Tummy Tuck Recovery: Focus on Swelling & Scar Management
1) Abdominal Swelling: After your abdominal operation, you can expect to have post-operative swelling within the abdominal tissues. Swelling can be unpredictable and certainly varies from patient to patient. Post-operative swelling is more prominent during the first 24 to 48 hours after your operation. Swelling tends to subside gradually, and can take several weeks to go away completely.
2) Abdominal Binder: After your abdominal operation, you will be fitted with an abdominal binder (for all patients undergoing a tummy tuck). Most liposuction patients will be fitted for a compression garment in addition to, or in place of, a binder. Undergoing liposuction as a stand alone procedure, or in addition to a tummy tuck may increase the amount of early post-operative swelling in the surgical area. However, doing so should not prolong your tummy tuck recovery period. Dr. Brenner generally recommends that binders and compression garments be worn for at least four weeks after your operation. Some patients may require using them for longer periods of time. Many patients like wearing the binder, as it offers a fair amount of core support during the healing period.
3) Abdominal Drains: Dr. Brenner will place surgical drains during your abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) procedure. Surgical drains for tummy tucks will remain in place for about one to two weeks. Dr. Brenner most commonly will remove one drain on the fifth post-operative day. The second drain will usually be removed a few days later, but may remain in longer depending on the amount of fluid that is collecting within them. Drains are placed during tummy tucks in order to help close down the surgical space, remove the fluid the accumulates and prevent the development of a seroma. You will be instructed on proper drain care by Dr. Brenner and his staff.
4) Scar Management: All abdominal surgery requires some type of incision; all incisions turn into scars. It is important to realize that scars take about one full year to completely heal, flatten and fade. Scars will appear to be their thickest and reddest at about two or three weeks after surgery. This is normal. From that point on, scars will continue to remodel, and refine for one full year. As the scar tissue heals, so too will their appearance. However, there are a few options for helping out the process. Topical silicone gel (Biocorneum) is available in Dr. Brenner’s office and can usually be applied starting two weeks after surgery. Silicone gel sheeting may also be ordered, especially for patients with longer incisions. Further, laser treatments are available through ROX Spa to help reduce thickening and color change that may occur in some scars.
*photos on this post are not actual patients of Dr. Brenner.