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Tummy Tuck Recovery

Aug 17, 2007
A tummy tuck is a medical procedure to remove excessive skin from the lower and middle abdominal area. It also tightens the abdominal wall muscles. It can dramatically alter the appearance of a bulging abdomen. This surgery, called abdominoplasty, does leave a permanent scar. A complete abdominoplasty requires two to five hours of surgery while a partial tummy tuck requires an hour or two.

Women that have children are good candidates for tummy tuck surgery because their skin and abdominal muscles are stretched past returning to normal. Men and women that have lost a great amount of weight often end up with loose skin that exercise does not help. If people are planning to lose more weight or a woman plans on more children, surgeons recommend postponing abdominoplasty.

Often surgeons perform tummy tucks in an outpatient surgical facility or hospital where a patient stays after the operation if necessary. A complete abdominoplasty procedure lasts up to five hours while a partial takes only a few hours.

After tummy tuck surgery, recovery will vary from person to person. Some people remain in the hospital for a few hours while others remain there for several days depending on the extent of the operation. Patients go through several stages usually. The first day or two are the most uncomfortable with a swollen abdomen, discomfort and pain. Surgeons prescribe medication to help deal with this when necessary.

When returning home, patients have specific instructions for taking a shower and changing the bandages. Even though standing up straight might be a problem, doctors normally recommend walking as quickly after surgery as possible. After five to seven days the doctor removes the surface stitches. The deeper ones have ends that stick out the skin and remain for two or three weeks until removed. Some people wear support garments after the doctor removes all the stitches.

Getting back to normal and feeling wonderful varies from patient to patient. Men and women with strong abdominal muscles, in great physical shape, have a shorter recovery time. Some people return to work after only a few weeks while others need several weeks to recuperate and rest.

People that exercise heal far better and faster but avoid vigorous exercise until it is comfortable to do so. People that have not exercised in the past should start an exercise program. This will help keep the swelling down, tone the muscles and reduce the chance of blood clots.

Scars often appear to look worse as they heal from three to six months, but this is entirely normal. It could take up to a year for the scars to lighten in color and flatten out. Scars from tummy tuck surgery never completely disappear but most clothing hides it.
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