Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a major operation and has some downtime period where you will need to recuperate and administer proper care to your body for it to heal properly. Downtime is estimated to be for one week, although heavy lifting and more vigorous activities should be done after a minimum of six weeks. During this period, you should expect swelling to occur; the good news is that there are some ways that you could significantly reduce this.
- Do some light exercises. During your period of recuperation, you should avoid sitting or lying down all day as this could lead to more noticeable swelling, or even to blood clotting. However, it’s very important that you keep your exercises light during this time, because too much and too vigorous could lead to potentially hazardous results. Some examples of activities you could do include doing some walking around the block, and some simple stretching exercises (but not ones that will require you to bend over or to lift your arms over your head). Consult your doctor for his recommendations on the best exercises for you during this time.
- Reduce your sodium intake. First of all, you should avoid all types of food that have too much sodium (salt). That’s because salt causes water retention, which in turn leads to swelling. Look at the labels in food packaging to know how much sodium they contain. Watch out for the names that sodium goes by: monosodium glutamate, trisodium phosphate, sodium alginate and sodium benzoate are just some of the few. Opt for reduced-sodium varieties of your favorite food, such as going for unflavored cereal instead of the richly-flavored ones.
- Make it a point to reduce the amount of flavoring you add to your dishes. As much as possible, don’t add seasonings to your food – try to learn to appreciate the more subtle and natural flavorings of your dishes. If you really want to add some more flavor, it’s best that you add natural flavorings such as herbs instead.
- Drink lots of water. In fact, you should do this all the time, whether you had a tummy tuck or not. As the body is made up of more than 70% water, taking in more water will help replenish our systems and flush out the toxins. On average, we need about 8 to 12 glasses of water daily. You should also eat lots of water-rich fruits, such as watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries. Avoid drinking diuretics such caffeine and carbonated beverages.
- Have some massage. Remember that you should have your doctor’s approval before you get a massage after your tummy tuck. If you do get your doctor’s go-signal, know that massages such as tissue massage and lymphatic massage can significantly help in the reduction of swelling. That’s because these massages help improve your blood circulation and decrease the chances of liquid pooling towards specific areas of your body. Do instruct the masseuse that you have just had a tummy tuck; she should never place direct pressure on your abdomens, and should be very careful not to get her hands, or any lotions or oils even near your incision. Oils such as almonds, shea nut or koala nut should also be avoided.
Remember, you should really take the effort to take great care of your body right after your tummy tuck, since it’s particularly sensitive during this healing period. Consult with your doctor about the proper activities you should take in order to facilitate this healing process. Good luck!