TUMMY TUCK RECOVERY PRECAUTIONS
1. After your tummy tuck surgery, do not perform any heavy or increase exertion of the abdominal wall midriff area. Patients in our practice are instructed for six weeks not to do any severe heavy lifting due to increased risk of tearing the rectus sutures that are placed in the rectus sheath in order to prevent this from tearing which could lead to hematoma or dehiscence of the rectus fascia.
2. Maintain clean, dry incision sites. Our patients are instructed to keep the incision sites dry for up to 17 days. No shower or bathing is allowed to prevent cellulitis, staph infections or even a possible abscess of the extraabdominal space. Our patients are placed on antibiotics for seven days or longer until the Jackson-Pratt drains are placed.
3. Do not return to work until drains are removed and no lifting at work. Patients are instructed that they may not return to work until the Jackson-Pratt drains are removed, which may be at least 10 days postop until less than 25 cc per drain is removed. They are also instructed not to engage in any heavy lifting or exertion of the mid abdominal area which could cause tearing, bleeding, dehiscence of the rectus sheath or even opening of the lower abdominal incision site.
4. Do not remove sutures presumptuously too early. Sutures are maintained in three layers, sometimes removed at different intervals in order to prevent dehiscence of the incision or widespread scarring. This may take up to four weeks for final sutures to be removed. Subcuticular sutures are normally removed at 17 days and the simple cuticular sutures can take up to three to four weeks. Once sutures are removed, Bio Corneum or Kelo-Cote silicone gel spray is used twice a day for the next three to six months in order to aid with reduction of scar formation.
5. Do not evaluate your final results too early. It can take well up to eight months to a year for final swelling, edema and scarring to resolve. After your one-year checkup, clinical analysis is useful, including scarring, residual adiposity or lipodystrophy of the lower abdominal flap, dog-ear formation on the hips and tightening of the mid central area.