Tummy Tuck Recovery
First 2 weeks
Depending on your body and your surgeon, you may be sent home with 1 or more drains in your abdomen. I had a whopping 4, which was inconvenient and annoying but they worked really well to keep internal fluids down. The drains are place just above the mons pubis and internally they go all the way up the abdomen. Externally there is a long tube with a bulb at the end. The bulb is squeezed and capped off so it acts like a suction. Every time I went to the bathroom I measured the fluid collected and drained them.
I had frequent followup appointments with Dr. Yamahata and as I started collected less fluid, I was able to get drains removed. I had 2 drains removed less than a week after surgery and the final two removed a week later. The bummer part is no showering until all drains are removed! I got good at washing my hair in the sink and washcloth baths.
I was given a stretchy binder with velcro, which was to be wrapped tightly around me at all times. This helped with swelling and to protect my newly stitched muscles from being pulled or aggravated.
The pain was more bearable than I anticipated. Dr. Yamahata told me the tummy tuck would likely hurt less than my c-sections, which I didn’t believe but he was right. I stayed on top of pain medication and started reducing as soon as I felt I could. For me it was also important to stay on top of stool softeners and hydration to keep me more comfortable from side effects of the pain medication. I slept in a recliner for the first two weeks because it was more comfortable for me, but isn’t a requirement. Standing up straight is also quite challenging and not recommended at the very beginning. Being hunched over does cause a sore back, but it doesn’t last forever!
After the drains were removed I was put into a very tight compression garment. I hated it at first, but then I got to where I didn’t want to be without it because of the support and security it provided. The garment helps keep swelling down and also makes moving easier, without feeling like you’re going to rip open. Coughing and laughing were quite painful, but overall I would just tire easily. I got to where I was feeling so good that I would head out and go shopping, but found myself finding a chair to sit down on in the store because my body would tire. It’s easy to overdo it if you’re not careful. I took a tumble down the stairs somewhere around 8 weeks I think, and boy did it hurt. Luckily I was wearing my compression garment and no damage was done. Just some bruising and soreness.
At some point around week 6 I believe, I was able to start applying biocorneum to my incisions to help reduce scarring.
I’m still applying the biocorneum on a regular basis, at 5 months out, and still waiting for a reduction in visibility. Keith just pointed out this week that he thinks the scar is looking better. It’s pretty flat and smooth and slightly lighter. At 12 weeks post-op Dr Yamahata gave the go ahead for exercise and at my most recent checkup actually encouraged working out. He says exercising will only improve the results even more so I’m going to get started on an exercise regimen.
There’s very little pain and just feel twinges/pulling in my abdomen on occasion or when I’m stretched a particular way. I still have quite a bit of numbness in my stomach, especially below the belly button but I’m pleased with the results. I swell when I do a lot in a day and it’s very obvious when I’m bloated now because of how flat my stomach is (when not bloated).
The only thing I’m a little disappointed with at this point in time is my flanks where I had liposuction and extended tummy tuck. I’ve heard this can happen with liposuction but I feel like some of the pudginess or jiggliness has already returned to my back. My guess is that exercise will help this go back down so I’m eager to make that happen. I can’t wait until my belly button scar is not noticeable as well because it’s still pretty apparent and makes my belly button look bigger than it is. In due time! As a tidbit of info, your belly button has to get moved because after all the skin gets pulled down and cut off, it would be just above the pubic bone. That would look mighty funny so it gets brought back up and restitched into place. Hence the scar around the belly button.
Overall I’m extremely happy and have no regrets with having this done. My self esteem is through the roof and I’m wearing clothes I’ve never allowed myself to wear before, including a bikini!
Click Next Page to read about the mastopexy and see before & after photos!