain in the abdomen for 2 to 3 days so patients don’t require narcotic pain medication for pain control and recover much more comfortably. At the hospital, you will be given pain medication to help manage any pain if needed.
Someone should be with you to take you home, but also to ask questions and ensure a thorough understanding of postoperative care.
After your surgery and initial recovery period, you will receive information regarding:
How much to rest!
What you can eat (and when)
Care for your incision
Warning signs of infection or other complications
Follow up appointments
Instructions for wearing your abdominal pressure garment
While you may only need to stay in the hospital for a few hours after your tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Hernandez may elect for you to stay in the hospital for one night.
After you return home
You should not be alone during the first two days after your tummy tuck procedure, as you may be groggy and will need extra help with some household tasks. Rest is extremely important! Most patients take two weeks off work to recuperate and rest following their surgery.
It’s important to keep moving once you’ve returned home after a tummy tuck. Movement helps maintain blood flow, which aids healing and reduces the risk of blood clots.
Swelling is a normal part of tummy tuck recovery, and resolves over several months. To assist with healing, you will wear an abdominal binder for about six weeks. Sleeping on an incline (with your knees slightly bent, or supported by pillows) for the first few days after surgery can also help with swelling.
Dr. Hernandez will prescribe non-narcotic pain medication and a muscle relaxer to help you manage pain during tummy tuck recovery. In addition to pain medication, Dr. Hernandez will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Your tummy may feel like it’s being pulled when you try to stand up straight. You may feel numbness in your tummy for months or even years. It’s normal to have bruises in your abdominal area. You may have fluid-filled swelling above the scar, but this will go away. Your scar may be red and raised, but it will eventually fade.
Healing your incision
Avoid alcohol and refrain from nicotine products for six weeks following your tummy tuck. Alcohol can exacerbate the side effects of pain medication, and nicotine can slow down the healing process and increase risk of complications.
Returning to activities
Most patients require two weeks off work for tummy tuck recovery. All tummy tuck patients must avoid strenuous activity for at least six weeks. Dr. Hernandez will let you know when you can gradually return to exercise.
Enjoying your results!
Once your body is fully healed, you will notice significant improvements in the appearance of your abdomen. Your skin will feel significantly more firm without feeling overly tightened or unnatural.
It’s time to get out there and enjoy your new body with confidence!