We have provided some useful postoperative instructions and advice following your tummy tuck with us. The information is also beneficial if you are considering surgery with us as it will give you an idea of what to expect after a tummy tuck.
Remember that you have splash proof dressings over your incisions. These dressings do not need to be removed until your first post operative visit.
Medications – 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.
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 3 weeks as it can cause fluid retention which may worsen swelling.
When can I go back to work?
This will depend on the extent of surgery, your recovery and your job requirements. We advise patients to take at least 2 weeks off work but it will vary from individual to individual.
Showering/ bathing – We would normally advise that you keep your dressings dry for the first week.
Sleeping position – 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.
Clothing – You do not need to wear a compression garment. Wear clothing that is comfortable.
Driving – We recommend not driving for two weeks after your surgery.
Exercise – 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 6 weeks and swimming should be avoided for 3 months. Heavy exercise (that places demand on your abdominal muscles) and sit ups should be avoided for 6 months if your muscles have been tightened.
Showering – Keep your dressings dry for the first week.
Apply antibiotic ointment lightly to your belly button.
What to Expect
It is important that you walk and move around when you get home, but it will be a few weeks before you are entirely up to speed.
Your mood may fluctuate after surgery – this is normal. A small amount of blood staining on the inside of your dressings is typical during the first few days.
Some pain is typical in the first few days after surgery (especially with muscle tightening). You will experience some numbness around your wound. You may experience temporary soreness, tightness and swelling as well as some discomfort in the incision areas.
Your tummy may feel tight and swollen for several days and bruising is expected especially if you have had liposuction. Increased swelling after a week or so may mean that you have a seroma (tissue fluid) that may require drainage.
Most of the swelling will subside in 4-6 weeks.
Any scars you have may be red and angry looking for six months. In time, these usually soften and fade.
Weeks 1-2 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.
Six months – 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 prior to their 6 month 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) prior to your 6 month follow up if you wish to be seen in person to discuss any issues.
Healing is a gradual process and your scars may remain slightly pink for up to 6 months.
Avoid exposing scars to direct sun for 3-4 months.
Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or higher).
You can start to massage your scars with a plain moisturising cream from around 3 weeks after surgery.
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 call Beechwood House on 0131 316259 between the hours of 8am-8pm or after that on 0131 334 0363.