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What can you do after a tummy tuck? Well, until your recovery is complete, you’ll want to check with your surgeon about which activities will be good for you and which ones might not be a great idea. There are some things you can do after a tummy tuck, and some activities you’ll likely wish to avoid.

What Should You Be Doing After Your Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is one of those plastic surgery procedures that is firmly entrenched in the imagination of the public. If you mention tummy tuck, most people will know vaguely what you’re talking about–though they’ll often get the details wrong (that’s okay!). One of the most common questions that gets asked is simple: what can you do after a tummy tuck?

The question comes up because tummy tuck has a fairly well earned reputation for being a challenging procedure. A lot of work gets done during that particular surgery! And your body can sometimes take a little while to recover.

What Makes Tummy Tuck Recovery Challenging?

During a tummy tuck procedure, there are a couple of things that happen. In some cases, sutures are added to your abdominal muscles to give them some additional structure. And, primarily, excess skin will be removed from around the tummy. In order to eliminate this excess skin in a way that looks natural and aesthetically pleasing, a fairly long incision is made just below the bikini line.

To effectively perform a tummy tuck, this incision needs to be a certain length. And this is the primary reason that the recovery period for tummy tuck tends to be rather challenging. Your body has certain defense mechanisms and healing properties that kick in after surgery. The primary such effect is swelling.

This swelling can do two things. First, it can induce discomfort. Second, left uncontrolled, this swelling can compromise your results, changing the way you heal. That’s why most plastic surgeons will give you strict instructions. And that’s also why you may have drainage tubes left in place or be told to wear a compression bandage for several weeks. This is all designed to help keep swelling to a minimum.

What Activities Should You Avoid?

During the initial two weeks of your recovery period, almost all of your activities will be curtailed in some way. You’ll be encouraged to rest, of course. But you’ll also be encouraged–in most cases (check with your surgeon before you do anything)–to ensure that you’re getting up and walking around as soon after your procedure as possible.

That said, there will definitely be activities you’ll need to avoid:

  • You should avoid exercise of any kind, especially during the first couple weeks of your recovery. As your recovery proceeds (and with your surgeon’s oversight), you’ll be able to start slowly incorporating non-high-impact exercise.
  • You should also avoid driving during those first couple of weeks. Wait until your surgeon tells you it’s okay to drive before you start.
  • Your surgeon will also give you some detailed bathing instructions. In the first few weeks after your surgery, water will be the enemy. You’ll want to be very careful about exposing your incision site to water.
  • You should also avoid lifting anything. As you recover, your surgeon will tell you when it’s okay to lift (and how much).

You’ll want to make sure you’re getting instructions directly from your surgeon about what you can do and when. Not every tummy tuck will be the same, after all–so your surgeon will likely have individualized instructions for you.

In any event, it’s also a good idea to ask questions about your recovery. If there’s one activity you’re particularly concerned about, mention it during your consultation. It’s better to know ahead of time what you can’t do than to accidentally compromise your tummy tuck results. What can you do after a tummy tuck? Well, to be safe–you can always catch up on your favorite Netflix shows. Or read a book.

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