As they get older, whether or not they have had children, some women will develop extra skin and fat around the abdominal area. While once feeling comfortable wearing a two-piece swimsuit, now they just want to cover up. If this describes your situation, you are in luck, because a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, can give you back that smooth, flat tummy from years ago.
Although the surgery can restore your confidence and improve the look of your abdominal area, it is a major surgery and requires a fair amount of recovery. There are a few things you can do before and during recovery, to help yourself feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible, and to help make sure you get the best possible results.
Take it Easy
You might know that you’ll need to take at least one week off from work after your tummy tuck. Exercise and vigorous physical activity will be off-limits for almost six weeks. However, it is important to realize that you’ll want to take it easy in all aspects of your life during the first few weeks after surgery. Do not feel compelled to do housework or tackle your regular chores during your recovery. Odds are, you won’t feel up to doing them. Furthermore, doing so might actually slow down your recovery.
Instead, focus on really relaxing during the healing process. It’s OK to take short walks now and then, but don’t try to lift anything moderately heavy, or break out your workout DVDs, until your surgeon gives you the all clear.
It might be a bit embarrassing, but you are most likely going to need help with the most basic of functions and activities during your recovery, particularly during the first few days back home. You use your abdominal muscles a lot, and you might not even notice how much so until after surgery. For example, it will likely be challenging to get up from your chair or to get out of bed on your own for a few days, because of tenderness across the abdominal area. Some patients need help getting around, even getting to and from the bathroom, for example. Having a parent, spouse or other relative to stay by your side and help you around as needed will definitely help your situation during those first few days of recovery.
You will most likely also need help with basic chores. If you have small children, you’ll want someone to help make sure they are fed and cared for, as you won’t be able to put them to bed or bathe them for some time. You’ll also want to get someone to look after your pets during your initial recovery.
Stick with a Healthy Diet
Typically, doctors recommend being at your goal weight before your tummy tuck. You won’t be able to diet or to lose weight immediately after surgery. Actually, trying to lose a significant amount of weight after the procedure can have a negative impact on your results.
Instead, focus on eating a healthy diet. If you got in the habit of eating a lot of vegetables, fruit and whole grains before surgery, it will be easier to keep up that habit after your procedure. Along with watching how much you eat, it can be helpful to pay close attention to your fiber intake. Although important, one unfortunate side effect of the pain medications you take after surgery is that they can lead to constipation. Eating plenty of fiber and taking stool softeners, as needed, will help to ease any discomfort caused by constipation.
Find Something to Occupy Your Time
Your regular schedule will be thrown for a loop after a tummy tuck. If you’re used to being on the go, the week or two worth of free time may be a bit challenging. You should give yourself a project to focus on while you recover. For example, you can pick out a big book to read, or decide to finally get through all those seasons of Downton Abbey. The initial recovery period after your tummy tuck can be an ideal time to work on an organization project, such as putting the photos from your wedding into an album, sorting your recipes, or finally putting together your kids’ baby books.
Dr. Paul Vitenas, a top-rated plastic surgeon in the Houston area, specializes in tummy tucks and other surgical procedures that can help women regain their pre-baby bodies. If you have finished having children and want to get a flat stomach back, call (281) 484-0088 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Vitenas. A patient coordinator is available to further explain the procedure, and review the recovery requirements from a tummy tuck.