Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How Long After A Tummy Tuck Can You Go Back To Work

How long after a tummy tuck can you go back to work? You might be wondering how long it will take you to recover from your tummy tuck surgery. The answer depends on the complexity of your procedure, the type of anesthesia used, and your overall health. Most people are able to return to work in about three weeks; however, some people may need more time.

If you have a more complicated procedure or if you are particularly active at work, you may need an additional week or two off from work. If you have had any other surgeries in the past 12 months or if you have a chronic condition (such as diabetes), it is important that you discuss your recovery time with your doctor before scheduling your surgery date.

Read on to learn more about How Long After A Tummy Tuck Can You Go Back To Work, Lying Down On A Bed After A Tummy Tuck and Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

You have just had a tummy tuck and want to know how soon you will be able to return to work. The time it takes to recover can vary from person to person. A quick answer to the question would be anywhere from two to six weeks.

Once the surgery is completed, you should be able to return home on the same day. Even so, once you go home, you will need to have some assistance. There is a garment for compression that needs to be worn for at least four to six weeks to make sure the tummy is held in place the proper way. This helps it heal the correct way. Then you will need to have multiple visits with the surgeon in the weeks following the procedure.

The back to work time depends on your basic fitness and health. Health and fitness levels can determine how quickly you heal. It also depends on what kind of job you have. For a desk job, it may only take 10 to 15 days of recovery to return to work. However, if the job is physical, such as standing, manual labor and even dancing, there should be more time to wait.

If you are a smoker, this could also impact your recovery time and the time it takes to go back to work. The blood vessels are affected by cigarette smoke and can slow the process of healing. Smoking can also cause serious problems so quitting for four to six weeks prior to and after surgery would be a good idea, not to mention quitting altogether.

Each person’s body is different and that also applies to recovery time after a tummy tuck. Walking a bit after surgery is a good way to help with healing and will also lessen the chance of blood clots forming. It can help avoid too much swelling and keep muscles from being too stiff.

During the first few days there may be some swelling, bruising and tightness. The garment for compression will still be in place even after the drains are removed. No lifting, heavy exercise, drinking alcohol, smoking or working should be done during the first week.

After two weeks, the surgery site should have less swelling and bruising and the tightness should begin to disappear. All throughout the recovery period, the surgeon and specialist should be consulted to know what can and can’t be done. Also, if there are any unusual complications during this time, the physicians should be promptly notified. They are also the ones who will be able to determine the best time that you can return to work.

Tummy Tuck Recovery Tips

Undergoing a tummy tuck can be a daunting decision to make. There is both a financial investment as well as a time investment in the recovery process. Above all else, however, there is concern of the unknown. Many of my own Scottsdale patients wonder:

  • How much discomfort will I be in?
  • How do I sit or sleep?
  • How do I walk when I am supposed to be bent over?
  • What do I do with the binder?
  • How do I go about using the restroom?
  • And many more.

Below is my list of ten best tummy tuck recovery tips that I have learned from my own patients that have been through the process and have come up with great solutions to common hurdles. I encourage anyone who reads this list and has advice of their own to comment below. We are always looking for ideas to provide our patients a better tummy tuck experience.

A tummy tuck naturally puts tension on the horizontal closure. Tightening of the abdominal muscles also creates some discomfort when completely upright; therefore staying slightly bent at the waist is more comfortable during the first week and takes pressure of the incision. Doing so, however, may result in some temporary back strain. A walker or a cane may be helpful for some. Although not 100% necessary, it may help take some of the pressure of the back initially.

Compression shorts such a Spanks or Squeem can be worn early after a tummy tuck but a hole needs to be made on the side to let the drain come through. For very curvy women, the abdominal binder may consistently want to ride up no matter how much its pulled down. This is in part because I place my incision very low. In these cases, Spanks or Squeem with a hole cut out on the side for the drain can be very helpful.

In my practice, I use a “no maintenance” dressing at the completion of the tummy tuck surgery, however, it always helps to have either 4×4 gauze or maxi pads around. Gauze squares are helpful to pad around the drain and sometimes pad between the binder and the pelvic “hip” bones.

The abdominal binder is an integral part of the tummy tuck recovery process. Proper placement and management of the abdominal binder can be challenging since a low tummy tuck incision will result in an abdominal binder that sits partly over the top part of the thighs. This results in the abdominal binder wanting to shift up while sitting. Marking where the binder is in terms of tightness is the first recommendation since undoing it to pull it down will require knowing how tight it should be redone. Lowering and tightening the abdominal binder is best done while in the recliner or in bed.

Each tummy tuck patient handles surgery and anesthesia differently. Most of our patients manage not to have any nausea after surgery. This success is due to a combination of good anesthesia and good surgical technique that can reduce narcotic use. Regardless, our patients are always prescribed anti-nausea medications just in case. Small sips of water and crackers in the first few hours may help curb nausea early.

Most surgeons will have the patient wear thigh high compression stockings during a tummy tuck to reduce the chance of blood clots. Keeping these on for a few days after the surgery may not be the most comfortable thing in the world but it will keep some of the swelling out of the legs and will continue to reduce the chance of blood clots.

When to take a shower after a tummy tuck will depend on the surgeon. For my patients I tell them that you are allowed to take a shower at any time but I recommend holding off for a couple of days until the first follow up. Replacing the binder and knowing what to do with the drain tube, etc can be cumbersome. More importantly the binder is key and the more it’s worn the better. Once showers do start, using a lanyard or a cheap necklace to pin the drain to is one piece of advice I have heard. A bathrobe tie tied around the waste is yet another option.

This is a two-part tummy tuck recovery advice. The first is Exparel during surgery. Exparel is a numbing medication that is injected into the tummy tuck tissues during surgery. It works for about 3-4 days and brings the pain score down about half. The second part is managing your oral pain medication. Percocet seems to work great as does Valium as a muscle relaxer. Keeping the pain score down to about a 3 or less in the first day or two can be accomplished by staying ahead of the pain. Exparel on occasion will do so on its own but everyone is different and oral pain meds should be used schedules (not when the pain gets too high) in the first day or two and then can be tapered off.

Sleeping with waist bent and legs elevated is probably the most helpful and most comfortable position after a tummy tuck. It’s essentially replicating the position that you were in in the operating room while you were being closed back up. A recliner (especially a powered recliner) will be a great place to recuperate the first few weeks after surgery.

Most toilets are fairly low to the ground, probably so that no matter how short you are you can get on there. We don’t really notice how low toilets really are until some part of our legs, pelvis, or core hurts. After a tummy tuck, squatting low onto a low height toilet will seem a daunting task especially when you have to go every few hours if you’re hydrated enough. A toilet seat booster will be of tremendous value.

Lying Down On A Bed After A Tummy Tuck

Because the tissues of the lower abdomen are stretched tight after a tummy tuck, it’s critical to maintain a “bent” or “jackknifed” body shape, whether walking, standing or climbing into bed.

When going from a standing to lying down position, pay particular attention to the shape of your body. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a bent shape throughout the process, ensuring that you do not put any undue strain on the stitching.

Before getting into a lying down position, make sure that the bed or recliner is the right shape to accommodate a bent posture. Next, sit on the side of the bed with your knees facing outward, maintaining the flexion in your core. Next, swivel your legs onto the bed so that they face in front of you. Finally, lower your torso down. You should not have to lower yourself over too far a distance if you are sleeping on a recliner or a bed that raises.

Practice Sleeping On Your Back

If you’re a front or side sleeper, sleeping on your back after a tummy tuck can feel unnatural. It’s a good idea, therefore, to practice sleeping on your back for a few weeks before the surgery so that once you’ve had the operation, you’re better able to get the shut-eye you need. Being able to sleep will help the recovery process, allowing you to get back on your feet sooner.

Sleeping Options After A Tummy Tuck

In general, you’ve got two sleeping options after a tummy tuck. The first is to modify your bed with pillows to provide a raised-up section for your torso so that you can maintain a bent posture during sleep. This has the advantage of being a simple solution – all it requires is a few extra pillows. But there are disadvantages, namely the fact that when you’re sleeping on a bed, you’re free to toss and turn. Moreover, the pillows supporting your torso to maintain a bent posture can slip out from underneath during the night, putting your stitching at risk.

The alternative is to sleep on a recliner. Recliners hold your body in position and discourage turning during the night. Some recliners can be set to raise both your head and feet, maintaining a comfortable V-shape throughout. Of course, if you don’t have a recliner already but want the benefits, then you’ll have to go out and buy one which could be expensive.

Wear Compression Garments While You Sleep

Compression garments are essential items of clothing that provide support to the midriff and abdominal muscles following surgery. These garments come in various forms, such as binders and girdles, and are designed to help with healing and recovery. It is crucial to follow the advice of your surgeon when it comes to wearing compression clothing, as they will provide specific instructions tailored to your individual needs.

Compression garments should be worn throughout the day, including during sleep, to maximize their benefits. By wearing these garments consistently, you can help reduce swelling, improve circulation, and support the healing process. It is important to choose the right size and type of compression garment for your needs, as wearing the wrong garment can be uncomfortable and ineffective.

When selecting a compression garment, consider factors such as the level of compression needed, the material of the garment, and any specific features that may be beneficial for your recovery. Some compression garments are designed for specific types of surgery, so be sure to consult with your surgeon or healthcare provider to determine the best option for you.

In addition to providing support and compression, these garments can also help improve posture and provide a sense of security and comfort during the recovery process. By wearing compression clothing as recommended, you can aid in your body’s healing and recovery, leading to better outcomes and a smoother recovery overall.

Overall, compression garments are an important tool in the post-surgery recovery process. By following your surgeon’s instructions and wearing compression clothing consistently, you can support your body’s healing and recovery, leading to better outcomes and improved comfort during the recovery process.

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