Tummy Tuck Recovery
One of the biggest hurdles for patients considering getting a tummy tuck is the recovery. (The second is probably the incision. More about that in the next blog entry). Anyone who has considered getting a tummy tuck has considered what it may feel like during the recovery, the length of the recovery, and what it would take to recover enough to go back to work as well as to be able to start exercising again.
There is no doubt that tummy tuck surgery requires some downtime and comes with some amount of discomfort (the nice word for pain). There are some things that can make the process more comfortable. Below, I will discuss where the pain from a tummy tuck comes from and how it can be made better before, during, and after surgery.
Before tummy tuck surgery
Knowledge is power. The more you know about the tummy tuck process the better. Fear is often a component to discomfort and the more you know the less you will fear. Most of the fear associated with tummy tuck surgery is the incision and the muscle repair. Once you realize that the sutures a plentiful and strong and that little can be done to ruin them you will feel more secure. The other piece of information is spasm. Some of the discomfort of a tummy tuck is from muscle spasm. If you know this, the sensation will not be associated with something “bad” rather a relatively common sensation that we have all felt before.
During tummy tuck surgery
Not much for you as a patient to do here except dream. I have refined the tummy tuck surgery process in ways that I believe can help decrease discomfort. Careful and gentle tissue handling, efficient surgical process, and the use of the most modern medications can all contribute to a more pleasant recovery process. Of particular help is Exparel which I have started using about six months ago. Exparel is a long acting pain medication that is injected into the deep tissues before the tummy tuck is closed and has been a great addition to my tummy tuck practice.
After tummy tuck surgery
This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. Good support, patience, and a team mentality are key to making the most of the first week or two following the tummy tuck procedure. A toilet seat booster has been a wonderful recommendation by one of my patients, which I have passed along to all of my tummy tuck patients. It helps by not having to go down so low when you sit down on the toilet. Good pain medication and muscle spasm relievers also are helpful as is a well chosen and well positioned abdominal binder.
Together, all of these little details can help make the tummy tuck recovery process more tolerable and less scary.
All the best,