Publishing note: We originally published this post on February 11, 2014, and updated it with the latest information available on April 5, 2016.
Among the most common concerns for my plastic surgery patients are the visible signs of recovery, including scars and bruising, especially when they get a more intensive procedure such as a tummy tuck at our Albany practice. Although these signs are an inevitable effect of any surgery, there are some simple things patients can do to keep them to a minimum. Consider these tips:
- Take time off. Many patients know they need to stay home from work after surgery, but it’s also important to take time off from strenuous activities. It’s easy to stress your body during this time, simply by picking up a full gallon of milk, for instance, or helping a child. Make sure you take the amount of time off work that your surgeon recommends, and make every attempt to rest during this period. Also, recruit a loved one to be your support system so you can recuperate.
- Keep your blood flowing. Although it’s important to get plenty of rest while you recover, you should also resume very light activity as soon as you can. We recommend that patients walk around the house the day after surgery, if possible. Maximizing circulation helps you to heal quickly. You can gradually resume activity over time.
- Avoid unhealthy habits. It’s imperative that you do not drink alcohol in the first couple of weeks after surgery, especially while you are taking pain medications, and that you do not smoke for several weeks beyond that. Smoking restricts circulation and prevents oxygen from getting to the blood, which can impede healing and which may keep incisions from fading away.
The most important tip I can give patients is to follow their surgeons’ instructions as closely as possible. The general tips above apply to everyone, but your surgeon can also provide advice that is specific to your surgery and your body. The better you stick to that advice, the easier your recovery will be.
For more information on the tummy tuck procedure go to our tummy tuck FAQ page on our website.