Major body changes after having children or losing weight can affect your midsection. Sometimes diet and exercise are not enough to rid your body of stretched skin, unwanted fat, and a permanent belly bulge. Getting a tummy tuck to correct those issues is a big decision, and you may feel especially anxious about the recovery process. In this blog post, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions so you can better prepare for your tummy tuck recovery.
How Should I Sleep After a Tummy Tuck?
You will want to sleep on your back with your upper body elevated to create a bent angle. This position prevents you from straining your incisions and is often the most comfortable position at first. Sleeping in the wrong position after an abdominoplasty can affect your results and prevent you from getting the rest your body needs. Using pillows or sleeping in a recliner can help you achieve the best post-op sleeping position. To prevent rolling onto your side or stomach in your sleep, you can roll up towels or use extra pillows to place under your arms and knees.
When Can I Lay Flat After a Tummy Tuck?
About 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, your incisions should be healed enough that you can sleep flat on your back if desired. Be sure to check with your surgeon before making that change, however. Your tummy skin may still feel very tight, so you may want to ease into a flat position gradually over a few days. Don’t push yourself to return to a flat position until it’s truly comfortable. As long as you’re cleared by your surgeon, you can set the pace for returning to a flat sleeping position.
When Can I Lay on My Stomach After Tummy Tuck?
Wait at least 6 weeks before trying to sleep on your stomach. Again, let your plastic surgeon be your guide here. It is important to follow their post-operative instructions about sleeping positions and get their clearance before sleeping on your stomach.
Will I Have Visible Scars?
In short, yes, you will have scarring after tummy tuck surgery. However, Dr. Wright makes an incision very low on the abdomen, placing it where it can be hidden by low-slung clothing, underwear, and bikini bottoms or swim trunks. He also offers advice on reducing your scar’s appearance.
What Is the Recovery Timeline After a Tummy Tuck?
Your first 2 weeks after surgery will be spent resting, with short, frequent periods of gentle movement to keep blood circulating and prevent blood clots. After surgery, you will have drains placed under your skin, either in the incision or near the ends of the incision. These drains prevent fluid buildup called a seroma and are removed after 7 to 10 days. Most patients return to nonstrenuous work after 2 to 3 weeks, but vigorous activity or exercise should wait until at least 6 weeks after surgery.
Can You Get Pregnant After a Tummy Tuck?
A tummy tuck procedure should not interfere with your ability to get pregnant. However, we recommend waiting until you are finished having children before pursuing tummy tuck surgery. Pregnancy will stretch the skin tightened during a tummy tuck, potentially jeopardizing your results and requiring a second tummy tuck. If you do get pregnant after a tummy tuck, let your OB-GYN know that you’ve had an abdominoplasty.
When Will I See the Final Results?
Residual swelling may linger as your body heals, but most patients are very close to seeing their final results within 6 months after tummy tuck surgery. Your scarring will likely still appear pink for the first few months, fading over time and with proper care. Your scar is vulnerable to sun damage as it heals, so protect it from the sun and follow your surgeon’s post-operative and scar care instructions. With this care, you should notice that your scar starts to fade and flatten after a year or so.
If you are ready to discuss your tummy tuck options or ask further questions about tummy tuck recovery, request a consultation at our Little Rock practice or call us at (501) 575-0088 to schedule an appointment. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Eric Wright has helped countless patients achieve their body goals by removing stubborn fat deposits and tightening saggy skin with tummy tuck surgery.