There is a lot you can do at home to promote an optimal tummy tuck result. The proper aftercare after a tummy tuck consists of eating right, protecting the wound, tummy tuck scar care, avoiding sun and following tummy tuck aftercare instructions from your surgeon.
Diet tips for healing after surgery
A healthy diet is important for recovery. Good nutrition fuels your body so it can heal properly. Drinking plenty of water is a must. Eat fibrous foods can also help. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are excellent choices. Protein is also essential for healing. Meat, fish, nuts and tofu are high-protein foods you can try. Also, if you love pineapple, you’re in luck. Pineapple contains bromelain, which may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Supplements for wound healing
Ideally, you should get most of your vitamins and minerals from whole foods. If you must take supplements, try vitamin A and vitamin C. Zinc also may support the body’s healing ability.
Beware of taking vitamin E supplements after surgery. They can increase bleeding, so it is important to avoid them. Ask your doctor before taking this or any supplement to prevent unwanted and potentially dangerous interactions.
Wearing compression garments after surgery has many benefits. One such benefit is that they reduce swelling after a tummy tuck. It’s normal to have a lot of swelling at first. The swelling will be most obvious in the first few weeks after surgery.
Compression garments help protect the wound and reduce swelling after tummy tuck surgery. Doctor Bernard provides high-quality compression garments to all his tummy tuck patients. Check out the complete tummy tuck compression garment guide for more information.
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We want to avoid infections at all costs. Not only can infections have serious health repercussions, but they can also make tummy tuck scars look worse.
Take antibiotics as prescribed
There are steps you can take at home to reduce infection risks from a tummy tuck. The first is to make sure you take antibiotics as prescribed. Antibiotics are the single most important thing you can do to reduce infection risks. Multiple antibiotics may be prescribed, since some antibiotics kill different strains of bacteria.
If you have trouble remembering to take medication, setting a phone alarm can help remind you to take pills at the correct time.
If you tend to get yeast infections from antiobiotics, you may also discuss fluconazole (Diflucan pill) with your doctor. Probiotics can also help. Be sure to discuss any other medications or supplements with your surgeon to ensure there are no interactions.
Bathing after tummy tuck
Keeping the wound clean with antibacterial bar soap can go a long way to reduce infection. In the first two weeks or so, avoid scrubbing the wound with soap. Loofahs and bath sponges should be avoided. Simply let the soap suds up on the wound, then rinse away. You want to be gentle on the incision. Doctor Bernard provides all his patients with detailed aftercare instructions, so you will know exactly how and when you can shower after tummy tuck surgery.
Not all wound dressings are created equal. As with any plastic surgery, infection is always a risk. The latest wound dressings keep germs at bay better than older wound dressings.
Doctor Bernard uses PICO negative pressure dressings for all his tummy tuck patients. In his medical opinion, these are the highest quality wound dressing on the market today. They have a special layer that traps up to 99.9% of bacteria, according to the manufacturer.
PICO dressings will be applied to the wound before you wake up from surgery. Doctor Bernard’s nurse will remove the wound dressing at around day 10 post op, so there is nothing you have to do other than attend your follow-up appointments.
PICO dressings do much more than keep the wound clean. They also may improve tummy tuck scars, blood circulation and scar healing. Click here to learn more about the benefits of PICO dressings.
Tummy tuck scar treatments
To get a great result, you need a great-looking tummy tuck scar. Choosing a qualified surgeon like Doctor Bernard is the first step. They plan scar placement so that the scar will be hidden by your preferred style of underwear and/or swimwear. The type of sutures, stitching and wound dressings also play a role in how tummy tuck scars look.
Doctor Bernard’s patients are encouraged to speak up about scar placement. You will have a chance to see where the incision will go before surgery. Many patients even bring their preferred style of swimsuit or undergarments on surgery day to ensure the scar is well placed.
Tummy tuck scars fade over time. The scar will start out dark red, brown or even purple, depending on your skin tone. Over time, it will fade to pink or brown. Well-healed, mature scars lose pigment. Ideally, the scar will turn out slightly lighter than your natural skin tone. Tummy tuck scar fading can take about 1 to 2 years. Every patient is different.
Tummy tuck scar care is easy, but you must be diligent. Follow these tips to help surgery scars fade nicely over time.
Scar creams and moisturizers
Tummy tuck scar gel, scar creams and scar moisturizers are one way to promote good-looking scars. First, they keep the skin moisturized. Hydrated skin functions better than dry skin, helping skin repair itself as you heal. The highest quality tummy tuck scar creams have ingredients like centella asiatica to promote scar healing. Fragrance-free vitamin E cream or Vitamin E serum may also be beneficial.
Laser scar treatments after tummy tuck
Laser Genesis is a revolutionary laser that reduces the number of blood vessels at the wound site. Blood vessels cause the scar to have a red appearance. With Laser Genesis, patients can easily reduce scar redness and speed scar healing. It is perfect for making tummy tuck scars blend in with the surrounding skin better. Laser Genesis is painless, non-invasive and can be done on your lunch break with no downtime. Doctor Bernard highly recommends it.
Silicone strips for scars
Silicone strips are a smart choice after tummy tuck surgery. These strips help keep the wound moisturized, which is beneficial for scar healing. Silicone strips also take tension off the wound so the incision stays protected as you move. Dr. Beldholm recommends wearing silicone strips for 8 to 12 hours per day starting 4 weeks after tummy tuck surgery.
Avoid sun exposure on the wound
Avoid sunning for at least one year after tummy tuck surgery, or until the scar has matured fully. Sun exposure makes scars look worse. The damage can be permanent. Even mature scars will be more obvious on tanned skin since mature scars lose pigment and can’t be tanned.
Keep the tummy tuck scar covered when you’re outdoors. If you’re wearing a light-color shirt or thin material, it is possible that some UV rays may get through the fabric. For example, a white t-shirt is said to provide only a 7 SPF rating.
Thicker fabrics and darker materials do a better job of keeping UV rays out. When in doubt, it’s a good idea to apply SPF 50+ sunblock. You can wear swimwear, but a one-piece or high-waist swimsuit is preferred so that your surgical scars stay covered. This is easy when you have well-placed surgical scars.
Tummy tuck exercises
Many patients can resume light exercise around 6 weeks post-op, such as light aerobics. Prior to that, walking is the way to go. Walking has many benefits after tummy tuck surgery. It promotes circulation and reduces the risk of blood clots as you heal. When you are ready to start exercising, we encourage you to read Doctor Bernard’s blog post to learn about exercises after tummy tuck surgery. Be sure to get medical clearance from your surgeon before starting an exercise program.
Follow proper tummy tuck aftercare instructions
As you can see, there is a lot you can do to optimise your tummy tuck results. Following all medical advice and attending follow-up appointments can help you stay on the right track. Doing so allows your surgeon to monitor your results and offer ongoing advice. With the right aftercare, you can protect your investment.