Post Operative Care: Mommy Makeover
POSITION: Because abdominoplasty involves removal of the extra abdominal skin and (usually) tightening of the abdominal muscles, you will experience some difficulty standing up straight for a week or two or even longer. During this period, you may find it more comfortable to place a pillow or two under your knees while in bed. The tightness will gradually disappear as you heal and progressively use your body muscles for the activities of daily living. Please make no special attempts to stretch or pull the abdomen straight during the first 2-3 weeks of healing.
You must change your position and walk around the house every few hours to reduce the danger of blood clots.
DRESSINGS: Occasionally, we will place an elastic abdominal binder around your tummy after surgery to provide some gentle pressure, to give you stability, and to reduce swelling. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. We do not want the binder to interfere with circulation to the skin, which could cause blistering or skin loss! You may also remove it temporarily for laundering. EVERY PATIENT DOES NOT GET AN ABDOMINAL BINDER.
DRAINS: Dr. Zubowski will probably place two drains into the surgical area at the time of surgery. These drains evacuate the fluid that accumulates after surgery and enable you to heal faster. When the drain is first put in place, the bulb at the end of each tube will be compressed to create gentle suction. As the fluid collects in the bulb, it will expand. When the fluid accumulation is less than 30cc in a 24 hour period, we will remove the drains.
Drain Care: Secure the bulb of the drain to your clothing or the abdominal binder with a safety pin. Whenever the bulb fills or expands 50% or more, empty the bulb by opening the plug at the top and pouring out the contents. Do not attempt to remove the bulb from the tubing. Squeeze the bulb to recompress it, and put the plug back into the hole at the top in order to maintain the vacuum. If the bulb fills rapidly after emptying it, or you need to empty it more than three times a day, please call us at (201) 261-7550. Dr. Zubowski or a nurse will remove the drains 5-10 days after surgery, when the fluid begins to turn a clear straw color and/or the amount of drainage diminishes. You may shower the day after your drains are removed.
ACTIVITIES: Tummy tucks are probably the most uncomfortable operation we do. You will experience some pain for 10-20 days and will not feel like resuming sports or heavy exercise for at least 6 weeks. After the first 2 weeks, you may resume moderate walks for as long as is tolerable. Too much initial activity can prolong swelling.
SUTURES: The only removable stitches which you will have will be around the drain site. The rest of the sutures are will dissolve on their own over the course of several weeks. You will have clear strips along the incision lines. You may get them wet and dry them as you do your own skin. If they loosen, it will not hurt to remove them.