What Should You Know About Recovering From Tummy Tuck Surgery?

If you've always wanted flat (if not "washboard") abs, the passage of time and the addition of a few extra pounds may have made that desire seem like a pipe dream. For many, abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a "tummy tuck" surgery, can remove excess fat and sagging skin and correct the other imperfections that leave you dissatisfied with your stomach's appearance.

But recovering from a tummy tuck procedure can be grueling, especially if your expectations of the immediate outcome aren't realistic. Learn more about the recovery process and what you can expect at each stage. 

What Makes Tummy Tuck Recovery Difficult? 

In a tummy tuck, the surgeon will make a long incision across the lower portion of your stomach, close to where a C-section incision is made. This incision is where the surgeon will remove any fat or excess skin that leaves you with stomach bulges. After trimming the area, the surgeon will sew the two "new" halves of your stomach together, giving it a tighter, tauter appearance and feel.

In most cases, removing a large amount of belly skin will also require the surgeon to relocate your belly button to a more aesthetically-pleasing area on your stomach. Otherwise, your navel could end up somewhere down near your underwear. After the surgery, you may need to wear a "spacer" object inside your navel to keep it from closing up as it heals. 

Tummy tuck recovery can be tough for those who were expecting an easy or quick recuperation. Even women who have had prior C-sections or other abdominal surgeries can find recovery difficult because of the size of the incision and the many ways in which the stomach muscles are triggered (such as laughing, coughing, standing up, or using the restroom). 

What Are Realistic Expectations? 

Aside from the pain of abdominal surgery, many tummy tuck patients can find themselves disappointed by the speed of recovery. While the initial swelling around the incision and other areas usually subsides within a few weeks (with the help of a compression garment), it can take up to six months or more for all swelling to go away and real long-term results to be seen. Therefore, any tummy tuck patients who want to look their best for a vacation or class reunion should ensure that their procedure is scheduled far enough in advance of the event to allow for full recovery on the body's own timeline. 

For more information, contact a tummy tuck surgery center.