Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) Post-Operative Instructions
- Upon leaving the operating room, a support girdle (garment) will be placed on the abdominal wall on top of a sheet of comfortable cotton which helps to avoid irritation to the skin. The garment compresses the involved area to reduce swelling and help provide you with a feeling of support when walking or coughing. It is held together by a Velcro strip. This garment is to remain in place continuously for 24 hours after surgery, or as instructed by your doctor. After the first 24 hours, you may remove the garment to shower. You may reuse the cotton by removing small sections that may be blood stained. Replace the garment after showering. It may be snug but not tight. You are to wear this garment until instructed by your doctor.
- You will leave the operating room with two plastic tubes that exit either side of the abdominal incision. These tubes help draw away fluid and blood that leaks from the surgical area under the skin. These drains will be removed in the office when the amount of drainage is diminished, usually during the second week after surgery. The color of the drainage fluid may range from red/purple to yellow/clear. All colors are acceptable. You may also leak fluid from around where the drain exits through the skin and this is normal as well. If this occurs simply add gauze pads over that area. Drains might collect different amounts or have different colors to their drainage or might not drain at all. All are acceptable.
- When lying in bed during the first few days following surgery, use two pillows under the knees and back for comfort. After the first 48 hours you may gradually resume light activity. Walking without bending too much at the hips will prevent or alleviate back pain. You are strongly encouraged to walk about the house routinely and often after surgery including the first evening. Lying in bed all day is not recommended.
- Do not engage in any strenuous activities for the first week after surgery. Exertion that elevates blood pressure can cause bleeding. You may resume light exercise after your first post-operative visit with your doctor. No active exercising using the abdominal muscles is permitted during a six week period following surgery. Have help available when sitting up in bed or getting up from a chair as these activities stress the site of muscle repair.
- If you experience pain, please take your prescribed narcotic pain medications as directed with food. Avoid aspirin or any aspirin containing medications. These can cause bleeding. You may take Extra Strength Tylenol in place of your prescription narcotic pain medication if you feel this will provide you with adequate pain relief. Keep in mind that narcotic pain medication may cause nausea. It also causes constipation, so consider taking an over-the-counter stool softener while using narcotics.
- You will leave the operating room with two plastic tubers that exit either side of the abdominal incision. These tubes help draw away fluid and blood that leaks from the surgical area under the skin. These drains will be removed in the office when the amount of drainage is diminished, usually during the second week after surgery. The color of the drainage fluid may range from red/purple to yellow/clear. All colors are acceptable. You may also leak fluid from around where the drain exits through the skin and this is normal as well. If this occurs simply add gauze pads over that area. Drains might collect different amounts or have different colors to their drainage or have no drainage.
- Drink plenty of fluids. It is easy to become dehydrated after surgery.
- If you are discharged with an oral antibiotic, take as directed until they are finished.
- Call the office at 203 924 2900 if you experience any of the following: Temperature above 101.5°F, (oral) shaking and chills, excessive bleeding from incision sites that cause the blood to drip from dressings, severe or sudden pain with a reddened swollen area which feels hard like a baseball and warm to the touch.
- You may shower 48 hours after your surgery. Remove the binder and cotton. Attach the drainage tubes with a safety pin to a handkerchief or bathrobe belt placed around the back of your neck. You will notice Steri-Strips (white surgical tape) over the incisions. Avoid rubbing the white tapes. They can get wet and will not fall off. They are placed to provide additional support to the incision. These will eventually fall off by themselves or be removed by the doctor. They do not need to be replaced once they fall off. Do not use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or other topical treatments.
- After your Steri-Strips (surgical tapes) fall off, you may notice one or a few blisters around your scar. This is also normal and may result from the Steri-Strips (surgical tape). You may apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment and a bandage as needed. The blisters will heal shortly after a couple of days. During the healing phase, scars may also appear to be slightly raised and red. This is a normal appearance with any scar.
- Swelling and or bruising throughout your abdominal area is normal and should begin to subside four to six weeks after surgery. Keep in mind that everyone heals differently and some patients may heal quicker or slower than the others.
- Please be aware that smoking or the use of unauthorized medications can lead to complications and jeopardize the results of your surgery.
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