Summary: During your recovery, there are definitely going to be activities to avoid if you’ve had a tummy tuck. Your surgeon will, of course, give you the most comprehensive directions possible, individualized to your own situation. But tummy tuck recovery can be especially challenging, and it’s good to know what you’re in for.
A Few Activities to Avoid if You’ve Had a Tummy Tuck
So, you’ve just got done with your tummy tuck. You’re at home, you’re recovering, you’re waiting for your results to become apparent. And as a result, there are some things you just shouldn’t do. In fact, there’s a long list of activities to avoid if you’ve had a tummy tuck.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be bedridden for weeks or anything. But a tummy tuck is a serious plastic surgery procedure, and you will need to give your body some time to properly recover.
Each and every individual patient will be provided with individualized recovery instructions from their surgeons. Everyone heals differently. And everybody’s procedure is likely to be just slightly different. That’s why it’s important to get information directly from your surgeon about how to recover.
We’re offering these activities to avoid if you’ve had a tummy tuck as a kind of informal caution sticker, so you know what you’re getting into before your procedure!
Avoid Exercise, but Not Moving
One of the first things that surgeons will tell you when you’re getting a tummy tuck is that it’s going to hurt. They’ll probably phrase it a little better, though. Indeed, a tummy tuck can be one of the more uncomfortable plastic surgery procedures out there, and recovery tends to exist on a longer scale.
So the first activity you should avoid is pretty simple: heavy exercise. Now, you’re likely not going to be in the mood or feeling up to hitting the gym in the first few weeks anyway. But even when you start feeling better, you should always check with your surgeon before you increase your exercise regimen.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be moving at all. Indeed, even in the days directly after your procedures, many surgeons will advise you to move around your house—even if it’s just from the bedroom to the refrigerator. Moving helps promote healing. That said, you should always follow your surgeon’s personalized instructions.
Avoid the Pool (and the Beach)
If you’re getting your tummy tuck in a warm climate (or if you’re getting a tummy tuck in someplace like Milwaukee, during the warm months), you might be tempted to turn your recovery time into beach time!
That’s a bad idea.
In fact, not only should you avoid the beach, you should avoid the pool, too. There are two basic reasons as to why. First and foremost, any scar tissue you have will be pretty fresh. The sun and the heat can combine to interfere with the ways in which your body should be healing. (Indeed, both sun and heat put pressure on your body in pretty unique ways.)
In fact, you should really be avoiding water in several different ways. And that means you should avoid showering as well. You’re going to be stinky for a few days, and that’s okay.
You’ll probably be tempted to shower or bath, but it’s important that you avoid both of these activities until you’ve been given the all-clear by your surgeon. Usually after a few days you’ll be allowed to give yourself a sponge bath or clean yourself with a wash cloth (but you should avoid any bending or stretching while you do this).
This might seem kind of cruel, but there are several reasons for it:
- Water can break down the bandages you’re wearing
- When it’s not allowed to dry immediately, water can cause the risk of infection to rise
- Absorption of water into your skin can cause the volume of the skin to change (think about how your fingers get wrinkled from sitting in the tub)
- Bandage hygiene and incision care are of paramount importance, especially during the first stages of recovery
Always Follow Your Surgeon’s Instructions
Every surgery is going to be a little bit different because every human being is unique. That’s why it’s always important—no matter what this article or any other article actually says—that you follow the instructions of your surgeons.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, complications do happen after surgery. Sometimes those complications can be avoided by excellent recovery hygiene, but sometimes not. (And in the event that complications do come up, you’ll want to contact your surgeon immediately.)
Any recovery regimen is designed to do two things simultaneously: Promote healing and protect your results. You might be annoyed (or uncomfortable) following some of your prescribed recovery steps.
There are definitely quite a few activities to avoid if you’ve had a tummy tuck. Your surgeon is the best person to tell you what they all are!