How long does the tightness last after a tummy tuck
Overview of the tummy tuck surgery
Abdominoplasty surgery is designed to tighten up loose skin, tissues, and muscles in the belly region, particularly for patients who are not getting the desired benefit from diet and exercise. Whether you are looking to alleviate a sagging belly pooch or have a plus size tummy tuck, Dr. LaBarbera has 3 different procedure types to suit the varying needs of his patients. These include:
- Complete tummy tuck – this is a type of abdominoplasty that improves firmness and smoothness above and below the belly button including repair of rectus diastasis, also commonly referred to as “muscle repair”, which is a widening of the abdominal “six-pack” muscles.
- Mini tummy tuck – this is a minimal tummy tuck treatment that only addresses the area below the belly button, particularly for patients who have stretch marks or a belly ‘pooch’.
- Extended tummy tuck – this is a more comprehensive procedure option that addresses the entire abdominal area, along with the hips and flanks.
The incision pattern used by your surgeon during surgery will depend on the type of procedure being performed. Plastic surgeons usually keep incisions to a minimum and make sure to conceal them along the natural folds of the skin. Once the incisions are created, the surgeon will lift up and tighten the skin and underlying tissue before suturing them into place. For patients who have excess fat in the belly area, the surgeon may also use liposuction in order to achieve the desired procedure outcome. Since tummy tuck is an outpatient plastic surgery procedure, patients are allowed to go home on the same day as the surgery.
Tummy tuck recovery timeline
Immediately after the surgery, tummy tuck patients are taken into the surgeon’s recovery room for further monitoring before they are allowed to go home. It is important to have someone to drive you home and help out with basic chores while you recover from the surgery.
Abdominoplasty patients often have drainage tubes that are used to relieve excess fluid from the treatment area. These need to be emptied, and the amount of fluid drained from the wound each day should be recorded. Your mobility will be limited during the first few days. Dr. LaBarbera recommends that you take a light walk as soon as you are able to in order to improve blood flow.
Many patients experience tightness around their belly and you will have to walk while hunched over for a week or two. Your incisions will likely feel sore over the first week. You may need to lie in bed at an angle, and you likely will have problems with standing, lifting things, and general movements.
Tuck tuck patients are able to resume work after about a month, particularly if they have a physically demanding job. However, you will be able to engage in routine daily activities within 1-2 weeks. Scarring is usually a major concern for patients who have just had a tummy tuck, but fades with time. Your surgeon may also recommend scar care ointments to help improve the appearance of your surgical scars.
What causes a pulling feeling after a tummy tuck?
Abdominoplasty – just like any other surgical procedure – entails cutting into the body. This naturally leads to some nerve damage. Many abdominoplasty patients experience numbness over the lower abdominal area after tummy tuck due to the damaged nerves in the area. With time – as the nerves start to regenerate their proper pathways – the patient will start to experience gradual return of sensation.
Tummy tuck patients may also experience a tight feeling in their belly because the skin has been cut and put back together. More so, muscle tightening during the surgery can lead to a hardened tissue sensation during recovery.
Although you may feel worried about this tightness and pulling sensation, keep in mind that it is a normal part of the healing process. The majority of people who had an abdominoplasty can experience these side effects for up to 12 weeks post-op. In some cases, it takes up to 12 months for the nerves in the abdominal area to properly heal. Once the nerves regain their usual sensory function, it is highly unlikely that this kind of discomfort will return.
What is the treatment for hardened tissue after tummy tuck?
Nerve regeneration is a natural process that follows its own natural timeline. However, you may be able to quicken this process by taking part in the retraining process. Dr. LaBarbera recommends that you gently rub items of different textures across your abdomen. This may include such things as loofahs, washcloths, lotion, and cotton. The goal is to stimulate the nerves to find their proper pathways and heal much quicker. For patients with severe cases of nerve discomfort, the surgeon may recommend medications such as Neurontin. Make sure that you have explicit instructions and a prescription from your doctor before using medication to treat discomfort and a pulling sensation after abdominoplasty.