Following your tummy tuck surgery, you will awaken in the in the operating room and then will be transported to the recovery area. You may still be sleepy at this time, and therefore you will be observed during this period until you are fully alert. Most patients receive a small amount of pain medication during this time as well.
Once you are completely awake, you will be transported to another recovery area where you will be given something to eat prior to discharge. You may have two drains and a surgical binder placed at the conclusion of the procedure. In other cases, a drain is not used and only a compression garment will be placed. The nurses in the recovery area will demonstrate how to empty and record the output from your drains. A responsible adult will need to be available to escort you home. In some cases, patients will elect to have a private nurse stay with them for the first night following surgery, and the office will be able to arrange this if desired. When you return home, you should take a nap for 2-3 hours. Most of the narcotic medication which you received during surgery will have worn off by this time, so you should have little to no nausea when you awaken.
Patients are seen in the office 3-4 days following abdominoplasty surgery at which time the drains (if present) will be removed and you will be placed into a compression garment. Most sutures placed will dissolve on their own. Most patients do not complain of severe pain following this surgery, but note that the abdomen feels “tight”, as if they have performed many sit-ups. This surgery is much less painful than a C-section; during a C-section, your abdominal rectus muscles are cut (this hurts!). These muscles are not touched during an abdominoplasty, but the layer overlying them is brought together with tight sutures. Pain medication is prescribed for any discomfort. If you notice sudden swelling, severe pain, redness, drainage, or a fever, you should contact the office immediately for evaluation.
Walking is permitted the day after surgery, but strenuous activity and heavy lifting are limited until six weeks following surgery. Swelling will be present for the initial 2-3 months after surgery, and the final results are typically seen 3-6 months after surgery. The scar will continue to fade and soften for up to one year following surgery.