Getting rid of swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck - Hourglass Tummy Tuck
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Getting rid of swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck

Getting rid of swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck



The hourglass tummy tuck is a highly invasive procedure. Like all invasive procedures, patients complain about swelling after the surgery. The swelling affects the areas where the incisions were made, such as the lower abdomen and the liposuction sites. The post-operative swelling is a normal and temporary side effect. Keep in mind that any procedure that involves incisions will leave behind swelling, and the hourglass tummy tuck is not an exception.

Swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck will happen right after the surgery and will remain with you for many weeks and even months. The swelling requires time to subside. The results will not be evident unless the swelling has disappeared. Most of the swelling will subside within the first six weeks following the operation. 


Why does swelling happen?

Swelling is a normal side effect that happens after any invasive procedure. Your body reacts against the incisions by creating swelling. In other words, it is not possible to perform the hourglass tummy tuck without incisions and hence the swelling. 

During the hourglass tummy tuck, incisions are made across the lower abdomen and on the liposuction sites like the sides, flanks, upper back, and lower handles. The incisions alter the blood supply to the surrounding area. Due to the incisions and tampering with the tissue, blood can enter the tissue, but it is difficult for the blood to get out because of the surgical trauma. Furthermore, gravity affects the flow of blood in the target areas. As a result of this phenomenon, the abdomen and other operated areas swell after the surgery.


How to get rid of the post-op swelling

Swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck will reach a peak within the first week following the procedure. However, the swelling will not disappear soon. It can take several weeks and even months for the swelling to go away. How fast will the swelling subside also differs from patient to patient, depending on your healing pattern and your choice of plastic surgeon. Fortunately, there are certain ways that you can use to expedite the process of subsiding the. Here are some of the ways:


– Lying flat

One of the most effective ways to reduce the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck is to lie with your chest adequately flat and your legs raised. Doing so helps the blood in the veins to make their way out and circulate through the body instead of getting stuck in the affected area. Doing so will also help decrease the risk of deep vein thrombosis. 

Secondly, your plastic surgeon will ask you to get up and take short and slow walks every few hours during the recovery period. Doing so helps the blood circulate in your body. Keep in mind that sitting or lying for long hours without moving around can increase the swelling because it slows down the blood flow in your body. 


– Use of compression garments

All patients are required to wear compression garments after the hourglass tummy tuck. The compression garments are primarily designed to reduce the postoperative swelling after plastic surgery and to expedite the healing process and prevent certain complications. These garments apply compression to the affected area, which helps decrease swelling. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to wear the compression garments for at least six weeks post-surgery. Be sure to follow this advice, as it is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck. 


– Drain cannula

Swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck can also happen due to seroma and hematoma. Seroma is a condition whereby the fluids discharged by your body gets trapped under the skin, accumulates there, and creates swelling. On the other hand, hematoma is a condition when the blood discharged at the incision site seeps under the skin and becomes clotted. Both of these complications trigger swelling in the area. 

To avoid these, the plastic surgeon can put drain cannulas on the surgical wounds. The drain cannulas drain away the fluids and blood discharged at the incision sites, preventing them from getting under the skin. When these problems are prevented, it can help prevent swelling. The drains also develop a closure between the fat under the skin and the abdominal skin. As such, the underlying wounds heal relatively quickly. Usually, the drains are used for the first few days after the surgery. They should not be used for a more extended period because infections may enter your body through the drain.


– Ice

Another effective method to get rid of the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck is through ice. When ice is applied to the affected area, it helps decrease the swelling. However, you must ask your plastic surgeon whether this method is feasible for you. Typically, ice is applied to the affected area during the initial five days following the procedure. However, make sure not to apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, it should be wrapped in a clean cloth and then applied to the affected area. Apply the ice to the area for more than twenty minutes at a time. 


– Take sufficient rest

Resting is the key to a smoother and proper recovery after the hourglass tummy tuck. It is for this reason that all plastic surgeons advise their patients to rest for many weeks after the procedure. The good news is that adequate resting after the procedure also helps reduce the post-op swelling. You must avoid work and instead rest for the first two weeks. Even though you can take short and slow walks every few hours during this time, do not engage in more physical activities and movements because that will affect the incisions and increase the swelling. After two weeks, you may resume work but do not engage in strenuous activities for six weeks after the surgery.


– Drugs and supplements

There are also certain medicines and supplements that can aid in reducing the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck. Also, there are certain medicines and supplements that you should avoid because they affect the fluid balance in your body and increase swelling. Herbal supplements like arnica Montana have been found to reduce swelling and bruising. However, do not self-medicate. Instead, you should ask your plastic surgeon as to what medicines or supplements you can take. Keep in mind that caffeine, water pills, and garlic supplements create more swelling.


– Keep your body hydrated

Proper hydration after the hourglass tummy tuck is of paramount importance. Keep in mind that the human body comprises 70-72 percent of water. Your body cannot heal and function properly without water. More intake of fluids and water after the hourglass tummy tuck helps reduce the post-operative swelling. Water intake also keeps you hydrated and helps remove the toxins from your body, besides improving bowel movement. 


– Proper diet

To heal smoothly and help the swelling subside quickly, you must stick to good nutrition. The swelling will not decrease if your body does not get the nutrients that it needs. A balanced and healthy diet helps tissue repair, which in turn reduces the swelling. Make sure to include protein, iron, carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, and vitamins in your diet. They help balance the fluid in your body and heal the incisions and affected tissues.


–    Decrease your sodium intake

Sodium chloride (salt) and other forms of sodium retain water in your body. When the water is retained in your body, it increases post-operative swelling. After the hourglass tummy tuck, make sure to decrease your sodium intake. However, do not eliminate sodium from your diet as it can create other health problems. 


– Massage

Massage, whether it is tissue massage or lymphatic massage, is also effective in reducing the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck. Massage helps improve blood circulation, which is the key to getting rid of the post-op swelling. However, it is not wise to resort to massage without asking your surgeon. Also, getting the massage when the incisions have not healed is risky, as it can trigger wound dehiscence, bleeding, and infection. Your plastic surgeon can guide you as to what type of massage you can get and when. 



The hourglass tummy tuck is a major plastic surgery procedure that not only makes your abdomen firmer, smooth, and youthful but also delivers you the hourglass body that features wider hips and smaller waist. Since the procedure involves incisions and tampering with your body tissue, swelling after the surgery is inevitable. The post-operative swelling is a normal side effect. It will disappear many weeks or even months after the procedure. Many patients wonder whether there exist ways to get rid of the swelling quickly. In this article, I have explained some of the effective methods to decrease the swelling after the hourglass tummy tuck.









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