Tummy Tuck Pain Management

Following Post-Operative Instructions to Reduce Pain After a Tummy Tuck

woman in hospital bed
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Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that flattens the abdomen by removing excess fat and skin. It also restores and tightens underlying muscle that may have separated.

After an abdominoplasty, temporary tubes to drain excess fluid from the surgical site will be inserted under the skin. They will be removed during the first week of recovery.

The patient will wear a compression garment during the recovery period which can last from two weeks to two months. Patients should carry out simple day-to-day tasks by getting up and walking around their home. This reduces the risk of developing harmful blood clots. They should not put a strain on their incisions by engaging in strenuous activity or lifting heavy objects for at least six weeks.

Surgical dressings or bandages will be applied to the incision area and the patient will be wrapped in a compression garment. The compression garment will reduce swelling and support the abdomen, promoting proper healing.

The patient will be given post-operative instructions that include advice on the care of the surgical site and drains. They will either be given medication or a prescription for medication they need to apply to the surgical site, or take orally that aids in healing and reduces the risk of infection.

They should expect to visit the surgeon the day after surgery so their condition can be fully assessed. After the first follow-up appointment, the surgeon will schedule additional visits depending upon the patient’s extent of treatment.

Side Effects of a Tummy Tuck

Nausea after a tummy tuck is more significant than pain after a tummy tuck.

The patient may be prescribed anti-nausea medication and patches as well as long-acting narcotic pain medication. Pain pumps for those patients with a low threshold for pain may be prescribed, reducing the need for prescription narcotic pain medication and anti-nausea medication.

Patients should avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or Aleve. The over-the-counter medications the patient will be able to take will be included in the post-operative list of instructions.

There will also be a list of specific concerns that the patient will need to monitor with regard to the surgical site or their overall health.

To enhance the healing process, patients should avoid the use of tobacco. Nicotine severely compromises the body’s ability to heal. It causes blood vessels to narrow, making the delivery of oxygen to the skin cells at the incision site more difficult, delaying the healing process. With a compromised healing ability, the body is prone to infection.