Tummy Tuck Post-Operation: Do’s and Don’ts

Many of my patients worry about doing too much following a tummy tuck and “hurting” the operation. This is harder to do than you think. Of course, life is a balance. I don’t want you over doing and washing your floors the day after surgery. It is important, however, to be up and walking. This will actually help with the discomfort and you will bounce back much quicker. It also helps prevent your muscles from getting stiff and tight. You need to be up walking and then resting.

You absolutely can walk up and downstairs immediately after surgery. (Once again use common sense. If you need someone to help you on the stairs then do so, but almost everyone can do the stairs, as soon as the anesthesia effect has worn off).

Eat all of your meals at the table and NOT in bed. Eating meals in bed psychologically makes you think you are sick and discourages movement.

When you walk, walk with the spine straight. It is totally erroneous that you will come apart if you walk straight. I know some people have been told that by other surgeons, but this is nonsense. You will just get a sore back!

I let all of my patients take a shower after surgery. You don’t need to cover the incisions with anything. Use whatever soap you want (no taking baths until I tell you that you can). Of course, remove any gauze on your incision but leave the steristrips.

After a few days, as soon as you are starting to feel better, get someone to take you out for a drive or go for a walk outside of the house. This will help you bounce back. Remember, you are not sick, you are just recovering from surgery.

Allow yourself to take naps and to rest up. You will recover quicker this way.


What do I have to clean?

There is no point in cleaning the steris. The only sutures without steris covering them (unless the steris fall off prematurely which is fine) are around your umbilicus (and in the rare case where I place a drain). Clean around and inside your umbilicus with dilute hydrogen peroxide and a thin coat of antibiotic ointment, twice per day.


What if there is a bit of bleeding or drainage from part of the incision after surgery?

It is normal to have some drainage after surgery, especially the first day and night, especially if you have had liposuction at the same time. It is also common to have some light oozing or bleeding from the incision or from the umbilicus, especially the first day or first night. Just put some extra gauze and hold pressure for ten minutes. If you are concerned, send me a text. It will stop and is rarely anything to be concerned about.


When can I have sex?

When you feel up to it. Again, use common sense and be cautious.


What should I do if I am concerned about something?

If it is during office hours, please call my office at 703-406-2444. If it is after hours or on the weekend, I give all of my post op patients my personal cell phone. Do not hesitate to text me with your questions. You are never bothering me – and it is easier for me to reply to a text than a phone call.