Each surgeon has his or her own postoperative directions to be followed after a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty). There are however some generally accepted guidelines that most surgeons agree on. In the performance of a full abdominoplasty the skin and fat layer has been elevated off of the underlying muscle layer. This creates two large surface areas that have to heal and seal the space between the two layers.
As long as the space remains open and the raw surfaces remain, drainage will continue. Drainage stops when the two surfaces have completely healed and no space remains between the two layers. This normally takes between ten and fourteen days to occur. During this two week period if there is too much activity these two surface areas continued to shift back and forth over each other preventing adherence and delaying the healing process. For that reason it is best to plan on remaining home for two weeks and keeping activity to a minimal level to allow for the greatest chance of healing and the cessation of drainage.
It is important to keep the wounds clean to prevent infection. Patients should not sleep with their pets. This will help prevent infection. If the muscle has been tightened it is important not to engage in strenuous core activities for at least eight weeks. Aggressive abdominal exercises should not be performed for twelve weeks. Resolution of swelling is different from patient to patient. Most often the swelling is gone and the final result is realized within 6 -8 months.
A well-performed abdominoplasty can be a truly life-changing experience. For patients to have the best chance for a good outcome and is very important to strictly follow the postoperative directions of their surgeon.