When you visit our Santa Barbara office for a tummy tuck, you can expect aesthetically superior results that greatly complement your body’s curves and proportions. Furthermore, you benefit from Dr. Mackenzie’s years of expertise and state-of-the-art practices that maximize your comfort. Before you can see the results of treatment, however, you must allow time for your body to heal. During recovery, it is common for patients to experience a few side effects of surgery. These are a natural part of the healing process, but it is helpful for patients to know what to expect. If you have recently had a tummy tuck or are considering one in the future, take note of these common post-operative side effects.
The Day of Surgery
Immediately after surgery, you may experience more side effects from the anesthesia or sedation than the procedure itself. This is especially true of the extended tummy tuck procedure, which utilizes general anesthesia and usually requires an overnight stay. Common effects of anesthesia include drowsiness, nausea, light-headedness, and disorientation. During this time, it is helpful to have a friend or family member around for at least the remainder of the day to help with basic tasks like eating and getting in or out of bed.
It is also common during the first 24 hours to experience light bleeding from your incisions. This should be manageable by applying light pressure to the area, and will likely already be controlled through the use of an elastic compression garment. If bleeding persists, however, you should contact your doctor for further instructions.
Effects of Surgery
Once your tissues have begun to heal over the first few days, you will likely notice a few side effects surfacing around the area of surgery. These include:
- Bruising: Damaged capillaries from surgery will result in contusions, or bruises, around the surgical site. Your skin will appear discolored and may be particularly tender in this area, but effects should begin to recede by the fourth day of recovery, and will be nearly or completely gone soon after the first week.
- Swelling: Swelling is a natural response to damaged tissue, as the body attempts to protect the area by retaining fluid over it. You can expect swelling to increase through the third day before gradually diminishing over the following weeks. Swelling is typically the last effect to resolve, and it may not be months until your body has fully drained excess fluid from the area. However, most patients’ swelling is largely reduced by the second or third week, allowing them to get a fair indication of what they can expect from their final results.
- Pain: Discomfort will be most noticeable in the first few days, especially as the anesthesia continues to wear off. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers for this reason, and you will be advised to take them before the anesthesia fully exits your system in the first day. Continue to take any prescribed drugs, including antibiotics, for the recommended time. Once your energy returns and your body is well into its recovery, switch to a lighter, over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen.
Tips for Recovery
In order to recover more efficiently and comfortably, keep the following tips in mind:
- Get plenty of rest: You will feel tired and sore, particularly during the first week. This is an indication that your body requires rest. Most patients do not return to work or similar daily activities for at least a week after surgery, and you should not be in a rush to exert stress on your body.
- Promote your circulation: Although you should be resting in the initial stages of recovery, be sure to at least get up and stretch your legs every so often. This will promote circulation and reduce the risk of developing a blood clot in your leg.
- Apply a cold compress: Apply an ice pack or cold compress near the surgical site for 15 minutes at a time throughout the first 48 hours. This will reduce the prevalence and duration of bruising and swelling.
- Wear your compression garment: Your doctor will likely instruct you to wear an elastic compression garment for a period of time. This will not only improve your comfort, but it will also reduce your side effects, risk of complication, and overall recovery time.
- Eat well: A good diet is important to your health and healing. Even if you do not work up an appetite, make an effort to eat full, balanced meals. Also, refrain from caffeine or alcohol consumption, as these will impede healing, and try to avoid sodium, as it will prolong swelling.
Contact Us for More Information
Nothing is more important to us than your safety and well-being. If you have any concerns regarding a recent procedure, do not hesitate to contact our office and ask a question. Call or email us for more information or to set up a new appointment with Dr. Mackenzie.