Performing a tummy tuck involves making a long, thin incision between the hip bones and just above the pubic mound. The surgeon will make the cut, remove excess fat from the abdomen, and then pull down the skin from above over the incision line. Excess skin is removed, and then the stomach stitched back up, leaving a tight, flat finish.
As you can imagine, laying flat on your back after surgery might not be a good idea. Laying flat stretches out the abdomen, putting a strain on the freshly-stitched skin, leading to pain and potential damage to the sutures. When you go to sleep, therefore, experts recommend that you sleep in a slightly bent position that avoids pulling on the stitching. Instead of sleeping flat on your bed (like you would usually), surgeons suggest using a recliner.
A recliner (a type of chair that folds in the middle) provides you with a comfortable and safe way to sleep while maintaining a bend in the middle of your body. The recliner gives you the ability to get a restful night’s sleep without the risk of tossing and turning or damaging the stitching. A good recliner should allow you to adjust the amount of bend in your body, depending on your needs.
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.
How To Improve Sleep After A Tummy Tuck
Tummy tucks involve removing a large amount of tissue. The natural reaction of the body is to send inflammatory markers to the site of the operation, which can result in swelling and pain. It can be difficult, therefore, to get quality, restful sleep after a tummy tuck. So what can you do to ensure that you get the rest that you need to recover?
Take Pain Medications
Pain medications can be taken before bed to help ease discomfort as you try to sleep for the first few days after receiving a tummy tuck. Avoid using painkillers which contain stimulants as these may prevent you from sleeping.
Make Getting Into Bed A Ritual
Much of what our brains do is unconscious, including getting ready for sleep. It’s a good idea, therefore, to train your mind to be prepared for rest as soon as you hit the sack. You can do this by turning the process of getting into bed into a ritual. Before you undergo surgery, start sleeping in a recliner, or a reclined position. Train yourself to expect sleep once in this position by turning off the lights and electronic devices.
Why can i not sleep on my stomach after tummy tuck surgery?
For many of us, sleeping on our stomach feels natural. It is when we are the most comfortable.
However, a tummy tuck is a major surgery, and it takes time for the muscles and tissues to heal and recover. Sleeping directly on your stomach puts too much weight and pressure on your abdomen, interfering with its ability to heal. This can not only damage your muscles, but it can affect your results.
After spending the time and money to undergo a tummy tuck, the last thing you want is for your sleeping position to mess up your results—or cause you pain.
When can i sleep flat after tummy tuck?
As you know by now, sleeping on your stomach while recovering from tummy tuck surgery can be damaging to your results.
So, how long will you have to avoid sleeping on your stomach?
It is recommended that patients avoid stomach sleeping for at least six weeks after surgery. During those six weeks, your abdomen is healing and producing your results. You do not want your sleeping position to disrupt this process.
It is important to note that some patients heal differently and may need to stay off their stomachs for more than six weeks. Please speak with your surgeon regarding when it is safe to return to your normal sleeping position.
If i cannot sleep on my stomach after my tummy tuck, how should i sleep?
Since you cannot sleep on your stomach after your tummy tuck, you may be wondering what comfortable, safe sleeping position is right for you. Surgeons often recommend sleeping on your back while recovering from a tummy tuck, but you may be able to sleep on your side a few weeks after surgery.
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.
When you sleep on your back, you should elevate yourself with pillows. This can help make sleeping on your back more comfortable and easier to get used to. Additionally, sleeping flat on your back stretches out your abdomen and can harm the incisions.
Elevation and lots of pillows are going to be the best option.
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 items of clothing that support your midriff and temporarily and offer support to the abdominal muscles after surgery. There are many different kinds of compression garments you can use – everything from binders to girdles. Where possible, follow the advice of your surgeon and wear compression clothing according to their instructions. Compression clothing should be worn at all times of day, including during sleep.
Following surgery, you are likely to experience a degree of inflammation in your abdomen. Compression clothing helps to support your stomach while it is inflamed, assisting the recovery process.
How To Get Out Of Bed
Because of the nature of the incision after a tummy tuck, patients need to be careful when getting out of bed not to over-stretch the skin of the lower abdomen. When getting out of bed, roll onto your side, maintaining flexion at the hips, and then use your hands to push yourself up into a seated position. Once in the seated position, rock forwards and use the muscles in your legs to help you stand.
Maintaining a bent position at all times is essential. Not only will this prevent damage to the incision site, but it will also help to reduce the appearance of the scar once all the stitching is removed.
Which tummy tuck is right for me?
If you’re looking to get a tummy tuck, you’ve probably seen that there are a lot of options out there. The first thing to consider is whether you want to have a full abdominoplasty or a mini-tummy tuck. A full abdominoplasty involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdomen and tightening muscles.
If you’re looking to have more than just skin tightening, but also some muscle tightening, then this might be the procedure for you. On the other hand, if you’re not interested in muscle tightening but would like some extra skin removal, then a mini-tummy tuck might be right for you.
Another factor to consider when deciding whether to go with a mini-tummy tuck or full abdominoplasty is how many incisions will be required to do the surgery.
If your doctor recommends that one or two small incisions are all that’s needed, then you may want to choose this option as it will be much less painful and scarring afterward than if he requires more incisions (though there is no guarantee that multiple incisions are always necessary).
When will my stomach feel normal after tummy tuck?
Let’s be honest…A tummy tuck is a big operation and you can expect it to take a couple of months before you get back to normal. There are many types of tummy tucks, and the recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery.
Tummy tuck recovery stages
Below, you’ll find a handy timeline for what to expect after tummy tuck surgery. Again, keep in mind the extent of your surgery can vary. For example, a mini tummy tuck is far less invasive than an extended Sculpt tummy tuck, which means a shorter recovery time. Your mileage may vary.
Now that we’ve said that, let’s dive into a typical tummy tuck recovery timeline that you may find useful as you prepare for tummy tuck surgery:
Week 1: This is no doubt the most difficult part of tummy tuck recovery. Tummy tuck pain, swelling and even bruising are common.You may even regret having a tummy tuck. Don’t worry – these feelings are normal and this, too, shall pass.
You’ll be walking bent over at this point, and will be spending most of your time resting from the comfort of your bed or sofa. Walking every day is vital to recovery. Even just a few minutes every few hours can help.
Driving is off limits for the first 2-3 weeks.
At the 7 day mark, you will come in for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Beldholm will change the PICO dressings. Click here to learn the benefits of PICO negative pressure dressings.
Week 2: The worst is behind you. You’ll still have some discomfort, but it will decrease day by day. Swelling is still prevalent. Numbness in the lower abdomen is also normal. Your tummy still feels tender, so you will likely still need help around the house from friends, family members or an aid. By day 10, most patients will start walking upright. You’re doing great. Hang in there!
Week 3: Congrats! Most patients are allowed to start driving after a tummy tuck at 2 to 3 weeks. Now that you can drive, it frees you up to have a lot more independence. You’ll still need assistance carrying heavy groceries, etc. at this point, though. By now, you should be feeling a lot better overall.
Swelling, discomfort and bruising will decrease greatly by this stage.
The lower tummy will most likely still be numb and feel a bit “alien” for the time being. That’s because the sensory nerves in the skin were damaged during surgery (this is normal, after all, you just had surgery). Feeling will return eventually. Numbness usually subsides within 3 months as the nerves repair themselves.
Week 4: Most patients return to work around 4 weeks post-op. Returning to work signals how far you have made it in recovery. It also helps patients feel good knowing they are back in a familiar routine, so you will start to feel more “normal” again.
Week 5-8: Each day is easier and easier. You will be amazed at how far you have come in such a short time. The worst of the swelling will start going away 1 to 2 months after surgery. Most patients can resume a full exercise routine at the 8-week mark.
Exercising after tummy tuck is beneficial. It not only shows how far you have come physically, but exercise can also improve your tummy tuck results by keeping you fit and healthy. You’ll also be able to handle lifting heavy objects like groceries without assistance, which makes life easier.
Week 9: You’ve made it to the 3-month mark. This is when most of Dr. Beldholm’s patients say they really start feeling “back to normal”. Some swelling will still be present, but it will be substantially less than it was a few weeks ago. There shouldn’t be any pain or discomfort at this stage and you will be completely independent. The scars will still be red at this stage. It can take a long time for surgical scars to mature.
In the weeks and months that follow, you will notice swelling reduce even more. As the swelling settles, your tummy tuck results will become more visible. It’s amazing to see the transformation that takes place.
Remember, just a few months ago you had a totally different body with loose skin and unwanted fat that made you feel pretty low. Clothes will fit better now, and you will start feeling more like yourself as you get used to your beautiful, flat tummy.
How long until I see the results of a tummy tuck?
Getting a tummy tuck is a big landmark in many patients’ lives. It is no wonder that they feel both excited and anxious to see the results of surgery. After all, it took a lot of time and effort finding the right surgeon, taking time off work, arranging rides to doctor appointments, etc. Not to mention, the cost of tummy tuck surgery.
After all that, of course patients wish they could see results right away. The truth is, you will see a noticeable improvement immediately after surgery. That unwanted loose skin and fat will finally be gone for good. But — and this is a BIG “but” — it takes a while to see the final results because of the swelling after surgery.
In Doctor Bernard’s experience, 12 to 18 months is how long it takes to see the final results of tummy tuck surgery. However, you will feel “normal” again by the 3-month mark.
Tummy tuck scar fading is usually what takes the longest. (Hint: If you want to fade tummy tuck scars faster, try Laser Genesis to reduce scar redness.)
Is a tummy tuck covered by insurance?
Although there are certainly medical and functional benefits to be gained through a tummy tuck, the procedure is not typically covered by insurance. Some related procedures, such as the panniculectomy – which is used to remove the excess skin of the pannus after weight loss – may be covered by insurance in certain cases.
Can I combine a tummy tuck with other procedures?
Yes! Many patients choose to combine their tummy tuck with additional procedures in order to maximize the results of their transformation as well as to cut down on expensive surgical fees in the long run. After weight loss patients may choose to have a tummy tuck, arm lift (brachioplasty), and thigh lift all performed simultaneously, for instance.
Another example of a combined procedure is the mommy makeover, which can be highly beneficial for women who have had children – and even those who haven’t. Some of the procedures most commonly combined with a tummy tuck as part of a mommy makeover include breast augmentation, breast lift, and Brazilian butt lift (BBL).