The First Day After Surgery
With your procedure behind you, recuperation officially begins. Initially, you’ll experience some swelling and soreness in your abdomen—and you may feel a bit sluggish. This grogginess is completely natural and is to be expected after your surgery. It’s essential to get up and walk around the house for at least a few minutes every hour or so, promoting circulation and reducing your risk of forming blood clots.
During this time, take special care to properly empty and maintain any surgical drains. Also, for the first week, you should keep a low sodium diet to reduce swelling.
Dr. Livingston will send you home with a compression garment to aid healing and provide comfort and support while minimizing post-surgical swelling. From this point on, throughout the rest of your first month of healing, it’s important to wear it as frequently as Dr. Livingston recommends.
By this point, you should be feeling considerable improvement. If recovery is going well, Dr. Livingston may approve a sponge bath. This will both leave you feeling fantastic and refreshed. If you had liposuction in combination with your abdominoplasty, there might be certain areas you need to keep dry—Dr. Livingston will inform you if this is the case.
Any tummy aches at this point are usually due to your medication—as pain medicine can cause constipation. If you haven’t had a bowel movement by this point, consider taking some probiotics or eating whole-fat yogurt. Dr. Livingston can guide you towards safe laxatives if constipation persists.
As your mobility increases, you may notice some back strain when standing. This is totally normal. Even with a newly tightened abdomen, you’ll want to try your best to walk as upright as possible. It will be difficult, but the sooner you can get upright, the sooner your back muscle strain will go away. Don’t push it too far, and be patient with your body as it heals.
Around One Week Post-Op
At this point, you’ll have a post-op appointment to check on your incisions and ensure everything is healing correctly. If you’ve had surgical drains, these will be removed at this time. Be sure to continue a low sodium diet full of healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids to help your bowel movements, overall healing, and mood.
Listen to your body and don’t overdo any physical activities—continue to keep moving, but take it easy. You’ll likely be feeling well enough to start cooking small meals for yourself and maybe begin doing some work at your desk.
2 Weeks Post-Op
You’ll have another follow-up with Dr. Livingston. Each day your mobility will improve, and you should be ready to return to your regular diet (though it’s never a bad thing to keep your sodium intake down).
Get out of the house if you can and enjoy some socialization and fresh air to lift your spirits and aid your physical healing. However, you’ll still need to avoid any strenuous activity or lifting anything more substantial than 10 pounds.
One Month Out
We’ll schedule another check-up, and at this point, most patients can begin scar healing protocol to help their scars fade and flatten over time. Also, you’ll likely be able to return to regular underwear now, but be sure to talk to Dr. Livingston before you stop wearing your compression garment.
6 Weeks After Surgery and Beyond
From here on out, you can return to your full range of regular activity: swimming, running, yoga—you name it. Now is the perfect time to begin your new routine and maintain regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Start out slow, though, and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Whenever tightness happens (which is completely normal), tone down the intensity. Over time, this sensation will fade.
Around two to three months following surgery, you should see the full results of your tummy tuck.