Undergoing plastic surgery to improve your appearance is a big decision. Once you’ve chosen to move forward with a procedure like a tummy tuck, you may immediately begin envisioning your future life. You may be thinking about the clothes you will wear and how you will feel in them. You may be imagining how you will engage in life more confidently with a new and improved body. While there is no denying that cosmetic procedures can have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life, we must also remember that the process is a journey. There is a finish line to get to and, in cases like abdominoplasty, it can take some time to get there.
One of the most critical factors that influence how patients feel as they go through their makeover, no matter how significant or subtle, is their expectations. We don’t just mean expectations about the ore end result, either. We also must discuss what it is like to recover from surgery and how long that may take. Tummy tuck patients commonly want to know when they can get back to life as they know it. In particular, many are interested in resuming their active lifestyle. Here, we discuss how this may transpire.
What a Tummy Tuck Does
If you’ve been researching abdominoplasty, you may already know that this procedure smooths and tightens the midsection. Various abdominoplasty techniques are performed to meet each patient’s need for correction. Across the board, though, a tummy tuck intends to trim excess skin and muscle that have loosened over time. The tummy tuck is performed through one long incision that runs hip to hip. First, the abdominal muscle is carefully pulled taut so that it is flat. Excess muscle is trimmed and the two ends are artfully sutured together. The overlying skin is then pulled down toward the incision and is also trimmed, resulting in a flatter, smoother stomach.
Abdominoplasty surgery is not known for an easy recovery. In fact, it may be misperceived as more difficult than it truly is. What most patients discover is that their recovery is right in the middle. Healing from a tummy tuck is not intolerably painful. Discomfort is manageable with prescription pain medication taken for a few days and then, within the first week, a switch to over-the-counter medication. What patients do need to realize is that they will be physically limited for 1 to 2 weeks after this procedure. This is because the abdominal muscles are tightened and standing upright is not possible for several days. With a little time, the muscle relaxes and mobility returns to normal. But how long does that take?
People who have a tummy tuck should expect to need help with household duties and childcare for up to 2 weeks. After about 3 weeks, most patients return to work, provided their job does not require a lot of physical activity. By week 4 after surgery, patients feel more like themselves again. They can move more freely and have regained most of their energy. Exercise may begin to resume sometime between 4 and 6 weeks post-op, provided tissue healing is progressing well.