Hi everyone! It’s been almost two weeks since my tummy tuck, and I feel great! I’m definitely not where I want to be in terms of recovery, so for now I’m going to keep posting about my experience and what it’s like to go through this process.
I know that a lot of people have misconceptions about why people get plastic surgery, so today I’m going to talk a little bit about the reasons why I chose to undergo this procedure.
Before getting my surgery, one of the biggest things that was holding me back was the idea that people who got plastic surgery were “vain.” But after talking to other women who had done something similar and done their research, I realized that there’s nothing vain about wanting to be comfortable in your own skin. That’s the whole reason why I did this.
I wanted my stomach flat again after having kids and losing weight. I wanted my body shape back from before pregnancy, but try as hard as we might with diet and exercise there just aren’t any quick fixes for these types of things.
I also felt like other people would think less of me if they knew what kind of surgery I had done. But once again, after talking with other women who had gone through similar procedures
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17 days post op tummy tuck
After having plastic surgery, particularly with a procedure as transformative as the tummy tuck, it is completely normal to feel anxious and excited about seeing your newly enhanced look as soon as possible. While there may be a noticeable difference immediately after some procedures, the final results of most cosmetic surgeries – including tummy tuck – typically take weeks, months, or even longer to fully develop, as postoperative swelling subsides and incisions fade. It is important for men and women who are considering a tummy tuck to have realistic expectations about their recovery period and be patient throughout the healing process.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Khorsandi, Chief of Plastic Surgery at VIP Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, NV, takes great care to ensure that patients not only undergo a safe and successful procedure with stunning results, but also that tummy tuck recovery is as comfortable, quick, and convenient as possible. If you are considering a tummy tuck, use this helpful information to prepare yourself appropriately for your surgery, recovery, and beyond.
What does tummy tuck do?
Also known as abdominoplasty, tummy tuck surgery is a substantial cosmetic procedure designed to help patients achieve or restore a slimmer, smoother, tighter abdominal contour through skin removal, muscle reinforcement, and other techniques. A tummy tuck is ideal for women who have had children, patients who have experienced significant weight loss, or those who simply have loose, hanging skin and stubborn pockets of fat due to the aging process.
During tummy tuck surgery in Las Vegas, NV, Dr. Khorsandi will make an incision on the lower abdomen, just above the pubic area. The length of the incision needed will vary based on how much skin needs to be removed and if any additional procedures are being performed. Dr. Khorsandi fully understands the importance of keeping cosmetic surgery discreet and shares in his patients’ desires to have the least amount of visible scarring possible, taking great care to place his incisions where they can be concealed with underwear or swimsuits, and keeping them as small and thin as they can be to allow for an ideal result.
In many cases, liposuction is used during tummy tuck to remove small pockets of fat from the abdomen and further elevate the patient’s final outcome. For patients suffering from diastasis recti, which is a common result of pregnancy or weight fluctuation, Dr. Khorsandi can reposition and reinforce the abdominal muscles and eliminate the telltale “mommy pooch” or pouch-like tummy. Once these corrections have been made, Dr. Khorsandi will carefully excise the loose, excess skin, pull the remaining skin tight, and secure it with sutures, resulting in a smooth, firm, sexy physique.
How long is tummy tuck recovery?
The recovery time after tummy tuck can vary somewhat depending on several factors, including the patient’s overall health and whether or not any other procedures were performed during the surgery. For example, women who combine a tummy tuck with breast augmentation, thigh lift, and other treatments as part of a full mommy makeover transformation may require extended recovery time. In general, tummy tuck patients should expect to take about two weeks off of work, depending on the physical demands of their jobs. Light activity can usually be resumed after about 1 – 2 weeks, while more strenuous physical activity and exercise should be paused for at least 6 – 8 weeks, or until cleared by your surgeon. Though there will be a noticeable difference in your abdominal contour relatively quickly, the results will continue to improve as the body heals and the swelling reduces over time.
How long does tummy tuck swelling last?
Arguably the most notable aspect of recovery after tummy tuck is postoperative swelling. This is a completely normal and expected part of tummy tuck recovery, as well as nearly any surgical procedure, so don’t be alarmed. Swelling after tummy tuck can last for several weeks, but there are some things you can do to help keep it under control. Three helpful ways to reduce tummy tuck swelling time include:
1. Wear compression garments: As part of your postoperative routine, you will be required to wear medical compression garments, specifically to reduce swelling and promote proper, efficient healing. It is critical that you wear your compression garments as directed, which may be 24/7 for several weeks.
2. Stay mobile: While it is essential that patients get plenty of rest during tummy tuck recovery, it is also important to incorporate very light walking into your daily routine. This helps to reduce swelling, improve circulation, and minimize the risk of postoperative complications, such as blood clots. Simply walking around the room or to and from the bathroom several times a day is usually sufficient for the first several days after surgery. Too much activity, or activities that are too strenuous, can actually slow your healing and cause complications as well. Talk to your surgeon about finding the right balance.
3. Watch your diet: Whether you have had surgery or not, eating too much salt can exacerbate swelling, bloating, and water retention. A common misconception is that drinking more water will make the swelling worse, but the opposite is actually true. Make sure you stay adequately hydrated and minimize your sodium intake to reduce tummy tuck swelling.
At your preoperative appointments, as well as on the day of surgery, Dr. Khorsandi will provide you with both written and verbal instructions to ensure that your recovery is as smooth, comfortable, and speedy as it can be.
2 weeks post op tummy tuck swelling
I perform a lot of Pittsburgh tummy tucks and everyone complains about lower abdominal swelling and the discomfort that it causes after tummy tuck/abdominoplasty surgery. The bad news is that lower abdominal swelling after tummy tuck surgery occurs in every patient. The degree to which it is observable or becomes a problem varies greatly based on how well you follow your surgeons instructions and your overall health! At my Pittsburgh-based plastic surgery practice, I like to counsel patients what to expect before they have surgery so they are prepared for the inevitable.
You can expect swelling after tummy tuck surgery to occur over the first few days with a peak at days 3-5. A significant amount of your swelling and/or bruising will come down by three weeks post op.
Post Operative Swelling: Why Does Swelling Happen?
When a horizontal incision is made across the lower abdomen, the skin just above the incision now has an altered blood supply. Blood can get in, but it has a harder time getting out because the veins run north to the chest and gravity works against them. Patients that have had flank liposuction at the same time as an abdominoplasty seem to have more swelling. I do this frequently to contour the waist. A basic principal is the fatter or thicker your tummy skin prior to the surgery, the higher the likelihood you will have prolonged abdominal swelling.
Avoiding Swelling After Tummy Tuck Surgery
The good news is that there are some fairly simple steps you can take to reduce the swelling after tummy tuck surgery and speed your post-tummy tuck recovery.
Banish the Bulge: Lay Flat
To avoid swelling after their tummy tuck/abdominoplasty surgery, I always tell my patients to spend the first 4 days after surgery lying with their chest fairly flat, legs elevated, to aid in venous return from the skin flap and from their legs, thereby reducing the incidence of deep venous thrombosis. EVERY OTHER HOUR – get up, walk around, eat quickly, then down horizontal again. SITTING IS THE KISS OF DEATH and will lead to more tummy swelling and cause all your blood and swelling fluid to pool in your pelvis. The “V” lying position is almost as bad. Recliner chairs that raise the chest and not the legs are bad.
Post Tummy Tuck Compression Garments
A good, NOT TOO TIGHT OR TOO LOOSE compression garment – whether it is a lipo garment, girdle, or Spanx – will also put gentle compression on the tissues and reduce swelling. Drains, usually a necessity after tummy tuck surgery, syphon off the fluid that would accumulate under the skin. Make sure they are working properly. Strip them every hour, empty every 8 hours and record the drainage in cc’s. Clean off around the drain entrance sites on your skin with alcohol at least twice a day.
Drains are a mixed blessing. They help create the seal between the fat on the skin and the abdominal wall, healing the large inside wound, but they are also a source of bacteria entering into the wound and can cause infection. The longer the drains are in, the higher the chance of infection. Being on antibiotics while the drains are in DOES NOT prevent infection, but it WILL ensure that the infection might be more difficult to treat with unusual bacteria and higher resistances to normal antibiotics.
Drains are there to reduce swelling after tummy tuck.
Recently, a new technique by a father and son plastic surgery team has been developed that accelerates the healing of the skin flap, and reduces the swelling. I use plication sutures between the deep fat and the muscles to close the space that accumulates fluid. My drainage amounts have reduced by 60%. I have been using this technique for the past 18 months.
Watch Your Diet
Making sure you are eating a healthy, low sodium diet is another great way to ensure you are reducing your post-op swelling as much as you can. Your body needs proper nutrition and hydration in order to heal, so give it what it needs!
Retained Seroma: What To Do
If at 2 weeks post-op, your lower abdomen feels thick and woody, your surgeon should make sure you don’t have a retained seroma, or chronic fluid collection. This can be aspirated off with an 18 gauge long needle and 30 cc syringe. Keep wearing your compression garment and try not to sit much. Sometimes lying with a heavy, flat book on your belly helps create the seal.
Every 20 patients or so I have to put another drain back in after I have removed them. Sometimes I take this opportunity to re-excise part of the center incision, de-fat the edges a bit, and create a tighter closure. This extra surgery helps get a better result and resolves the seroma and tummy swelling.
In the end, the seroma will be gone, you will be healed, and your abdomen will look smooth and flat- the reason why you had the surgery in the first place. I often ask patients – please lose 15 pounds before the surgery, burn off some of that fat inside your abdomen around the intestines and some of the fat right under the skin!! We will have a better final result, and the patient and the surgeon will both be happier because the patient just looks THAT much better.
Tummy Tuck Results
Here are some tummy tuck before and after photos of Dr. Cherup’s patients. Our website has a full gallery of untouched patient photos so you can see the real results that are possible from Pittsburgh’s top plastic surgeon.