Recovering from surgery on the tummy
Recovering from surgery on the tummy
The tummy tuck is one of the most complex and delicate procedures performed with the aim to restore the beautiful appearance of the abdominal area. Even patients with a normal weight can be confronted with an unsightly appearance of the tummy that can be caused by loose abdominal muscles, umbilical hernia, and saggy skin present on the lower abdominal area. When the tummy tuck is performed, the plastic surgeon will strengthen the abdominal muscles with sutures and bring them together on the median line. It can also fix a potential umbilical hernia and remove the excess skin from the tummy.
It is important to understand that while mostly performed for aesthetic purposes, abdominoplasty is a complex and major surgery and patients must weight in the pros and cons of the procedure very carefully. There are certain complications that can occur that can delay the recovery process, and the recovery process itself can be associated with a certain level of pain and discomfort.
In this article, we will discuss recovering from surgery on the tummy.
The tummy tuck should be scheduled only after the patient has tried to correct the appearance of the tummy using other methods such as physical exercises and diets. If there is no improvement on the abdominal wall, it means that the patient might be confronted with diastasis recti, a condition that affects the muscles of the abdomen or saggy skin and poor skin tonus. These can only be corrected with the help of plastic surgery.
The procedure is performed in a vast majority of cases with the help of general anesthetic so the patient doesn’t feel any pain during the procedure and has no recollection of the surgical trauma. The duration of the procedure is dependent on the complexity of the surgical plan that was designed and also whether the procedure is combined with other procedures such as liposuction or fat transfer to the hips or performed as a stand-alone surgery. Generally speaking, the tummy tuck can take between one hour and a half to four hours or more. There are different types of tummy tucks such as the mini tummy tuck, complete tummy tuck, extended tummy tuck, and the hourglass tummy tuck. The duration of the procedure, as well as the length of the recovery process, are dependent on the type of procedure and the health condition of the patient prior to the procedure.
Recovery after general anesthesia
The procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. After the procedure, the patient is moved to recovery where he will spend the next few hours until waking up from the effects of the anesthesia. After this, he is released from the medical facility and can go home. Generally speaking, when we use general anesthesia, the patient is advised to rest for at least 24 hours after the procedure until the final effects disappear from the system. After waking up from the anesthesia, the patient will be helped by the medical staff out of the bed and to take a few steps. This is important after any surgery. Moving as soon as possible after the procedure (if only to take a few steps) can avoid blood clot formation and hence developing a severe complication such as deep vein thrombosis and also speed up the recovery process.
It is worth mentioning that it is only after all the effects of the general anesthesia are eliminated from the system that the real healing process begins. Patients are advised to walk at least for a couple of minutes every couple of hours as soon as possible after the procedure was performed and to increase the length of the walks gradually over the first-week post-op.
Pain management during the recovery period is essential. Getting off the bed and moving around can trigger an intensification of pain, but at the same time, not moving at all can lead to severe complications and delay the recovery process. This is the reason why patients should take the pain medication as prescribed by the plastic surgeon and report back if the pain is too intense so the medication can be adjusted.
For the well-being of the patient and to have a fast and smooth recovery process, the pain should be manageable at all times. Keep in mind that intense pain that is experienced in the first few days can be the symptom of a severe complication such as infection. When intense pain is associated with high fever, pus coming from the incision sites, and redness in the area, the patient is advised to seek medical help immediately or get in touch with the plastic surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.
The incision necessary to perform the tummy tuck is an open wound that is predisposed to infections. This is the reason why the medical staff will give you extensive details about how to take care of the incisions to ensure a fast cicatrization process and to avoid complications. The surgeon will also tell you how often you need to change the dressings and how to do this after the procedure.
Wearing the compression garments or girdle after the tummy tuck is another instruction given by the plastic surgeon with the aim of preventing complications. The girdle needs to be worn non-stop for a few weeks post-op and after this only during the day for a few more weeks. The girdle helps with reducing the swelling and enhancing the aesthetic results.
Sleeping on the back on a slightly bent forward position is recommended to avoid putting too much pressure on the incisions and causing them to open. When walking and standing up during the first week post-op the patient is advised to keep a slightly bent forward position, just like when resting in bed, with the same purpose of avoiding putting too much pressure on the incisions. Deep breathing is recommended as it increases the blood flux and oxygenates the blood.
Eating regimen during recovery
Complex plastic surgery procedures such as abdominoplasty can entail a longer recovery period. To speed up the healing and to be able to resume your daily activities as soon as possible, the recommendation is to have a healthy and balanced eating regimen after the surgery. A special diet is necessary to be followed to avoid complications such as severe constipation.
A frequent issue during the recovery period after any type of surgical procedure is constipation. Generally speaking, it is very dangerous especially during the first day post-op and considering the location of the scar of the tummy tuck. Any type of pressure and muscle tightening on the tummy can lead to the opening of the incisions, infections, and other complications. To avoid this, it is necessary to eat foods that are rich in fibers for a fast intestinal transit. Whole cereals are preferred instead of refined white bread and also fresh fruits and vegetables. There are certain fruits known for their benefits such as ones rich in vitamin C. Forest fruits such as berries are always a good option. Carrots, broccoli, spinach and others vegetables rich in iron, fibers, and vitamins A and B can also help during the recovery period.
Drinking enough liquids is another important consideration as an optimal level of hydration can speed up the recovery process.
The tummy tuck is a major plastic surgery procedure and the recovery period is very important for the well-being of the patient and to get the best results possible.
Recovering from surgery on the tummy is a process that can take up to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the procedure and also the age and prior health condition of the patient. During this time, there are strict instructions that need to be followed to ensure a smooth recovery process. Keep in mind that pain management after the tummy tuck is essential for a speedy recovery, as well as wearing the girdle and having a balanced eating regimen that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
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