3 important things you need to know about tummy tuck recovery

The Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty procedure is a popular one at our practice, however, as with all plastic and cosmetic procedures, you need to be well informed about your chosen surgeon’s knowledge, experience and commitment to aftercare to increase the chance of having a good recovery experience.

Here are 3 important things to consider about your recovery when thinking about a tummy tuck procedure.  Of course, they are not the only things to consider, as much more is covered in detail at your plastic surgery consultation.

This article applies to Dr Milovic’s practice, and patients should check with their own surgeon for specific recovery guidelines.

# 1 : Mobility and Pain

As you would expect, there will be restrictive mobility and pain (which varies from one person to the next). But, the degree of pain and mobility after tummy tuck surgery can vary between patients and the surgical approach too.

Dr Milovic’s patients can benefit from having increased mobility and less pain after tummy tuck surgery. His extensive experience as a Plastic Surgeon in Europe and Australia, and seeking out advanced surgical techniques around the world, have led Dr Milovic to specialise in the rapid recovery technique for tummy tuck surgery.

If no other health problems are present, Dr Milovic’s tummy tuck patients:

  • are out of hospital sooner (generally, 1-3 nights versus 3+ nights);
  • are up and walking within 24 hours of having surgery;
  • do not require physiotherapy or any other allied health support (cost saving!);
  • do not require the pain pump for pain relief, and overall, require less pain killers;
  • are walking upright or almost upright within a week of surgery

What is the Rapid Recovery technique?

In a nutshell, rapid recovery tummy tuck surgery involves the the administration of an intraoperative transabdominal block (“TAB”), which is guided by ultrasound. The administration of such a long acting anaesthetic essentially blocks the nerves responsible for sensation in the operative area (ie the abdominal area).   It is because of immediate and intermediate pain free recovery that patients can be mobilised earlier and reap the benefits described above.

But…don’t over do it!

We understand that because there is less pain and more mobility after having tummy tuck surgery with Dr Milovic, that some patients feel like they can start doing more physical activity sooner, like exercise or housework, but this can be deceptive.   Patients should always remember that their body has just undergone surgery and normal post op recovery protocols still apply. The Rapid Recovery technique is not meant to rush or accelerate your body’s natural recovery process. What it does do is help you feel more comfortable during the immediate recovery period after surgery.

In Dr Milovic’s years of experience, he has found that those patients who have stuck by the aftercare protocols and guides given to them almost always do better during the recovery period than those who do not – and yes, he can tell if you haven’t followed the instructions.  You cannot fool a seasoned professional! (*smiley*)

A note for parents

If you are a parent, absolutely no picking up children or any heavy lifting in general for the first 6 weeks.  We have noticed a clear difference in recovery for those patients who have had home support – with family or friends – and have overall fewer setbacks during recovery than those who rush back to their daily lives.   Some mums have said that they feel like they are missing out or feel guilty for not doing more.   If you feel this way, you should really let Dr Milovic (or your chosen surgeon) know so that this can be discussed further.   Besides, we are certain that you don’t want to see us more than you need to, if you can avoid it… you have better things to do with your time! There are no shortcuts to recovery – time and vigilant care are crucial.

# 2: Time off work and exercise

It will vary between individuals, but you can expect to take off 2 weeks from work and should be on light duties if your work is physical in nature. Light exercise can usually start at about 4 weeks and regular exercise at 6 weeks.  Dr Milovic, or your chosen surgeon, will be best able to advise you at your regular follow up appointments.

# 3 : Post op compliance

Tummy tuck surgery, like all surgery, should be a joint venture between patient and surgeon.  It is a plastic surgeon’s responsibility to perform the procedure with due care, skill and competence, staying within their expertise and knowledge.  This also includes providing post operative aftercare and/or organising it in their absence.  

Likewise, we see it as a patient’s responsibility to follow through with their surgeon’s aftercare protocol, guidance and instructions above all else with due care, and to ask questions if it is not clear.   Patient post op aftercare and follow up for at least 12 months is very important to Dr Milovic,  and this is all included in the surgical fee.  No matter how many times you see us or call us during your recovery, you won’t be out of pocket for the visits in the first 12 months.  We also invest in the training of our clinical and non-clinical staff and use reputable brands for our sterile medical consumables and dressings, and do not ask patients to purchase them from us.   It is because of our commitment to our patients, once they become our patients, that we do not provide cheap or bargain tummy tuck surgery.  Our fees reflect the cost of providing a personalised service to our patients.

You should never feel uncomfortable or awkward in approaching your plastic surgeon with any concerns, preferably before seeking advice from  “Dr Google” and other forums which can only help with general information or information specific to the person posting about it.  The great thing is that Dr Milovic provides his after hours mobile for urgent questions or concerns, so we’ve got you covered at all times. We have been told often that this brings peace of mind throughout the recovery period and is priceless to many of our patients.

This brings us to the compressive garment, or binder question…to wear/not wear, and for how long.  You may have already heard that some patients like it, some don’t and others are neutral about it.  Sorry to tell you this, but if you are wearing an abdominal compression binder – and our tummy tuck patients do – you are going to have it as your new best friend for up to 4-6 weeks after surgery.  But please, make sure you stick to wearing it.  We have chosen a comfortable and affordable brand of abdominal binders.   It is important to wear it night and day (except for washing and showering) to ensure that your swelling stays down.  It is also a good physical reminder to say “you’ve just had surgery; don’t overdo it!”.

Finally….

Although we provide our patients with comprehensive pre and post surgery information to help them prepare and recover for their procedure/s, we find that patients still have some questions. Make sure that you ask your Plastic Surgeon first if you have specific questions about your recovery – afterall, he or she was trusted to perform your tummy tuck surgery in the first place, and he/she will know your individual circumstances.

Don’t forget to SHARE this article by clicking on of the buttons below,  or as they say, “sharing is caring” –  it might help someone else too.  If you have any questions, please ask away!  Maybe it’s a question many others are thinking, and we can help answer it for everyone.

Important to note:  This information is provided as general information and doesn’t substitute for medical advice and you should always speak to your Plastic Surgeon if you have questions about your surgery.

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