Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Swollen feet after tummy tuck

After your tummy tuck surgery, you may experience swelling in your feet. This is a normal response to the surgery and is usually temporary. Swelling in the legs and hips is also common. Your surgeon will tell you how long it will take for swelling to go down after the surgery.

In this post, we review the aspects of Swollen feet after tummy tuck, leg swelling after tummy tuck, Is it normal to have swollen legs after tummy tuck, and Why are my feet swollen after abdominal surgery?

Swelling in the abdominal area is perfectly normal and expected after a tummy tuck. In this area of the body, the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels work as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut. Because of this, the body removes fluid in the area a lot slower, resulting in fluid buildup known as edema or swelling.

Swelling is typically at its worst for the first 2 months following a tummy tuck, though everyone is a little bit different. As the body repairs blood and lymphatic vessels, the swelling should continue to resolve. This healing process can take up to a year or longer to complete, so it is common to see minor swelling in that time.

The amount of swelling experienced after your tummy tuck surgery can also vary depending on the treatment plan you choose. A mini tummy tuck or a drainless tummy tuck typically results in less recovery time and swelling than a traditional tummy tuck. Alternatively, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck can produce swelling in other areas of the body as well.

Swelling Can Fluctuate throughout the Day

After your initial swelling goes down, minor swelling continues and can be affected by your daily activity. This is because gravity is not your friend. For instance, long hours standing up can increase swelling in the abdomen, but this usually goes down after a good night of sleep. Once you start exercising, you may also notice increased swelling following workouts.

Edema, or swelling, is to be expected after any surgical procedure. It is caused by extra fluid stuck in the body’s tissues. Plastic surgery requires incisions and tissue manipulation that harms the surrounding areas and triggers the body’s natural healing response to trauma: swelling. Edema is a necessary component of healing as the surgical site is flooded with white blood cells, proteins and other healing factors to fight off infection and help the tissues recover.

Post-operative edema is the most common side effect after surgery, but there are steps we can take to reduce the inflammation and lower the related pain for a faster recovery. Dr. Donald Hause is an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon in Sacramento. He has helped countless patients achieve their ideal look through face, breast and body procedures and can answer your post-surgical swelling questions and concerns.

Treatments for Post-Surgical Edema

While swelling is expected after surgery, too much inflammation can cause additional pain and discomfort. Typically, edema begins in the recovery area after plastic surgery and increases for up to 72 hours. The degree of swelling varies by patient; some may experience little to no swelling while others have excessive edema. There are at-home remedies and in-office treatments available to help reduce this inflammation.

At-Home Remedies for Swelling

Ice, elevation and avoiding strenuous movement are the first modes of treatment for excessive swelling after surgery. The ice causes blood vessels to contract, but limit ice packs to 15-minute intervals to avoid damaging the tissues with the cold temperature. Elevating the surgical area helps your body naturally drain the fluids and reduce edema. Patients who have a face or breast procedure should sit upright, while tummy tuck patients need to stay in a semi-reclined position. A warm compress may also improve post-op swelling.

Compression garments are used to fight post-surgical edema. These fabrics push fluids into the lymphatic system to reduce swelling, help the tissues conform to the new contour and heal. Dr. Hause may have you gently massage the swollen tissue and avoid eating foods high in sodium to prevent fluid retention.

Medical Intervention for Post-Operative Edema

Medical treatment may be needed for severe swelling, such as dexamethasone, prednisone and other oral steroids. Steroidal treatment can improve post-surgical edema within 24 to 48 hours. Researchers believe that corticosteroid administration can lead to faster recoveries and reduce swelling. A 2022 meta-analysis of pre- and post-op corticosteroids for reducing complications after facial plastic surgery found a statistically significant benefit of prescribing patients corticosteroids before their procedure with continued use through recovery. Researchers found a long-term reduction of complications, and higher dosages were associated with a substantial decrease in edema. Corticosteroids may reduce post-surgical swelling, particularly in the first seven days after surgery.

If you are struggling with post-surgical edema, contact Dr. Hause before taking anything not listed on your post-operative instructions. Reach out to our Sacramento office at (916) 646-6869 to discuss your concerns and schedule a follow-up to evaluate the swelling.

Swollen feet after tummy tuck surgery

Swelling after a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is quite typical for a surgery this extensive. How long swelling lasts after a tummy tuck depends on many different factors. Understanding why swelling occurs may help you to better prepare mentally and have more realistic expectations for your recovery and results.

Swelling after a Tummy Tuck Is Normal

Swelling in the abdominal area is perfectly normal and expected after a tummy tuck. In this area of the body, the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels work as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut. Because of this, the body removes fluid in the area a lot slower, resulting in fluid buildup known as edema or swelling.

Swelling is typically at its worst for the first 2 months following a tummy tuck, though everyone is a little bit different. As the body repairs blood and lymphatic vessels, the swelling should continue to resolve. This healing process can take up to a year or longer to complete, so it is common to see minor swelling in that time.

The amount of swelling experienced after your tummy tuck surgery can also vary depending on the treatment plan you choose. A mini tummy tuck or a drainless tummy tuck typically results in less recovery time and swelling than a traditional tummy tuck. Alternatively, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck can produce swelling in other areas of the body as well.

Swelling Can Fluctuate throughout the Day

After your initial swelling goes down, minor swelling continues and can be affected by your daily activity. This is because gravity is not your friend. For instance, long hours standing up can increase swelling in the abdomen, but this usually goes down after a good night of sleep. Once you start exercising, you may also notice increased swelling following workouts.

Tips to Help Reduce Swelling

Although swelling is a natural part of the healing process, there are some things you can do to help reduce the level of severity.

The best thing you can do to help minimize swelling is to follow your post-op instructions for tummy tuck recovery. You’ll be instructed to wear a compression garment for the first few weeks. Other tips to help reduce swelling include:

leg swelling after tummy tuck

Swelling Normal After a Tummy Tuck?

Swelling, as well as bruising and pain, are common, normal side effects of a tummy tuck surgery. In the abdominal area, blood and lymphatic vessels act as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut, and, as such, drainage from the area is slowed. This causes a temporary build-up of fluid in the area (swelling). The severity of side effects such as tummy tuck swelling are dependent on a variety of factors and therefore vary from one patient to another.

Tummy Tuck Swelling Timeline

Below, we have described the typical recovery process following a tummy tuck procedure. However, it is important to note that some variation is normal between patients.

After Procedure

Immediately after your tummy tuck surgery, you will spend some time in recovery as you wake up from the anaesthetic. The incision sites will be dressed, and you will also be required to wear a compression garment to support the region and manage swelling, usually for the first six weeks after surgery. Pain medication will be provided to manage any discomfort you may be feeling.

Day One

On the first day after surgery, side effects such as swelling, soreness, and bruising in the surgical area are normal. You should continue to take any pain relief provided by your doctor to manage discomfort. Your drains will remain in place for the first few days. You will be shown how to manage and empty these before leaving the hospital.

Week One

Within the first week, side effects, including swelling, should gradually reduce. You may wish to sleep on an incline with your upper body elevated and knees bent temporarily to aid this process. It is also recommended that you reduce your salt intake during this period to further reduce swelling. After a week, you will be scheduled to have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to assess your tummy tuck recovery.

Month One

Within the first month, many patients still experience swelling even after other side effects such as pain and bruising disappear. You must continue to wear a compression garment throughout the first month, which will help to control inflammation and produce better results. Patients usually feel able to resume most daily activities, including work, around 1-2 weeks following plastic surgery. Patients are then able to resume light exercise after 3-4 weeks.

Six Months

You will be scheduled for two follow-up appointments at 6 weeks and 6 months after your tummy tuck surgery. Swelling should continue to reduce over the first few months, but it can take 6-12 months for swelling to fully subside. After this, a flatter and better-defined abdomen will become fully visible.

Tips to Reduce Swelling

Your surgeon will provide you with the necessary information and personalised recovery plan prior to your tummy tuck procedure. In this section, we will discuss some tips that can help to reduce swelling and improve your recovery.

Stay Hydrated 

It is important that you drink enough water to stay hydrated after plastic surgery. It is generally recommended that 2 ½ to 3 litres a day is sufficient. This helps to flush out excess fluid and toxins. In addition, it reduces the risk of post-surgery complications such as blood clots by thinning the blood.

Elevate Your Legs

While you are recovering from your tummy tuck, you should try to keep your legs elevated above your heart where possible. This is so the blood can drain from the veins, which reduces the chance of blood clots. In addition, this helps to reduce swelling in the legs caused by poor circulation. You can achieve this by stacking pillows underneath your knees while lying down.

Avoid Smoking

As mentioned above, healthy blood flow is important for patients undergoing a tummy tuck. Nicotine constricts blood vessels which reduces the ability of blood to flow freely through the body. This slows down the healing process and increases inflammation and the risk of post-surgical complications like blood clots. Therefore, you should not smoke four weeks prior to and after your tummy tuck. 

Keep Incisions Clean

Your surgeon will tell you how to tend to your wounds and keep the incision sites clean before your tummy tuck. This reduces the risk of infection, which can cause swelling and slow down the healing process.

Wear Compression Garments

Compression garments will need to be worn in the weeks after the plastic surgery to ensure proper, efficient healing and preserve the contouring effects of the tummy tuck. These target swelling by limiting the amount of fluid in the abdominal region. They also have the added benefit of reducing the chance of a wound reopening which can lead to infection and further inflammation.

Is a Tummy Tuck Worth It?

Many patients consider tummy tuck to be worth it. Some patients seek to enhance the contours of their abdomen, while others are looking to improve their physical health. Abdominoplasty surgery may also be beneficial for those suffering from related health issues such as back pain. 

Schedule a Consultation with CREO Clinic Today

If you are thinking about enhancing the shape and contours of your abdomen, a tummy tuck may be a suitable procedure for you. Here at the CREO Clinic, our double-board certified cosmetic surgeon Dr Omar Tillo has both extensive training and experience in carrying out all types of tummy tucks. Contact us today to book a consultation and find out how a tummy tuck could be tailored to your needs.

Is it normal to have swollen legs after tummy tuck

Swelling after a tummy tuck, also known as an abdominoplasty, is quite typical for a surgery this extensive. How long swelling lasts after a tummy tuck depends on many different factors. Understanding why swelling occurs may help you to better prepare mentally and have more realistic expectations for your recovery and results.

Swelling after a Tummy Tuck Is Normal

Swelling in the abdominal area is perfectly normal and expected after a tummy tuck. In this area of the body, the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels work as a drainage system for fluids. During a tummy tuck, these vessels are cut. Because of this, the body removes fluid in the area a lot slower, resulting in fluid buildup known as edema or swelling.

Swelling is typically at its worst for the first 2 months following a tummy tuck, though everyone is a little bit different. As the body repairs blood and lymphatic vessels, the swelling should continue to resolve. This healing process can take up to a year or longer to complete, so it is common to see minor swelling in that time.

The amount of swelling experienced after your tummy tuck surgery can also vary depending on the treatment plan you choose. A mini tummy tuck or a drainless tummy tuck typically results in less recovery time and swelling than a traditional tummy tuck. Alternatively, adding liposuction to a tummy tuck can produce swelling in other areas of the body as well.

Swelling Can Fluctuate throughout the Day

After your initial swelling goes down, minor swelling continues and can be affected by your daily activity. This is because gravity is not your friend. For instance, long hours standing up can increase swelling in the abdomen, but this usually goes down after a good night of sleep. Once you start exercising, you may also notice increased swelling following workouts.

Tips to Help Reduce Swelling

Although swelling is a natural part of the healing process, there are some things you can do to help reduce the level of severity.

The best thing you can do to help minimize swelling is to follow your post-op instructions for tummy tuck recovery. You’ll be instructed to wear a compression garment for the first few weeks. Other tips to help reduce swelling include:

Why are my feet swollen after abdominal surgery

Ankle and foot surgery usually involves an incision to the surgical site. Any type of wound can lead to inflammation, causing the area to swell. While fluid buildup is normal and results from white blood cells rushing to the area to heal it, you can take steps to prevent more swelling. Too much inflammation is counterproductive, can cause extra pain and decreases your range of motion.

Continue reading to find out more reasons to ease inflammation after surgery and discover an array of ways to reduce swelling in your foot and ankle.

Why Is It Important To Decrease Swelling After Surgery?

The first few weeks after surgery are critical for recovery, and you should carefully follow your treatment provider’s instructions to minimize the risk of further injury. Taking steps to reduce inflammation can speed up recovery of the affected area and give your body the boost it needs to avoid complications, such as:

While the risks associated with surgery to your feet are generally low, complications such as a blood clot can lead to serious problems. Follow the advice below to reduce ankle and foot swelling, but always speak to your health care practitioner before attempting anything not included in your recovery plan.

Ways To Reduce Fluid Buildup in a Swollen Foot

Below are the best ways to slow or stop swelling for patients who’ve recently undergone surgery to their feet or ankles.

Get Plenty of Rest To Promote Healing After Foot or Ankle Surgery

One of the most effective ways to reduce swelling is to ensure you get enough rest. A doctor or nurse will let you know how long you need to avoid weight-bearing altogether. However, it’s equally important that you get enough sleep every night. You should aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night and take naps whenever you feel the urge. The body does most of its healing during sleep, particularly the deep sleep phase of your sleep cycle.

Keep Your Foot Elevated Above Heart Level

Whenever you’re seated or lying down, you should aim to elevate your lower leg above your heart. If you don’t keep your affected limb raised, gravity causes fluid to collect in the foot, which can be painful and slow healing. Elevation can also help prevent blood clots and edema.

Apply an Ice Pack at Regular Intervals

Cold therapy with ice packs helps restrict excessive blood flow by constricting the blood vessels leading from your legs to your feet, which in turn brings swelling down. Always wrap cold items in a towel or tissue, and only maintain contact between the compress and your body for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 

Apply cold compresses three to four times a day to reduce swelling, and leave at least an hour between cold therapy sessions to prevent skin damage. Avoid using heat therapy on your feet and ankles as it can increase inflammation.

Cold therapy is most effective in treating an injury that’s less than a few days old.

Don’t Resume Intense Exercise Involving the Foot and Ankle Until Given the All-Clear

If you’re someone who does a lot of intense exercises involving your legs, knee joints, feet or ankles, be sure to stop for as long as the doctor recommends. Weight-bearing exercise and household chores are also out of the question during early recovery, so be sure to follow doctors’ orders and only conduct approved exercises.

Gently Do Ankle Pumps and Circles If Your Doctor Permits

Usually, people with an injury to the knee, foot, ankle or legs are encouraged to do light exercises to promote blood flow and avoid being fully sedentary. Ankle pumps and circles are often recommended, and you can conduct these exercises while lying down.

First, lie on your back and ensure your feet and legs are elevated. One rep involves flexing your feet towards your heart as far as possible, then pointing them away from your body as far as possible. Repeat this 20 times. Next, rotate each ankle by drawing a circle with your toes, and repeat this exercise 20 times too. If you experience any pain, conduct the exercises very slowly and only do as many as you can, in view of working up to 20.

Use Compression Socks for Severe Swelling

If your doctor doesn’t tell you to wear a compression bandage after surgery, be sure to check if it’s okay to do so. For people who don’t have compression socks, static bandages or elastic bandages are available from medical supply stores. They use moderate pressure to restrict blood flow and keep swelling down. Never use a compression device that’s too tight.

Take Prescribed Medications for Foot Swelling According to Doctor’s Instructions

Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and pain medications following foot surgery, and some are available over the counter. Always let your doctor or pharmacist know of any other medications you’re taking to avoid unfavorable interactions.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing Where Foot, Ankle or Leg Swelling Is Present

Avoid wearing tight socks, jeans or trousers when recovering from foot surgery. This helps encourage healthy blood flow and lowers the risk of infection. Compression garments are the exceptions to this rule.

Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol After Ankle or Foot Surgery

Alcohol and smoking affect circulation and can slow down the healing process. If possible, avoid engaging in these behaviors to give yourself the best chance of a speedy recovery.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *