There are few cosmetic surgeries quite as exciting as the tummy tuck. Whether a patient is looking to restore their shape after pregnancy or get rid of excess skin following weight loss, a tummy tuck can mean a newfound ability to wear more revealing clothing and participate in physical activities comfortably. With the capacity to completely recontour the midsection, a tummy tuck can be truly life-changing for both men and women. The board-certified plastic surgeons at Austin Plastic Surgery have successfully helped countless patients in Austin, TX achieve the bodies of their dreams through a tummy tuck procedure.

Though its name may sound fairly casual, the tummy tuck is actually a major surgery and should be taken very seriously. Understandably, one of the most common questions that comes up during a tummy tuck consultation at Austin Plastic Surgery is what to expect in the postoperative period. To help better prepare for a tummy tuck recovery, it is important to first have a basic understanding of the procedure itself.

What is a tummy tuck?

The tummy tuck, formally known as abdominoplasty, is an invasive surgical procedure designed primarily to remove excess skin from the abdomen and tighten the abdominal muscles if they have separated, resulting in a smoother, flatter, more taut midsection. In many cases, the surgeon will combine liposuction with a tummy tuck to remove stubborn pockets of fat and further enhance a patient’s results. For women, the tummy tuck is often performed as part of a larger mommy makeover, which may include additional procedures such as breast augmentation and breast lift. A tummy tuck can be extremely beneficial for patients who have lost a significant amount of weight but have excess sagging skin remaining, as well as women who have experienced the common physical changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

How does a tummy tuck work?

During a tummy tuck, the surgeon will make a long horizontal incision just above the pubic area, allowing the eventual scar to be easily concealed with underwear and swimsuits. If a patient has diastasis recti, or a separation of the abdominal muscles, the surgeon will bring the muscles back together using sutures. Excess skin will be excised, and the remaining skin will be stretched tightly over the abdomen. At the conclusion of the case, the incision will be closed with sutures, and the wound will be dressed.

What is the recovery like after a tummy tuck?

With the large incision required from a tummy tuck, as well as the significant amount of manipulation of the muscles and tissues, patients should expect a somewhat lengthy recovery period. During the first several days, it is normal to experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help relieve these symptoms, and it is important that you rest and stay hydrated. With severely limited mobility in the first few days, most patients arrange to have full-time help around this house. This is particularly helpful for patients with young children or toddlers. Most patients are able to resume normal daily activities, including returning to light desk work, after about two weeks. After 4-6 weeks, when most of the swelling subsides, patients typically begin feeling more like themselves and can begin to see their results.

When additional procedures are performed in conjunction with a tummy tuck, such as liposuction, there are further aspects of the recovery to consider. This can include caring for secondary incisions and wearing compression garments to reduce swelling and promote proper healing.

How can I speed up my tummy tuck recovery?

In short, there is no way to make the recovery process after a tummy tuck go any faster. It is essential that patients allow themselves ample time to rest, recover, and heal in order to ensure the most beautiful results possible. The top five things you can do to give yourself the best chance for an easy and comfortable recovery after tummy tuck are:

1. Follow your doctor’s orders – This includes taking prescribed medicines, wearing compression garments, and avoiding certain physical activities.

2. Rest up – Some light walking can help with circulation and healing, but it is important to get an adequate amount of rest and not push yourself too hard physically in the early days of your recovery.

3. Be prepared – Plan ahead by arranging for help, stocking up on healthy groceries, and preparing a comfortable area for your recovery.

4. Stay healthy – Your body is going through a lot! It needs nutrition and hydration to be able to heal quickly and completely.

5. Don’t rush it – While it may be tempting to get back to work and your other daily routines, rushing your recovery can compromise your results and even be dangerous. Follow your postoperative timeline, and allow yourself the appropriate amount of time to heal properly.

How do I find the best tummy tuck surgeon in Austin, TX?

If you think a tummy tuck may be right for you, the first step is to be evaluated by a qualified, certified, and experienced plastic surgeon. Call Austin Plastic Surgery to schedule your consultation with one of our exceptionally talented board-certified plastic surgeons today, and learn more about how a tummy tuck can help give you the body you’ve always dreamed of!

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