The recovery experience will vary from one patient to another but, generally speaking, the recovery experience associated with tummy tuck or mommy makeover surgery is often underestimated by patients. In other words, it is a significant operation associated with a significant recovery, both from the physical (and often) emotional standpoints. It is not unusual for some patients to require several months before they regain preoperative strength/stamina/energy levels. What I have observed is that many patients are about 70 to 80% of their energy level at the 4 to 6 weeks post op period and may require 3 to 4 months before they are 100%. Again, it is not unusual for patients to experience significant emotional "ups and downs" as well.
Therefore, I think it is best to prepare for a “recovery” of 4 weeks after tummy tuck surgery. Most patients require at least 2 to 4 weeks off work, depending on their job requirements; I also ask patients to have full-time help for at least one to two weeks after the procedure is performed. Of course, experiences will vary from one patient to another but (again) many patients do not return to full strength and stamina for several months after the procedure is performed. Descriptions of recovery times shorter than this, in my opinion, is over-promising.
I have attached some advice I provide to my patients prior to undergoing mommy makeover surgery:
1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven.
2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation.
3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful.
4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary.
5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers.
6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery.
7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies.
8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change).
9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience.
10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery.
11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through the tougher emotional times after your surgery.
I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.