Getting a tummy tuck? We’ve been there, done that. Read on to get the list of our top 10 tummy tuck recovery must-haves! You’ll want big things like a recliner, body pillow, and toilet riser, but we’ve got some little things you might not have thought about.
No one really told you, nor could you predict, that in the wake of pregnancy and childbirth, you’d be left with a jiggly, wiggly tummy that never seems to go away.
Or, maybe you’ve lost a significant amount of weight – you should be feeling amazing! But you’re left with extra skin on your tummy that doesn’t look like that sleek flat stomach you thought you were getting.
Maybe you have come to love your tummy as it is. If so, I truly commend you! If you’re like many women, this jello belly may be a major stumbling block for you. Clothes just don’t fit right with extra skin on your belly, and no one really wants to sign up for a life of Spanx, do they?
The decision to finally do something about your post-pregnancy or flabby tummy is an incredibly personal and non-reversible one. There are countless factors to consider and giving yourself time to process each of them is important.
At the end of the day, however, getting a tummy tuck is a relatively common procedure and as you make your decision, know you aren’t alone in wrestling with this choice.
What a Tummy Tuck Can Do For You
If you’ve never had plastic surgery or even visited with a plastic surgeon, the prospect of even researching a surgical option to smooth your belly can be overwhelming. However, the good news is that lots of information are available about how a tummy tuck can change your life.
Whether you have extra skin on your belly from pregnancy or weight loss, you’re likely a good candidate for a tummy tuck procedure.
During surgery, your surgeon will remove excess skin, likely relocate your belly button and often, do some liposuction.
While the lipo might seem a bit shocking, it helps better contour skin, flatten the abdomen and smooth the transition between the waist and the hips. Without additional liposuction, there can often be an odd bulge or bump in the hip and love handle area.
Part of the tummy tuck involves tightening the ab muscles, and repairing issues of ab separation that are often common in pregnancy. Your doctor can also repair any abdominal hernia you might have during the procedure.
Once you’ve healed, you should expect to feel so much more comfortable with the way your belly looks. Women often have a huge boost in self-esteem – your clothes will fit better, and with new techniques, you might not even notice your scar, even in a bikini.
What it can do? CONFIDENCE! Most women report being PROUD of their bodies and getting the “old me” back.
Tummy Tuck Cost and Commitment
It’s important to remember that although rates of tummy tucks are skyrocketing, it is major surgery.
There are some questions to ask yourself before going under the knife to be sure your results are exactly what you want.
- Are you done having children? As part of the tummy tuck, your doctor will also tighten your ab muscles (called a Muscle Repair), drawing them together. Pregnancy after this not only stretches your tightened skin but can separate these muscles again.
- Are you at your goal weight? While some people assume a tummy tuck is a great way to lose overall weight or can correct problems with excess fat, this isn’t the best approach. Instead, it is recommended that you maintain your goal weight for at least a year before deciding on a tummy tuck. This additional time gives your skin the chance to snap back on its own after pregnancy or significant weight loss. After all, if you could avoid needing a tummy tuck, it would be so much easier!
- Can you afford it? There are two types of costs associated with a tummy tuck. The first is financial. Estimates suggest the procedure, which isn’t generally covered by insurance (it’s cosmetic, in most cases), can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. If there are other medical issues your tummy tuck can resolve, such as separated ab muscles (diastasis), a hernia, or more, your insurance may be willing to cover a portion of the cost. It’s worth a call to your insurer to find out what your options might be. It can also be helpful to have your surgeon write a letter to your insurance.
The other cost is time. Recovery from your procedure is significant.
It can take one to two weeks before you’re able to do much more than get out of bed and you will likely need significant help moving around before that time.
It is also likely you’ll need two weeks or more off work. Make sure you can afford the time you’ll be laid up in addition to the financial costs.
Consider the Risks
Aside from the question of affordability, weight goals, and decisions concerning having or not having more children, there are other risks when considering a tummy tuck.
As with any major surgery, there are risks involved, and you should consider whether or not the recovery and operation are worth it.
These during and post-operation risks include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Prolonged swelling after surgery
- Accumulation of bodily fluids around the surgery site
- Discoloration of the skin
Considering the potential risks above, you should decide whether or not cosmetic surgery is worth what could happen during or after the surgery.
What to Expect at Your Tummy Tuck Pre-Op
Prior to your surgery, you’ll likely meet with your plastic surgeon. They’ll conduct a physical exam and take a complete medical history.
You’ll also likely be asked to stop smoking, which slows recovery and can cause complications, and to stop taking certain medications that can influence your bleeding.
Maintaining a stable weight improves your results so you should watch your diet carefully. After your surgery, you’ll need someone to drive you home and someone to stay with you for at least a few days.
Make plans to have someone there to support you and help you manage as you recover so you can focus on getting back on your feet.
There are also many items you will need or perhaps want to have, to make your recovery easier. See ours below!
Tummy Tuck Recovery Supply List
Recliner: Many women suggest having a recliner. A recliner can help you easily get in and out of a sleeping or sitting position without using your ab muscles. If you do not own one, you can buy one on Amazon relatively inexpensively or places like Rent to Own allow you to rent them.
You can also call medical stores and rent a medical recliner which can even push you to a standing position!
Body Pillow: You will absolutely want a body pillow. Body pillows help alleviate pressure all over your body and are so much easier to get comfortable with while trying to adjust to sleep. If you do not have a recliner, you will want a body pillow no doubt.
Toilet Seat Riser: Likely you have never noticed, but when you sit down on the toilet and stand up, you use so many ab muscles. Nothing will become more apparent than the first few times after surgery you need to stand.
For just about $30, a toilet seat riser can save you tons of pain and allow you some privacy in the bathroom standing up. Another option that many women prefer is a walker, which can help you get around the house unassisted for the first few weeks.
Do not be afraid to use these items to help ease recovery and less strain on your body! There is no reason to pay $10K on surgery and then skimp on $200 worth of recovery items.
Protein Shakes: Keeping food down after surgery can be hard and you will be likely on tons of medications. Keep hydrated, full, and with energy by taking protein shakes. This is a protein shake that we like.
First Aid Items: Items you will likely want to keep bedside so you have them when you need them.
- Stool Softeners
- Alcohol wipes
- Lanyard (For drains)
- Arnica, Lotion
- Dry Shampoo
- Baby wipes
Compression Socks: Your doctor will probably give you a blood thinner to help assist with blood clot risks, but you can also do your part by adding compression socks while at home.
Other items that many women like to have prior to surgery:
- Coming home outfit: Button up or zipper shirt, pants without a waistline
- Extra-long charger (To reach to the bed)
- Remote for TV
Faja or Compression Band: Your doctor will send you home with one but after a week or two, you will probably change that out to a full compression garment. Wearing this garment can assist you in proper healing and support.
There are many kinds of compression garments and what you use may change over the course of your recovery.
Scar Care: Once you have an all-clear from a Dr, you can begin scar care. It will take quite some time to take your scar from an angry red line to a faded line and much of that will be time and body repair. But there are ways that you can help eliminate that line quicker. Here are the recommended products.
What to Expect From Your Tummy Tuck Post-op and Recovery
When you come out of surgery, your incision will be covered with a dressing and may have tubes inserted to help blood and fluid drain away.
- Your doctor will let you know how to care for the incision and how long you’ll need to have the tubes in place. Following your doctor’s instructions is critical for proper recovery so don’t cheat!
- You will wear a supportive bandage for a few weeks that helps speed healing, and you’ll likely be on antibiotics to keep your risk of infection low.
- You’ll also be prescribed pain medication to help you manage your discomfort, but please, take it only as directed.
Follow the care schedule your surgeon recommends and be sure to keep on top of any follow-up visits that are included in your post-op plan. Many surgeons recommend the sooner you move around, the easier and faster you will heal.
If at any time things seem more painful or uncomfortable than you anticipated, reach out to your doctor’s office for reassurance with any questions you might have.
While serious side effects are uncommon, they can occur.
Recovery can be a long process, depending on how much you allow yourself to rest, your age, and other factors. Be prepared to take it easy on yourself and soon, not only will you have an amazing bikini body, but you’ll be able to keep it for life.
FAQs About Tummy Tuck Supplies and Recovery
Q: How do you sit on the toilet after a tummy tuck?
A: We recommend getting a toilet riser. They’re pretty cheap and they make the seat higher for you so you don’t have to squat so low to use the toilet. The first few days home you’ll want to also keep your walker in front of you to help you stand back up.
Q: How long do you walk hunched over after a tummy tuck?
A: In our experience, it’s impossible to straighten up for at least a week. We were hunched over at least somewhat for 2 weeks. The tightness and pain make it impossible to straighten out for around 2 weeks.
Q: How long after a tummy tuck can you drive?
A: As long as you’re on pain meds you can’t drive. Once you’ve been off of the pain meds for 24 hours you can drive, but don’t do it unless you can operate the vehicle without wincing from the pain. If you’re in too much pain or on meds you’re likely to wreck the car.
At the end of the day, the decision to sign up for a tummy tuck is a serious and very personal one that isn’t to be considered lightly or rushed into. Many women will look with disappointment at extra skin in the mirror, but only a few will make the investment to solve the problem, permanently.
If you’re on the fence, stick with your diet and exercise regime, and give your body time to adjust to its new shape. If, after settling into your exercise and diet routine, you’re still not satisfied, you may consider taking the plunge and investing in a tummy tuck.
If you do decide to go through with a tummy tuck, you’re in good company and you’ll likely never second-guess your choice.