It’s not a quick fix
Tummy tuck surgery takes time to heal, don’t think that you will be ‘all good’ two weeks after your surgery. As a general rule, you should limit strenuous activities for 6-8 seeks post op. However, this can change from person to person, so your surgeon will give you the best advice on your personal recovery time. It will take up to 12 months for your body to completely heal from your surgery – especially if you have had internal muscle repair.
You will have to wear post surgery garments
For all tummy tuck procedures, you will have to wear compression garments – these are required to assist your body in reducing swelling and aiding your post surgery recovery. You will need to wear these garments for a minimum of 3 months, so it is a good idea to purchase at least two – so you can wash and wear. It may feel uncomfortable to put your garment on for the first time, this is usually after your drains have been removed, however most tummy tuck clients will tell you that they feel much more comfortable having the support of their garment – especially when moving around. Your Medi Makeovers consultant will help you in purchasing the correct garments after you have booked in your surgery date. Tip: Put your underwear over your garments, so it’s easier for you to go to the bathroom.
You won’t be able to stand straight up for at least 2 weeks
This is because it takes approx. two weeks for your incisions to seal (you should be able to stand straight once your external stitches have been removed, though your surgeon will advise you on this). Most tummy tuck patients, especially females, will have internal muscle repair along with the removal of excess skin. Muscle separation is usually caused by pregancy and can only be fixed by surgery. If you stand too straight after your surgery, you risk pulling on the internal stitches in your tummy.
As you won’t be standing straight, you may feel a strain on your lower back, which is normal. In Thailand, you will be able to have daily massages, and they can massage your lower back whilst you are seating to help relieve some pressure.
The placement of your tummy tuck scar is dependent on your skin
Some looking for a tummy tuck as adamant that there scar must be in their groin area and completely hidden by low rise underwear. However, the placement of your scar can only be determined by how much your skin is sagging. When a FULL tummy tuck is done, the placement of the scar depends on how much loose skin you have around and above the belly button. Think of it this way, your surgeon will make a cut around the belly button, then pull the skin down on the abdomen and remove the excess skin. They have to be able to remove the hole they’ve just cut around the belly button, or you’ll end up with an extra scar on your middle lower abdomen after the surgery. If you need a full tummy-tuck, but don’t have enough skin laxity (loose skin) for your surgeon to reach a low scar, then they have to place the scar higher. Our surgeons would advise you NOT to choose a mini-tummy tuck if what you need is a full tummy-tuck. Mini-procedures lead to mini-results, and you’ll find quite a few posts from women who’ve had mini-tummy tucks and now need to have a full tummy tuck to get the results they wanted from the start.
Your belly button will look a little odd
Creating the new belly button, which is called an umbilicoplasty, is a part of tummy tuck surgery that requires a great deal of attention and finesse on the part of your surgeon. Sometimes, after surgery, your new belly button can look quite odd and you may see your incision lines, however – this does go down. The reason as to why your belly button can look raised and as it is has ‘popped out’ is due to swelling. Once the swelling has gone down, which can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 months (depending on your personal healing rate), your new belly button will look normal.
Did you know: You can also request that your surgeon make your belly button into any shape you wish – e.g. round, slightly oval etc.
You will hurt yourself more if you lay flat
Sleep with your head and shoulders elevated for the first week to 14 days or however long your surgeon suggests. Use two or three good fluffy pillows to keep your head up or perhaps a wedge-shaped pillow. All our hotels, you’ll be able to call the front desk to send as many extra pillows for you as you’ve like. It you find it is putting pressure on your lower back to sleep elevated, simply prop a pillow underneath your knees too.
Your scar will most likely look worse before it looks better
Remember that your abdominoplasty scars will get worse before they get better. Your incision will heal, but scars go through a series of changes before they are completely healed and that can take months. Scars will look their worst at about 3 months after your abdominoplasty surgery. They tend to get very red and thick and raised. Sometimes, if you are cold, they can even change colour completely. It may take up to a year for your tummy tuck scars to flatten and fade. Remember to protect your fresh tummy tuck scars from the sun exposure. Ask your surgeon and Medi Makeovers consultant about scar minimising products. Our surgeons are also skilled with those prone to Keloid scarring. Keloids are overgrowths of scar tissue that can form in some wounds. Some people, especially people with medium to dark skin are prone to developing keloids, although this can still occur – even when your surgeon does everything they can to reduce the possibility. After surgery, some surgeons instruct their patients to use Steri-Strips rather than silicone sheeting. Steri-Strips are medical paper tape and can help flatten and fade scars in the days right after surgery. Steri-Strips can be used on top of suture material and on incisions that are still open.
You will gain a few kgs in bloating
Don’t stress, you didn’t get fat overnight. You have had major surgery, that according to one of our surgeons is “like your body being hit by a car”. Over time the bloating will go down and your swelling will reduce. It is vital you do NOT consume any alcohol as it will only increase your swelling. Again, don’t stress, this will go down – it is a good idea to only bring loose, comfortable clothing with you.
Constipation is a given and can be painful
Your body will most likely ‘clog’ up after general anaesthesia and the medications you will be given. It is a good idea to bring some laxatives with you (be sure to show your surgeon as some products contain ingredients that counteract with other medications). Whilst you are at the hospital, if you haven’t gone in the first day, be sure to tell the nurses to ask your surgeon for laxatives. It is a lot more painful than normal constipation as you have just had tummy surgery, so don’t wait too long before getting assistance in the bathroom.
Postoperative depression is real
The anaesthetic and pain medication can affect your mood. You may suffer from a range of emotions after your surgery from loving your new body to hating it. Either way, give it time for your emotions to settle. This is also why it is a good idea to stay away from alcohol – even after the 3 weeks post op your surgeon will advise you of.