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We’re going to be completely honest with you: recovering from a tummy tuck can be frustrating. While visions of a slimmer profile dance in your head, you will be swollen and tender and you may find it difficult stand up straight. But those visions will become a reality if you are patient and take care to ensure that your recovery goes smoothly. When you choose a tummy tuck at the Whole Beauty Institute, we will be here to guide you every step of the way. With our tummy tuck recovery guide, you can learn more about what to expect from your abdominoplasty recovery and how you can prepare to keep yourself healthy and comfortable as you heal.

Take at least 2 weeks off from work and daily responsibilities, even more, if you can

In the first week after your surgery, you will need to devote your energy to your own recovery, not to work or family responsibilities. Dr. Cook encourages you to get up and walk short distances, even the first night after surgery. Even though we encourage mobility, you will not be able to do many of your daily activities that involve bending and lifting heavier objects. You should plan on having a trusted friend, family member or other loved one to help you around the house with everything from grocery shopping to showering. Additionally, you will likely be taking prescription pain medications for the first three or four days, so you will not be able to drive and you should avoid possibly dangerous activities like cooking or housework.

Results of Abdominoplasty by John Q. Cook, M.D.

Your second week will be easier — you will be able to manage your pain with over-the-counter medications, so you will be able to run light errands and be more independent. However, the more time away from day-to-day responsibilities you can give yourself, the better. If you overextend at this critical time in your recovery, you run the risk of interfering with your final results by disrupting your body’s healing processes. You should continue to avoid heavy activity and have someone to help with errands and chores. At the three-week mark, you should be able to return to a more normal schedule.

Follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully.

Your surgeon will run through her recommended post-op procedures with you, including pain management, care of your surgical incisions, follow-up appointments and timelines. These instructions are usually very particular to your surgeon and the way they perform tummy tucks, so you should always refer to them before you seek recovery advice elsewhere. At the Whole Beauty Institute, tummy tuck procedures are customized to fit your needs and account for any health concerns. This means your post-op instructions are tailored to you as well, and Dr. Cook and his team will inform you specific things you should watch out for and ways you can prevent complications.

Your surgeon also forms his own set of post-op suggestions that come from years of training and personal experience. Your plastic surgeon’s advice is based on how they have seen their own tummy tuck patients recover in the past. Your surgeon puts hard work and dedication into your surgery and wants you to be satisfied with your results — even if you think some of their recommendations are unnecessary, remember that they are invested in keeping your long-term benefits in mind. If you have questions or concerns about any of their instructions, you should feel free to ask them for clarification.

Prepare your home leading up to your surgery.

Since you will have difficulty running errands immediately following your surgery, you should make sure you stock up on everything you need for at least the first week of recovery. Extra Tylenol, laxative medications to aid with post-op constipation, nutritious foods and clean bandaging should be readily available at all times while you heal. You should also make sure that any necessary items are within arm’s reach, literally — since your mobility will be limited, you won’t be able to dig around in cabinets or stretch to high shelves as you begin your recovery.

Preparation can also include items like meal planning, scheduling child or pet care, arranging transportation to your first follow-up appointment and filling any necessary prescriptions. Think about your daily routine: Are there responsibilities you have that require heavy lifting or a full range of motion? How frequently do you need to drive or walk? Are you responsible for managing others’ schedules or activities? Familiarize yourself with typical limitations after a tummy tuck, and try to account for anything you will not be able to do. Remember, though, that you can’t possibly think ahead for every scenario — mentally preparing yourself for the unexpected will go a long way towards keeping you calm and comfortable, too.

Communicate with your surgeon.

Your surgeon and support team are there to guide you at every stage of your surgery and recovery. From your consultation to your last follow-up appointment and beyond, your safety, health and satisfaction are their top priority. If at any point you feel as though something is wrong, call your surgeon’s office immediately — they can either soothe your worries or help you get the care you need. Your follow-up appointments are also key opportunities for you to talk to your surgeon about any concerns you may have, no matter how small. Whether you want to find more comfortable compression garments, ask about dietary restrictions or are worried that your swelling is not receding, your surgeon is your first point of contact.

Tummy Tuck and Breast Surgery results from John Q. Cook, M.D.

Clear and open communication is also the mark of an experienced surgeon. You should feel comfortable talking to your surgeon candidly and they should be able to explain their procedure and recovery recommendations clearly and patiently. If you do not feel as though your surgeon is listening and responding to your concerns during your initial consultation, you may want to seek treatment elsewhere. At the Whole Beauty Institute, we put serious thought and consideration into our preoperative meetings and education. Our surgical team works hard to make sure that you are fully informed and that we are always available and ready to answer your questions.

The Whole Beauty Institute is proud to be a premier provider of abdominoplasties and other cosmetic surgeries in the greater Chicago area. Our leading surgeon, Dr. John Q. Cook, has deep knowledge in his field and has dedicated his career to providing plastic surgeries to patients who are seeking a high-quality, full-service experience. We care for our patients from start to finish and beyond, ensuring that we are available as a resource whenever they need us. Recovering from a tummy tuck is not an elegant process, but we know that it does not need to be a confusing or uncomfortable one. If you are interested in learning more about our tummy tuck services, call the Whole Beauty Institute today at 312-751-2112 to schedule a consultation.