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Summary: Your plastic surgeon is going to prepare you for a lot of things when you’re getting ready for your tummy tuck procedure. You’ll go over which medications to take when and how your scars will heal. But they might not give you the down and dirty details of what it’s really like to have a tummy tuck. Giggling is painful, healing is going to take longer than you think and measuring yourself is going to be a terrible idea.

There are lots of little things to consider when you’re getting ready for tummy tuck recovery, from preparation before your surgery to having a friend to help you out after. These seven simple truths of tummy tuck recovery can help make everything that happens after feel more predictable and more manageable.

Take It Easy Before Your Tummy Tuck

It’s easy to focus on everything that happens after your tummy tuck procedure. There’s the recovery and the results and, while that should all be on your radar, don’t neglect to prepare yourself before surgery by taking it easy. Relax before your procedure and be smart about the things you put into your body. Eating a light, healthy meal is going to serve you far better than indulging in a rich, heavy Last Supper of sorts before your tummy tuck.

Prepare for Your Recovery Beforehand

The days leading up to your procedure are also the right time to start preparing for your recovery period. This is when you have the opportunity to get your prescriptions filled, make arrangements for the kids to get where they need to go, load up your Netflix queue with movies to watch and prepare a few quick freezer meals to pop in the oven instead of having to cook or rely on pizza every night. Take this chance to get your ducks in a row and your recovery will go even smoother.

Healing Takes Longer Than You Think

Just because your tummy tuck recovery is going to be smooth doesn’t mean it’s going to be swift. A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure and with that comes a reasonable recovery time. Don’t expect to be up and running two weeks after your surgery. Swelling is common in the surgical area for roughly 6 weeks after surgery, and the area can remain swollen for up to 3 months in some cases. You may be eager to get back to your routine, but leave yourself enough time to heal properly.

You’re Going to Feel Some Pain

You also might experience more pain than you anticipate, especially when doing things that, before surgery, felt completely natural. Sneezing, crying, deep breaths, trips to the bathroom and any quick movements can all cause real pain – not just the discomfort your surgeon prepared you for. And those movies queued up in Netflix for your recovery? Make sure none of them are gut-busting comedies because laughing isn’t going to feel good for a while.

One of the things that you may find hurts the most for a while is using the bathroom. After surgery, you might find yourself struggling with uncomfortable post-op constipation. A laxative can help you get through that, and while laxatives aren’t exactly fun either, remember that any discomfort is temporary.

Clothes Might Fit Differently

One of the strangest things to get used to right after surgery might be the way your clothes fit your newly-shaped body. Your tummy should be flatter, smoother and smaller once you’re fully recovered, but in the days and weeks directly after your procedure, skinny jeans are out of the picture. Take it easy in comfortable, loose-fitting pants before you go reaching for your slim and slinky ones. You’ll get there, but not right away.

Let People Help You

This one is hard for a lot of people to accept. You’re going to need help after your procedure. It’s best to be accepting and grateful for those around you who want to make your life easier while you heal. You don’t need to be Wonder Woman. You have friends and loved ones who want to help you and, while your body is healing, you should let them.

Let your husband handle dinner. Let your mom watch the kids for the weekend. Say “yes” when your best friend asks you if she can pick anything up from the grocery store for you. You always hear that it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said for recovering from a tummy tuck.

Don’t Measure Yourself Right Away

Measuring and weighing yourself after your tummy tuck procedure is a huge temptation, but you have to fight it! You logically know that healing takes time and your midsection is going to be swollen for a while after your surgery, but if you give in a weight or measure yourself, you might find yourself discouraged with your progress or lack thereof. You’ll see swelling. You’re going to retain fluids.

Turn around, and walk away from the scale for now. Your plastic surgeon can give you tips on how to minimize post-tummy tuck swelling, and fluid retention will also pass. By about 6 months after surgery, you’ll have a much better idea of how your final results should look.

Be patient for your results and, for your own sanity, stay off the scale and away from the measuring tape.

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