Recovering From A Tummy Tuck
How Long Will It Take For Me To Recover?
Recovery from a tummy tuck will depend on the procedure performed (full or mini) and your individual circumstances, however most patients will be mobile from the first day after surgery and will be able to leave hospital within 2-3 days.
It is usual to be sore from surgery for the first few days or weeks, especially as you will most likely have some swelling and bruising after your procedure. Following a full tummy tuck you should be able to resume your normal daily activities within six weeks and will see the true results after a few months.
You will be required to stay in hospital following your surgery, and which procedure you will have will determine the length of this stay.
It is common for most patients to remain in hospital for a period of two to four days after surgery, as this will allow the effects of the anaesthetic to pass, and also allow doctors to monitor for signs of infection or complications. As the anaesthetic wears off, you may experience a great deal of discomfort and pain, and so pain relief can be administered via oral tablets or injections to help you manage this. Your doctor may have inserted tubes through which to drain excess blood and fluid, and these will need to be removed before you are able to return home. You may also be receiving fluids through a drip, which will be removed once you are able to drink independently.
When getting ready to be discharged, you should ensure you have made arrangements to be picked up and taken home, and to have relative or friend stay with you for the first 24 hours immediately following your arrival home. This is because general anaesthesia can affect your ability to drive, and also your co-ordination and reasoning skills. Therefore, having someone at home to take care of you can ensure you don’t drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign any important documents whilst still under the effects of anaesthesia is important.
Will I Be Left With Scarring Post-Surgery?
As with all invasive procedures, you will be left with scarring where the incision was made, although this should fade over time.
A mini tummy tuck will result in a small horizontal scar just above your pubic area. If you have a full tummy tuck you will be left with a scar the width of your stomach from hip to hip due to the larger incision made during this procedure.
Although these scars will look usually look very red and noticeable for the first 3-4 months following your procedure, they should fade into being less noticeable with time.
How Long Should I Wear My Binding Garment?
Following your tummy tuck you will be given a binding garment similar to a girdle that will aid in your healing and reduce your swelling and bruising. You should wear this garment 24 hours a day for up to 6 weeks following your procedure and your surgery team should give you some advice on hygiene and how to clean etc.
How Long Will It Be Before I Can...
- Walk - You should be mobile from day 1 following your surgery but should try to rest as much as possible for the first few days. It is important to maintain some mobility however to speed up the healing process and avoid complications such as blood clots.
- Drive - This will depend entirely on your personal situation, but it normally takes somewhere between 4 days and 2 weeks to resume driving. As with all surgical procedures involving general anaesthetic you should at least avoid driving for the first 24 hours after your surgery. Your ability to drive then depends on your level comfort in doing so, and whether any pain medication you are taking affects your ability to do so.
- Exercise - Although you should try to keep mobile my walking around for the first few days and weeks following your tummy tuck, you should avoid strenuous exercise for at least 6 weeks following your procedure.
- Have intercourse - Depending on how well you have healed following your procedure, it is normally safe to resume intercourse (as long as it is not too vigorous!) within 3-4 weeks. You should always wait until you are comfortable enough to do so without causing pain or discomfort, and this may vary from patient to patient.
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Will There Be Any Swelling Post-Surgery
You will most likely experience a great deal of swelling after your tummy tuck, especially with the full tummy tuck procedure, although this should be reduced by the support garment you will be asked to wear. If the swelling is due to the collection of fluid under the skin (which is common) your surgeon will most likely remove this fluid using a syringe, or (if you are still in hospital) by inserting a tube to drain the excess fluid away.
A tummy tuck is rarely available on the NHS, which means you will need to pay to have the procedure carried out privately.
In exceptional cases, you may be able to have the procedure carried out on the NHS if it can be proved that excess skin that has become saggy following dramatic weight loss is impacting your mental or physical health. Similarly, if the stomach muscles have herniated to the point where intestines begin to protrude through the weakened muscle wall, corrective surgery in the form of a tummy tuck can take place. A consultation with your GP will inform you of the likelihood that you’ll be able to have the procedure on the NHS, or whether you will have to pay for it privately. The latter being the more common option, you will then need to look at budgeting for your treatment.
Typically, a tummy tuck will cost around £7,000 when carried out a private cosmetic surgery clinic. A number of factors will be taken into consideration when assessing the price of the surgery, such as where you have it conducted, whether you need to have a mini, standard or extended procedure, and if you are at high risk of developing any complications. You may wish to enquire about financing options to see if there’s the possibility of spreading the cost.
What Type Of Results Can I Expect
Immediately following surgery, you can expect to feel sore and uncomfortable as your body begins the healing process.
One week after surgery, you will still likely feel sore and may require assistance moving around. If you have had drains inserted into your wounds, your doctor will likely remove these at this point. In the month following your procedure, you could still feel swollen, but your mobility should have improved considerably. You can gradually begin to resume your normal routine, and should be able to see noticeable results. By the time two months have passed, you should be feeling back to normal. Although your scars may remain, you should look and feel great about your new stomach. Eating healthily and following a routine that involves regular exercise will help you maintain the weight-loss results you have achieved by undergoing surgery.