July 2020

Abdominal Surgery Recoup

Whether you are seeking a panniculectomy to reduce the amount of excess skin around your torso, or abdominoplasty that includes just this but with more contouring work, there are similar points of advice for each procedure that you should adhere to during your time of recovery.



There are some surgery-specific aspects to take into consideration during the foremost postoperative period of healing. For example, you will return home with absorbent surgical dressings and possibly even thin drainage tubes. The surgeon would place these around the incision in order to drain any fluid that builds up. This means you must rest at an angle for the first couple days and listen to directions very carefully in order to prevent blood from clotting. Antibiotics, anticoagulants, topical creams as well as an abdominal support wrap will all likely be given to you.[1]



Many patients can walk, turn and move by themselves within 8 hours after surgery, but pain and sedation could prolong your stay in the surgical center.[2] When you’ve eventually transferred yourself home, it is generally good practice to limit the weight you’ll be lifting or pushing for 4-6 weeks.[3] Count on handling much less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg), which is nearly equivalent to a full gallon of milk, a small baby or basket of laundry.


Tummy Tuck aftercare


Wound Care

As you will have a T-shaped surgical wound at the base of your abdomen in the groin, basic movements can put the wound at risk for tearing. In addition to this, another potential complication would be the formation of seroma, which is a pocket of clear fluid called blood plasma. Very early on, you should expect some natural inflammation but monitor the wound and take care as to keep it dry to promote healing. If there are tubes, pay attention to instructions on how to drain the incision site and how to unclog the tubes if this occurs. Remember to use nontoxic cleansers on the skin and appropriate dressings to absorb excess moisture. Cytotoxic cleansers should be avoided altogether, which includes povidone-iodine, because they can damage healing tissue.[4]


Wearing a Binder after ABDOMINOPLASTY 

Using an abdominal binder for the first 4 weeks of recovery will minimize your risk of complications. How this works is that a binder limits shearing between the abdominal wall and abdominal skin, therefore reducing the chance of fluid buildup and blood loss into the surrounding tissue. Be sure to select a binder that properly fits because an ill-fitting binder may weaken the skin, cause respiratory trouble or general discomfort. Compression should provide comfort during recovery, not discomfort. A safe guideline for finding a suitably sized binder for yourself is that the gap between the upper edge of the binder and the lower tip of your sternum, otherwise known as the xiphoid process, should be at least 1 inch (3 cm). Never should the binder rest too tightly either, so make sure you can slip two-fingers comfortably into the compression area.[5]



The most important note to remember here is that a dry wound will heal more quickly and keep risk of infection low. If you are worried that the incision area has been retaining fluid, an ultrasound can clarify if and where this build up is occurring.[6] Utilize a compression binder that is sufficiently snug but with enough birth to prevent injury, and don’t do any activity that could strain the suture of your wound.   



[1] Salemy, Shahram. “What You Need to Know about Your Tummy Tuck Recovery.” PlasticSurgery.org, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 19 July 2019, www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-tummy-....

[2] Gallagher, Susan. “Panniculectomy: More than a Tummy Tuck.” Nursing2004, vol. 34, no. 12, Dec. 2004, pp. 48–50., doi:10.1097/00152193-200412000-00047.

[3] Padgett, Jeanette. “Weight Carrying Increments after Tummy Tuck? 1 Week Post-Op.” RealSelf.com, RealSelf, 11 June 2017, www.realself.com/question/edinburg-tx-weight-carrying-increments-after-t....

[4] Gallagher, ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Erogul, Melih. “Tummy Tuck Incision Leaking? Surgeon Says Not to Worry but I Am.” RealSelf.com, RealSelf, 12 Feb. 2019, www.realself.com/question/tummy-tuck-incision-leaking.