Tummy tuck aftercare
Please find some useful aftercare advice following your tummy tuck surgery with us. This information can also help you prepare for surgery by showing you what to expect. The advice is general and will apply to the average patient. It should be a guide. All patients are different, and some will recover quicker than others.
Before you leave the hospital
You will be provided with simple painkillers before discharge.
CHANGE OF DRESSINGS
Your dressings may be changed before your leave and should be left intact until your first postoperative visit. The new belly button area will usually be left exposed, and you should apply a thin layer of the antibiotic ointment you will have been provided.
FOLLOW UP APPOINTMENTS FOR DRESSING CLINICS
You will be handed a card with details of your first follow up appointment and contact details for the ward should you have any concerns once you get home.
You DO NOT need a compression garment. There is no evidence that compression garments improve outcomes in tummy tuck surgery, and there is some evidence to suggest that if a garment is too tight, it can increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. Garments can also restrict your movement if they do not fit correctly.
We understand that some patients prefer to wear a garment, and you can do so if you wish. It should not be uncomfortable or too tight.
Links for recommended garments for a tummy tuck can be found below:
Please check the websites carefully for sizing instructions. (discount codes are available – please ask us). We have no affiliations with any company.
Post surgery instructions
- Have someone drive you home after surgery.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Start walking as soon as possible; this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood clots (DVT/ PE). You should wear compression stockings for at least 2-3 weeks following your surgery.
- Follow a balanced diet. Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may wish to add more raw fruit and fibre to your diet. Make sure you increase fluid intake.
- Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin unless approved by your surgeon.
- Avoid smoking for at least two weeks, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications
- Avoid alcohol when taking pain medications. Even if you are not taking pain medications, it is advisable to avoid alcohol for three weeks as it can cause fluid retention which may worsen swelling.
Returning to work after tummy tuck surgery
Return to work may be an option at the start of week two if your job is office based/non-physical. If your job is more physical, you may need to wait 2-3 weeks before returning to work.
Activities after tummy tuck surgery
We would generally advise that you keep your dressings dry for the first week.
Sleep comfortably on two or three pillows. You do not need to sleep propped upright. Avoid sleeping on your tummy for at least three weeks.
You do not need to wear a compression garment. Wear clothing that is comfortable.
We recommend not driving for two weeks after your surgery.
This will partly depend on whether your muscles have required repair. Take things easy for the first 2-3 weeks and do not do any heavy lifting. Exercise such as running and cycling can often be commenced after six weeks, and swimming should be avoided for three months. Heavy exercise (that places demand on your abdominal muscles) and sit-ups should be avoided for six months if your muscles have been tightened.
Showering – You can shower during the first week but try not to soak your dressings.
Apply any antibiotic ointment lightly to your belly button if this has been provided.
Healing is a gradual process, and your scars may remain slightly pink for up to 12 months. You should alternate between taping and massaging your scars, starting 1 month after your surgery.
Avoid exposing scars to direct sun for 3-4 months. Always use a strong sunblock if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or higher).
Post surgery follow ups
WEEKS ONE – TWO AFTER YOUR OPERATION
You will attend a specialist nurse clinic to have your dressing changed and sutures removed around the belly button. You will usually be seen on at least two occasions over this period. The nurses may provide you with silicone tapes to help your scars mature.
You will be asked to arrange a follow-up appointment with your surgeon at six months to discuss the outcome of your surgery and any concerns you may have.
Please note: some of our patients will get in touch before their six months follow up appointment, and we are often able to address any concerns you may have over the phone or via email. You are welcome to make an appointment (at no cost to you) before your six months follow up if you wish to be seen in person to discuss any issues.
When to call
- If you have increased swelling or bruising which is not settling.
- If you notice swelling of one/ both of your legs or feel short of breath – this may indicate a clot in one of your veins/ lungs – Deep vein thrombosis/ Pulmonary embolism.
- If you have increased redness along the incision (this may be a sign of infection).
- If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
- If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
- If you have a temperature over 38 degrees Celsius.
- If you have any yellowish or greenish discharge from the incisions.
- If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
If concerned, please contact the hospital where you had your procedure performed in the first instance.
Tummy tuck and Lipo
I had wanted tummy tuck for a time, after 2 pregnancies, had left a large volume of excess skin.
Mr Omar Quaba was excellent from my initial consultation, he was approachable and I felt reassured, all the way to aftercare. I am delighted with the results. I would definitely recommend this surgeon.