TUMMY TUCK FAQS ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO
Can other procedures be performed at the same time as the tummy tuck?
Yes. If you are healthy, other procedures can be conducted at the same time as your tummy tuck. Please discuss these options with your plastic surgeon. Often, I perform breast surgery and/or liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck. Sometimes, I will perform an arm lift or leg lift at the same time as a tummy tuck.
After my tummy tuck, when can I exercise?
In general, if everything is healing well, four weeks after a tummy tuck, I allow my patients to return to “light” exercise. “Light” exercise includes walking around your neighborhood and moderate treadmill. Six weeks after your tummy tuck, you can do more vigorous physical exercise including lifting upper body weights and going on the elliptical. If there are no contraindications, eight to ten weeks after your tummy tuck, you should be able to return to all your workouts. The only exception is I do not want you to do sit-ups for six months after your tummy tuck. The reason I don’t want you doing sit-ups after your tummy tuck is that the rectus abdominis muscles have been tightened with permanent sutures. Doing sit-ups on the repaired anterior abdominal wall puts undue strain on the repair. Sit-ups can tear the rectus abdominis repair. Tearing the rectus abdominis repair may defeat one of the primary reasons for having a tummy tuck. There is no point in doing sit-ups in an attempt to strengthen your core or flatten your abdomen when you may ruin your tummy talk results.
After my tummy tuck, what exercises am I allowed to do?
For the first two weeks after your tummy tuck, you should rest. You should only do activities of daily living. These activities include going from your bed to your bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, etc. I would not do anything else. I would not do laundry for any house cleaning. I would not suggest you do any vacuuming.
Four weeks after your tummy tuck you are allowed to do light exercises, including walking and going on the elliptical. Six weeks after your tummy tuck, you are allowed to do more vigorous activities. The only exercises you should not do, are exercises that involve your rectus abdominis muscles. You are free to do almost all other exercises. If you are involved in contact sports (like kickboxing), I would suggest you wait until you are six months after your tummy tuck.
After my tummy tuck, what exercises do I need to avoid?
I would suggest you avoid doing core exercises, especially sit-ups for six months after your tummy tuck. During your tummy tuck, the rectus abdominis muscles are tightened. Muscle tightening is one of the foundations of the tummy tuck. Tightening the rectus muscles establishes the anterior abdominal wall and makes the abdominal wall flat from the sternum to the pubic region. The skin and fat are then draped on top of this. If the rectus muscles are not repaired, no matter how tightly the abdominal skin is pulled and tightened, you will not get a flat abdomen. This is why the rectus abdominis muscle repair is so critical to the tummy tuck. For six months after a tummy tuck, I would suggest you avoid doing sit-ups. Sit-ups will put undue stress on the rectus repair muscles; instead, I would focus your efforts and concentrate on other body parts
After my tummy tuck, when can I start doing sit-ups?
I would suggest you wait six months after your tummy tuck before you start doing sit-ups or core exercises. During the tummy tuck, the six -pack muscles are sutured and tightened. Six months should be enough time for the rectus abdominis muscles to heal.
After my tummy tuck, what can I take for the bruising?
If you have a history of excessive bruising, I would suggest you take a product called Arnica. The full name is Arnica Montana. Arnica comes in a pill form and ointment form.
Arnica has been medically proven to decrease the amount of bruising. Also, arnica reduces the amount of time it takes to heal from bruising. For a tummy tuck, taking Arnica is by no means mandatory. If however, you are inclined to take Arnica, please notify your plastic surgeon. It is vital for your plastic surgeon all the medications you’re taking during your recovery.
After my tummy tuck, what can I take for the swelling?
Bromelain may help with the swelling after a tummy tuck. Bromelain is a pineapple extract made from the bromeliad plant. Bromelain has been medically shown to decrease swelling and inflammation. If you have a long history of swelling, Bromelain may help. Taking bromelain is not mandatory during an abdominoplasty. If however, you feel inclined to take Bromelain, please notify your plastic surgeon. It is crucial that your plastic surgeon knows the complete picture, especially if you are taking other medications.
If the swelling is excessive, you must notify your plastic surgeon. There may be other stronger medication that may be better and more effective.
After a tummy tuck, when can I tan?
I never suggest tanning or tanning bed. Whether it’s natural or synthetic sun, these cause radiation damage and increase your risk of skin cancer. However, if you must have that golden tan, I would suggest a spray on tan that can usually be applied four weeks after a tummy tuck. If you absolutely must have a natural suntan or even worse, from a UV bed, you should be able to tan six weeks after your tummy tuck. If you do decide to go in the sun or a tanning booth, I would strongly suggest wearing something that covers your tummy tuck scar. If you cannot do this, I would recommend an SPF 50 or higher. All scars are very sensitive to sunlight; your tummy tuck scar is no exception. Excessive sun and UV radiation will turn fresh tummy tuck scars to a bright pink. It may take several weeks for the pink scars to fade.
In conclusion and in general, I would avoid tanning. If you must have that golden tan, I would consider a spray tan.
After my tummy tuck, when can I shower?
Typically, showering is not allowed while the drains are in place. Once the drains are removed, you are usually allowed to shower. Also, if there are any open wounds or incision, showering may be delayed. Generally, you are allowed to sponge bathe two to three days after the tummy tuck.
After a tummy tuck, how should I sleep?
I would suggest you sleep in a recliner. A recliner will keep you inclined at 45 to 90°. The more your abdomen is bent, the better the incision is protected. You can rent recliners from local vendors. Recliners chairs can be delivered to your home. Some medical insurance plans even cover the rental of recliners.
After my tummy tuck, when can I have sex?
I would suggest you wait two weeks after your tummy tuck or at least, till the drains have been removed. In the beginning, I would advise you and your partner take it easy. I would not suggest any “rough play.” Usually, in general, four to six weeks after your tummy tuck, you can return to your previous sexual activities.