|Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty Post op Instructions|
Abdominoplasty is an operation done at the hospital. You should arrive two hours prior to your scheduled time. I will meet you in the prep and holding area prior to going into the operating room to go over the plan and place marks for surgery. When the operation is complete you will go to the recovery room for about an hour. Friends or family may see you after you leave the recovery room. Most patients stay over night and are ready for discharge in the morning. I will see you in the office usually 1, 2, 4 and 8 weeks after surgery and then a final time 3 months post op.
- You will have one or two drains placed at the time of surgery to help remove fluid that collects under the skin. Typically they stay in for 1-2 weeks. I or the nursing staff will explain how they work prior to discharge. They should be emptied 3-4 times per day. You should record the amount of drainage in milliliters and write it on a piece of paper each time you empty the suction bulb. The mls are written on the side of the suction bulb. The drains are ready to come out in the office when they are putting out less than 25mls total for 1-2 days. This is easily done and not considered painful.
- If you have the ON-Q pain device it should be removed when it is empty. The clear tape holding the tubes to the skin is removed. A slow steady pull removes the catheter. Again, this is not painful. A brochure is provided to further explain the On-Q.
You may think that it is not working because you don't see any fluid moving or it doesn't seem to be emptying. However, you will see it getting wrinkled along the edges and smaller very slowly indicating that it is indeed emptying.
- An abdominal binder is put on at the time of surgery. It should be snug but not too tight. It should be comfortable to wear. If it is not you may loosen or reposition it. Most patients wear the binder continuously for about two weeks. It is okay to remove it and wash it as needed.
- You should sleep on your back with your waist slightly flexed until you feel that you can lie flat without much tension. This usually takes 1-2 weeks.
- It is okay to shower when the On-Q pain device is removed. Do not sit in a bath tub until the suction drains are out. When you take your first shower have someone nearby to help incase you feel dizzy.
- It is okay to change your dressings as needed to keep clean and dry. Maxi pads work well for this instead of expensive surgical gauze. On the skin are Steri-strips. They should be left on the skin. They stay on for one to two weeks and are removed in the office. If you develop blisters along the incision apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin until they are healed.
- Daily activity is encouraged but it should not be strenuous initially. It is important to be up and about to keep blood circulating in your legs. Lifting should be no more than ten pounds for several weeks. Driving is okay when you are not taking pain killers and can react quickly if necessary. Usually this is in about two weeks.
- Return to work is variable and depends on the type of job. Two to three weeks is the norm.
- Scar quality depends on many things such a skin type, age, tension etc. Topical silicone products like Scar Guard are recommended to help improve their appearance. These are begun when you are fully healed and the steri-strips are off. Occasionally laser or small in office touch ups are done to the scar typically 3-4 months after surgery.
For additional information on Tummy Tuck / Abdominoplasty, visit the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
for this procedure.