Care After Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck Surgery)

Care After Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck Surgery)

Hygeine and Care After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Plan to rest and limit activity for the first week. DO NOT LIFT, PULL OR STRAIN FOR THE FIRST WEEK FOLLOWING SURGERY. No lifting over 10 pounds for 3 weeks. Because you’ve had some anesthetic, you cannot legally drive for 24 hours. You also should not drive while taking the prescribed medications, nor will you be able to drive for at least 5 days following surgery. You should arrange for a driver to bring you to your first post-op visit. Walk around in your home for light exercise at least 3 times daily to help with circulation; DO NOT remain completely sedentary. You may go up and down stairs carefully as necessary. Dr. Howard will discuss with you during your healing process when you will be able resume your normal exercise routine and sexual activity. You should not plan to travel for long distances or take any trips for at least 4 weeks after surgery.

Do I need to be on a special diet after my tummy tuck surgery?

You may resume a regular diet when your nausea subsides. Start light (liquids and soups); avoid fried foods for your first few meals. Drink lots of water. We HIGHLY recommend taking Metamucil or Citrucel (or other over the counter stool softener) during the healing phase as pain medications can be constipating. This can be quite uncomfortable during your recovery, and is a very common issue with this procedure and with the use of opioids.

Pain Management After Tummy Tuck Surgery

You will feel some discomfort, tightness, and may have muscle spasms. Taking your pain medication as prescribed will be the most effective. Try heat or cold packs, moving around, or repositioning to help control pain. Sleeping in a recliner may be more comfortable for the first few days. Call the office if your pain seems uncontrollable. Do not add over-the-counter medications without consulting the physician.

WOUND CARE: Two days after surgery, you may remove your dressing and shower with help. DO NOT try to take a bath or completely submerge drain sites and incisions in water. DO NOT use Neosporin or any other topical ointments unless otherwise directed. Alcohol may be used to wipe off skin at the drain site. Good personal hygiene promotes healing. DO NOT SMOKE.

Drain Care After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Strip drain tubing twice daily to push any clots into drain bulb. Empty drain bulb twice daily (am and pm) into graduated cup and record output in ml’s or cc’s and record on sheet. Bring output record to your follow-up office visits. The drains will stay in place until the combined am/pm output of each is less than 30 cc’s per day (24-hr period), which is usually between day 7-10 postop.

ABDOMEN APPEARANCE: Your abdomen will feel numb and be quite swollen at first. Bruising may appear around the incision site and on the abdomen in general. You will notice a remarkable difference, but the final result will really not be evident for at least 2-3 months.

APPEARANCE OF INCISION: It is important to examine the incision site daily. You may notice a normal redness and swelling or a small amount of pink drainage from the incision or drain sites. If you have more than expected redness, swelling, drainage, bleeding, or if you develop a fever greater than 101o, call our office.

  • Leave the steri-strips in place until they start to come off on their own (7-10 days).
  • Do not use scar creams until the incisions are all completely healed, and after discussing with Dr. Howard.
  • Your scar will look red or purple for a while, but it will gradually fade in color over a few months to a year.
  • Do not tan your scar to avoid making it permanently darkened.
  • Scar revisions for widened areas, unevenness, or puckered ends of the incision (dog ears), are common after this type of surgery. The patient should be at least 6-12 months out from surgery to consider this option as scars change in appearance over many months. The patient may choose to have this office procedure done to improve their aesthetic outcome (office surgery charges would apply).

Followup Appointment After Tummy Tuck Surgery

Dr. Barbara Howard will schedule a followup appointment with you. If you have any questions please call our office at 635-9668 during regular business hours. If it is after office hours and you have a serious emergency, you may have Dr. Howard paged through the hospital by calling 573-632-5000.

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