Most patients after the Tummy Tuck operation do have a lot of dressings on. We put compression garments, or an abdominal binder over the area of the Tummy Tuck, and the idea is really to give a little bit more support and push things into place so that they can heal well together.
During the operation, doctors use drains, and with those little tubes that come out of the skin, patients get rid of all extra fluid that the body sometimes accumulates in those areas. Drains will usually stay for about two weeks or so; it depends on the patient. Most of the bruising and swelling are gone by about two weeks, so the majority of patients who work at a desk job can go back to work right around the two-week mark. Some go back earlier, and some come back later, but that’s a pretty good time frame to keep in mind.
The six-week mark is often the best point for patients to come back to any sort of physical activity or going back to the gym, because that’s when most people are feeling better with less soreness or discomfort in their muscles.
The best candidates are patients who have lost a lot of weight and are relatively fit, take pretty good care of themselves, and have extra skin in the area below the belly button.
Generally, these are patients who have gone through to prior pregnancy and have finished having kids. As they have lost the post-pregnancy weight, some of their skin has come back, but there is a small portion underneath the belly button that really won’t go away.
There is also another kind of candidate, who are ex-overweight patients that have lost a lot of weight either through a gastric bypass or just through diet and exercise alone.
We would say in both, these populations of patients have sort of oftentimes extra skin hanging underneath the belly button.
There are some popular misconceptions about tummy tucks. Some people often feel that the tummy tuck is really done to get rid of extra weight and fat in the abdominal area, and that’s actually not really what it’s for. It’s more a skin operation rather than a fat operation.