Post Op Abdominoplasty

Tummy Tuck Post-Op Recovery Instructions

  1. Abdominoplasties (tummy tucks) usually have a moderate amount of postoperative discomfort due to the sewing of the abdominal muscles together. In addition to taking your pain medication, keeping yourself in a partially flexed position (knees slightly bent toward your chest) when resting in either a chair or bed is very helpful during the first week after surgery.
  2. You will have either one or two drains coming out of the pubic area after surgery. They will be removed when the drainage is sufficiently low. As most drains don’t come out before 10 to 14 days after surgery (in a full tummy tuck), it is not important to start recording their output until after the first postoperative week.
  3. Get up and walk periodically even in the first few days after surgery. This will help you breathe deeper and ultimately feel better. Judge your activity level on how you are feeling. You will tire more easily than expected, even up to one month after surgery.
  4. You may shower on the 3rd day after surgery. Do not submerge your incision in a bath tub or hot tub/Jacuzzi until 1 month after surgery. By this time, your drains will havebeen removed and the incision healed adequately to prevent internal contamination.
  5. Tapes are usually placed across the abdominal incision. They should be left in place and do not require any care. Dr. Eppley will remove them within the first two weeks after surgery.
  6. You are to continue wearing your abdominal binder for 2 weeks after surgery. As these binders have a tendency to ride up, it is important to keep them repositioned low over the hips so some pressure can be maintained over the incision site.
  7. Numbness of the abdominal skin is to be expected and complete return of feeling may take up to 6 months after surgery. During this period, exposure to heat (e.g., hot tubs, heating pads) should be done with this consideration in mind to avoid potential burn injuries.
  8. Avoid exercise and heavy lifting for 6 weeks after surgery. Abdominal stress and abdominal specific exercises can be resumed 8 weeks after surgery.
  9. You may drive when you feel comfortable and can react normally and are off pain medication.
  10. If any redness, tenderness, or drainage develops after the first week of surgery, call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.