Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Shower after tummy tuck surgery

How you care for your incisions in the days and weeks following your plastic surgery procedure will play a direct role in the way they heal. Keeping incisions dry and clean is essential for proper healing and may help reduce scar visibility following full recovery.

No matter if you have had tummy tuck surgery, breast augmentation, or a facelift, properly caring for your incisions will impact the rate at which you heal – with better care often translating to a shorter recovery period. Proper care will also reduce risks of infection and help ensure optimal comfort in the initial stages of your recovery.

If you live in the Los Altos area and are interested in learning more about proper incision care following plastic surgery, please call 650-603-5277 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons today.

Post-Plastic Surgery Showing Tips

While recovery is unique for each individual, it is generally recommended that showering be avoided for 48 hours after plastic surgery. This allows your incisions time to begin the healing process and helps prevent premature scab removal.

During this time, you can give yourself a sponge bath if you start to feel uncomfortable. Be sure to avoid the incision area entirely and use a soft washcloth and mild soap to avoid irritating your skin.

Showering in the days following plastic surgery should be kept to a minimum. Try to avoid longer showers and make every effort to keep your incisions out of direct contact with water until the wounds are closed. These steps, combined with those above, may help you avoid serious complications and unpleasant results.

Remember, showering is okay during the recovery phase, bathing is not. Like swimming, taking a bath allows incisions to soak and may increase risks of bacterial infection, wound reopening, and unfavorable results.

Maria M. LoTempio, MD, is a double board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology (head and neck) surgery.

Tummy tucks, which are performed to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen, as well as to tighten the underlying muscles, are becoming more popular. Nearly 130,000 tummy tucks (aka abdominoplasties) were performed in 2017, up 2 percent from 2016, according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It’s now one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures.

As more people go under the knife to improve the contours of their midsection, it’s more important than ever to know as much as possible about how to initially care for your incision and abdomen following surgery.

What You Can Expect Immediately Post-Op

Generally, after your surgery, there will be dressings or bandages applied to your incisions. You’ll also be wearing a girdle-like compression garment to reduce swelling, prevent the formation of blood clots, and support your midsection so it heals into a smooth, compact contour. This support garment, known as an abdominal binder, should be worn at all times except for when you’re showering. Your surgeon will let you know when you can stop wearing it, generally after four to six weeks.

Small, thin tubes (drains) may have been temporarily placed in your incision to allow excess blood or fluid to be removed from your body. If this is the case for you, you’ll be instructed on how to keep the area clean and how to take care of the drains. Generally, surgeons ask that they are emptied and the amount of drainage recorded three times a day. It’s important to record the amount because this will tell your surgeon when the drains are ready to be removed, usually after three to 10 days. You may be prescribed an antibiotic as long as the drains are in place.

Showering and Bathing

Most surgeons will allow you to shower 24 hours after surgery unless you have drains. If that’s the case, you may have to take sponge baths until they’re removed. If you’re given the ok to shower, you may remove your dressings, except for the skin tapes (also called steri-strips) that are directly over your incisions. Because the steri-strips have been applied with a skin adhesive, they’re fairly water-resistant. Blot them dry after showering with a clean cloth. Don’t remove your steri-strips; they’ll eventually fall off on their own. Your healthcare provider will explain how to care for your incision (usually just with soap and water), and will likely instruct you to continue covering the incision with gauze dressings for one week.

Even though showering is usually permitted 24 hours post-op, most surgeons will ask you to avoid any water that’s still (not running) for two weeks after surgery. This includes bath water, swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans.

Pain and Getting Around

Initially, your abdomen will be swollen, bruised, and feel sore, so you should expect to spend the first few days resting at home, taking medication to control the pain as needed. It may be more comfortable to position your bed so your upper body is slightly raised and your knees are at an angle during this period. Your surgeon will instruct you to walk around the house the first few days to maintain healthy circulation.

Because of the nature of the surgery, you may find it difficult to stand up straight for several weeks post-op. It’s important to limit movement of the area around your incision to avoid putting strain on it and causing the wound to reopen. The tightness will gradually soften as you heal and start to use your abdominal muscles.

how long after a tummy tuck can i sleep on my side

How To Sleep After a Tummy Tuck: Tips for Getting Good Rest After Surgery

If you are contemplating a tummy tuck, you probably have several questions about the recovery stage. Most people, for example, want to know how to sleep after a tummy tuck without straining their incisions. Fortunately, there are many ways to comfortably rest after your tummy tuck without sleeping on your stomach or side. In this post, I’ll offer some tips for relaxing and sleeping after your procedure.

Sleep on Your Back

The best position to sleep after your tummy tuck is on your back. This position might be uncomfortable if you usually sleep on your side or stomach, but most patients get used to this position quickly. Sleeping on your stomach or side can strain your incisions and result in post-operative complications. If you have trouble sleeping on your back, try sleeping in a recliner. Recliners won’t allow you to move or roll over inadvertently while you’re sleeping, and they often make it easier to get up in the morning. You can also use pillows or rolled-up towels under your knees to support your lower back and around your sides to anchor your position and make you feel more comfortable.

Sleep With Your Upper Body Elevated

Along with sleeping on your back, it’s important to keep your head and upper body elevated when you sleep or rest. Elevating your upper body keeps your midsection in a slightly bent position, preventing strain on your incisions. Sleeping on propped-up pillows, a pillow wedge, or in a recliner are easy ways to keep your upper body elevated while you sleep. The length of time to sleep with your body elevated will depend on whether you have a mini tummy tuck or a full tummy tuck. After a full tummy tuck, you usually need to sleep with your head elevated for around 4 to 6 weeks. Most people with mini tummy tucks need to sleep elevated for 1 to 3 weeks.

How Long Do I Have To Sleep On My Back?

If sleeping on your back is not naturally comfortable, you will be eager to know when you can sleep in your usual position. Typically, you will need to sleep on your back anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks or longer. Your plastic surgeon will be the best guide on this subject. You should not resume sleeping on your stomach or side until your plastic surgeon says it’s OK. Sleeping on your stomach too soon can strain your incision and affect your tummy tuck results. Protecting your tummy tuck results with a few weeks of back-sleeping will be worth it, as you can see in some of our patients’ tummy tuck before and after photos.

Learn More About Tummy Tuck Recovery

If you have other questions about tummy tuck recovery, such as when you can stop wearing compression garments or return to your usual exercise routine, you can find a typical tummy tuck recovery timeline in our related blog post. Our team is also happy to answer all your questions during your consultation so you can confidently approach tummy tuck surgery and recovery. If you are ready to flatten your midsection and strengthen your abdominal muscles, request a consultation or call us at (502) 899-9979 to schedule an appointment.

can i take a bath 3 weeks after tummy tuck

Maintaining the highest levels of hygiene is crucial after a tummy tuck surgery, as this will ensure correct healing and shield you from infection.

This article will go into detail about showering post-tummy tuck so that you can go into your recovery feeling confident in your washing routine.

When Can You Shower After a Tummy Tuck?

After 48 hours, your wounds will be sufficiently healed for showering to be a possibility. The bandages used will be waterproof, meaning you need not worry about damaging them with moisture.

Avoid Bathing or Soaking

Submerging your incisions in water by taking a bath is not advisable in the early stages of your recovery, as soaking can impede the healing process. The water can cause an infection which could lead to your tummy tuck scars forming poorly or asymmetrically.

You may need to avoid soaking your wounds for up to 6 weeks. 

Try a Sponge Bath

A good way of cleansing your treatment areas without soaking them too much is to use a sponge to dab them with lukewarm soapy water, removing any sweat or dirt that may have accumulated.

This may be particularly useful in the first few days after your surgery and can prevent bacteria from entering the healing wounds.

Showering Tips Following a Tummy Tuck

Different types of tummy tucks will have different incisions and, as such, will have different demands for showering and drying. Pay close attention to the instructions given regarding your incisions in this regard.

In all cases, it is important to be careful when showering after a tummy tuck. In order to work towards the best outcomes for your procedure, try to take this advice into account:

Keep Showers Short

Leaving your incisions exposed to water for long periods could have a detrimental effect on how your scars heal, so make sure to keep your showers brief, at least for the first few weeks.

Avoid Hot Water

Post-procedure, it is better to avoid hot water, as it can damage the skin without you realising. Instead, use lukewarm or cool water when showering or bathing your treatment areas by hand.

Pat Dry or Air Dry

When you get out of the shower, provided you take great care, you can either gently pat dry your incisions with a clean, non-abrasive towel or allow the water to evaporate through the combination of the air and your body’s natural warmth.

Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It?

The effects of a tummy tuck can be transformative for the patients who undergo them.

If you are bothered by loose or excess skin, this can be removed. If you are suffering with diastasis recti, your core muscles can be repaired and tightened up, leaving a flatter, more aesthetically pleasing stomach.

Overall, many patients report their tummy tuck to be a worthwhile endeavour. 

How long after tummy tuck can you go in water

After undergoing a tummy tuck surgery, it’s important to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding activities that may affect your healing and recovery. Swimming or submerging yourself in water may increase the risk of infection or cause damage to your incisions, so it’s generally recommended to avoid water-based activities for a certain period of time after surgery.

The length of time you should avoid going in water after a tummy tuck surgery can vary depending on your individual case and the specific techniques used by your surgeon. In general, most surgeons recommend avoiding swimming or submerging yourself in water for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery.

During this time, it’s important to keep your incisions dry and avoid exposing them to water, as well as other sources of moisture, such as saunas, hot tubs, or whirlpools. Your surgeon may recommend covering your incisions with waterproof dressings or bandages to protect them while showering or bathing.

After the recommended healing period has passed, you may be able to resume water-based activities, but it’s important to check with your surgeon first to ensure that your incisions are fully healed and that it’s safe for you to participate in these activities.

As always, be sure to communicate with your surgeon throughout your recovery period and follow their instructions carefully to ensure the best possible results from your tummy tuck surgery.

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