Abdominoplasty is major surgery. “Tummy tuck” sounds like it’s over and done with in a flash and you’re off jogging within a day or two, but this isn’t the case. You’ll be recovering for at least two weeks and you’ll have seriously restricted mobility as your body heals and you gradually get better.
It needn’t be an endurance trial, though, as with a bit of pre-op preparation you can make your recovery period as easy as possible. Josie P, who had a tummy tuck in Manchester recently, passed on this list of tips:
- Deep clean your house before you go into hospital, as you won’t be able to do anything for a week at least. Your friends and family can keep up with the basics. Include all your laundry and bed sheets, too, as well as the rubbish and the recycling.
- Buy in prepared meals, frozen foods and treats, and maybe batch cook some of your favourites and fill your freezer.
- Make a to-do list for your carers and family – pet care, bills and so on. You may need to organise a dog walk rota.
- Buy in all the pain relief you’ll need, as well as any bandages or scar treatments you might want to use.
- Rack up all your entertainment – books, DVDs, games – and make sure they’re in easy reach of your recovery station.
- If you have younger children and you need help with them during the day, ask a friend to move in for a few days. You shouldn’t pick the children up if they weigh more than 15lbs, so you will need help.
- Stack up your pillows or think about buying a recliner bed so your upper body is well-elevated. Have extra blankets handy as some people feel very cold after surgery. Place a nightstand by your bed with bottles of water, snacks, your remote and your phone.
- You should have a sick bucket for the journey home and also for the first couple of days at home – many people react badly to the anaesthetic. Consider bringing chewing gum and a bottle of water home with you just in case you are sick.
- The things you need to use every day should be placed at hip level so you don’t need to bend down or reach up – food, toiletries, phone, books and so on.
- Buy a soft, loose robe and non-slip slippers, as well as oversized shirts that button up at the front, as well as loose pyjama bottoms or jogging pants.
- You won’t be able to wash your hair for a few days, so have a stock of scrunchies or hairbands to keep it out of the way. You’ll also need lip salve, baby wipes and a decent moisturiser. You might also want some tissues as you may feel emotional!
- Set up an answering machine for your landline if you don’t already have one so you’re not disturbed when you’re trying to sleep. Remember, it’s important to rest during this period – just focus on getting better!