Tummy Tuck- After Care Instructions
It is important to be up and about after surgery, and to take deep breaths. This helps avoid post-operative problems such as deep vein thrombosis.
Take your pain pills with a light snack. If taken on an empty stomach, they can cause nausea. Take fiber (Metamucil) or a stool softener (Dulcolax) while on the pain medication, as the pain pills cause constipation. Stay on a soft diet for 2-3 days.
You may alternate Percocet and ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Make sure you take no more that 3200 mg of ibuprofen a day, as it can cause irritation of the stomach and intestines. If taking acetaminophen, take no more that 4000 mg in a day. Remember that there are 325 mg of acetaminophen in each Percocet, so include that in your calculation.
When in bed, keep your head elevated about 30 degrees and leave your knees slightly flexed.
Keep your drainage bulbs collapsed and record time and amounts of drainage over a 24-hour period. All patients heal differently according to many factors. Dr. Camp will make the decision regarding drain removal and necessity of office visits. (Generally, the drains will be removed when the drainage is 30cc or less in a 24-hour period, which usually occurs in 7-10 days.)
You may shower with drains in place. You can use the drain belt as a lanyard around your neck to suspend the drains while showering. Make sure someone is with you at your first shower! You may notice several days after surgery that one drain appears to not be working. This is ok and that is why there is a second drain in place to make a redundant system to let fluid out.
Wear a binder continuously for 7-10 days. You can take it off to shower. (We will do the 1st dressing change in our office at your one day follow-up appointment.) If you wash your binder, use cold water and allow it to air dry.
You will have a surgical tape over your incision. This will protect the incision for 3 weeks. You can shower with the surgical tape in place. If you have sutures, they will be removed in 7-10 days.
Please call or text Dr. Camp immediately at any sign of infection which would be signaled by fever, increased pain, new redness or swelling in the abdominal area.
Please do not drive for 7-10 days especially while taking prescription pain medications.
Do not lift anything heavier than 10 lbs for 3 weeks.
It is good to be up and about to stretch your legs (walking is great!), but keep your heart rate under 100 beats per minute for 3 weeks. Do not run, lift weights, play tennis, or golf for 3-4 weeks after surgery. You may begin swimming and other similar activities at 4 weeks post-operatively if Dr Camp clears you at your 3 week followup appointment.
Moderate swelling of your abdomen is to be expected. You may find that your clothes may not fit as easily as before. Be patient. The swelling will gradually subside, and you will be back to normal in 3 to 6 months. Because of the removal of tissue from your abdomen, there is a certain amount of tightness that is to be expected. This will slowly relax within 6 months.
Some suggestions to ease abdominal discomfort or indigestion after surgery:
- Drink a lot of water – 8 glasses a day!
- Drink warm liquids (tea or coffee)
- Prune juice mixed with 7-Up (half and half) for mild constipation
- If severely constipated use Miralax first as it is a mild but effective laxative, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Colace stool softeners, and fleet enemas (regular or oil retention) as a last resort.
- Walking helps the circulation in legs and bowels.
It is important to be seen by Dr. Camp after your initial post-op checks. He will see you in follow-up appointments on the day after surgery and then at 1 week (drain removal) and 3 weeks (adhesive tape removal and incision check). We will schedule your first three followup appointments (one day, one week, three weeks) when you book your surgery. Please book your remaining followup appointments as your schedule allows.
IF YOU HAVE ANY URGENT QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL DR. CAMP
If you have urgent questions or need immediate care, please text or call Dr. Camp on his cell. There is no such thing as a minor question if you have urgent concerns about fever, fluid collection, new redness, etc. I would rather you call me than wonder and not do the right thing. You can also reach out to my office via email or phone during regular business hours with general questions.