If you are considering tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty), then you probably have a lot of questions. This is a major, life-changing surgery, and it is important to be prepared for the experience ahead of you. Here are 11 tips from patients who have already gotten a tummy tuck.
Tip #11: You may want to lose some weight first.
While a tummy tuck can certainly give you a flatter, more toned tummy, it is not a weight-loss surgery. To get the best results, you should be within 10 to 15 pounds of your ideal body weight before undergoing surgery. This means that if you are carrying around some extra pounds, it’s a good idea to try to lose weight before booking your surgery date.
Tip #10: Start prioritizing exercise and nutrition now.
Exercise and a healthy diet are always doctor-recommended, but they are especially beneficial for tummy tuck patients. One reason is that those who already live a healthy lifestyle tend to have a smoother recovery after abdominoplasty. The other reason is that regular exercise and good nutrition habits are the best tools to help you maintain your tummy tuck results long-term.
Tip #9: Don’t have children after a tummy tuck.
Having a tummy tuck won’t stop you from being able to get pregnant again, but previous patients (and tummy tuck surgeons) recommend against it. This is because a future pregnancy can reverse the results of your tummy tuck. Dr. Aycock generally recommends that you wait to undergo abdominoplasty until you have finished having children so that you can enjoy the long-term results from your tummy tuck procedure.
Tip #8: Don’t underestimate the recovery.
Most people know that they will need to take two weeks off from work to recover from tummy tuck surgery. But what many fail to realize is that your recovery won’t be finished yet at that point, and those initial two weeks may be more difficult than you anticipated. Swelling, discomfort, pain, and soreness can all be significant, and you will need to hold off on strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for at least six weeks after surgery. Even if you are a very fit individual, it will take your body a while to recover because abdominoplasty is a major procedure. Don’t underestimate the toll it may take on you during recovery.
Tip #7: Ask for help during recovery.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help during your recovery. If you have young children, you may need someone to stay with you as you won’t be able to pick up your children for at least six weeks. Overdoing it during recovery could cause complications, but if you can be patient with yourself, allow your body time to heal, and ask for help each time you need it, you will be feeling back to your old self in no time. Of course, Dr. Aycock and her staff will be monitoring your recovery and will be happy to offer helpful advice or answers to your questions.
Tip #6: Full healing may take longer than you expect.
While most people are able to resume normal work activities and light exercises within a few weeks after surgery, the healing process will continue for months. Full healing of the soft tissues could take up to a year to resolve. Dr. Aycock will be monitoring you to ensure that the healing process is going well.
Tip #5: Follow your doctor’s recommendations about exercise during tummy tuck recovery.
After your tummy tuck, you may feel like doing nothing except lying down, but some physical movement is important to facilitate healing and promote circulation. Dr. Aycock will advise you to walk around or do similar light exercises, then gradually work your way up to more intense exercises. It is also very important that you listen to your body during recovery, and don’t push yourself too hard too soon. Avoid strenuous exercises for at least six weeks to ensure that you don’t tear your incisions.
Tip #4: Follow your doctor’s recommendations to reduce scarring.
As with any major surgery, you will have a tummy tuck scar. Dr. Aycock will take great care when placing the incision so that it may be hidden by most clothing, and she will also advise you on ways to minimize scarring further. Strategies include avoiding infection, keeping your incision site clean, limiting sun exposure, eating healthy foods, hydrating frequently, and not doing too much too soon. Tummy tuck scars tend to fade naturally over time, but your efforts can maximize the aesthetic results.
Tip #3: Plan to wear loose, comfortable clothing for a while.
Due to swelling and discomfort, plan to avoid any tight or fitted clothing for a while after surgery. Make sure you have plenty of comfortable, loose clothing options to wear while your body heals. Be patient: even after the pain has largely subsided and you are feeling generally back to normal, swelling may still persist for several more weeks. Give it some time before you try on those new skinny jeans.
Tip #2: Results may take a while to appear…but they will be worth it!
Don’t expect to see your results right away. Postoperative swelling and loose-fitted clothes will disguise your surgeon’s work for a while. But as the swelling subsides and your body heals, your results will become gradually more noticeable. And as they appear, you will see that all of it was worth it!
Tip #1: Expect more benefits beyond a flatter tummy.
Your tummy tuck will give you a flatter, toned abdomen, but you can also look forward to more than that. Once you have recovered, you will have increased core stability which could help improve your posture and reduce back pain. You may even feel your core engaging more as you exercise regularly. You will also likely discover that you can wear a greater variety of clothing styles because you are no longer choosing only clothes that will hide your abdomen. Perhaps best of all, you will likely develop more self-confidence which will empower you to live your life more fully.
To find out more about tummy tuck surgery, schedule your consultation with Dr. Aycock. Call (720) 634-7400 or contact us online today.