Nearly Five Weeks Post Full Tummy Tuck Can't Walk More Than100m - Normal?

hi I'm a 32 year old female from Australia recovering from full tummy tuck with a seven cm separation with hernia bulging from the diastasis. Iam nearly five weeks post surgery still on a lot of regular pain relief, find it painful and difficult to stand up straight, today I pushed myself to walk around 100m slowly after which Ithen had to rest. my wound looks good. however Ihave a lot of bloating over my entire abdomen accompanied with significant swelling above wound.

Doctor Answers 5

Tummy Tuck Recovery

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Hi Rabbitcj

A 7cm separation of your abdominal muscles is significant. Closing this will change a lot of things for you. This will increase the amount of abdominal contents that are back where they should be, and this will put pressure on your diaphragm making it harder to breathe. It will also change the balance of your core, so your back muscles will need to lengthen out to accommodate the tightness in the front of your abdomen.

Most Specialist Plastic Surgeons work on the rule of about 6 weeks until restarting exercise and another 2 weeks of seeing how things go before starting to pretend to be 'normal' again. So you are behind the normal recovery curve, but this is probably reasonable considering the size of your hernia / diastasis. Continue walking as much as you can and gradually increase this each day if you are able.

The bloating that you describe can be from several sources - if you are taking stronger pain killers such as Endone or Panadeine Forte, this will slow down your intestines and can lead to frank constipation. Also the lack of movement also slows down your intestine.

The swelling above the wound that you describe really needs your Plastic Surgeon to evaluate you in person. It could be normal , but may be a seroma.

I'm sure your Specialist Plastic Surgeon would be keen to see you and make sure there is nothing sinister going on. Give them a call and make a follow up appointment.

Dr Gavin Sandercoe



Five Weeks Post Full Tummy Tuck Can't Walk More Than100m - Normal?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure.  What you are experiencing is very likely “normal” for patients who have undergone a major surgical procedure. I find that both plastic surgeons and patients underestimate the amount of recovery time necessary with this operation. I tell my patients who are about to undergo this procedure to expect to be back to 100% around 3 months after the procedure is performed. At one month, I find that most patients are back to 60 to 70% of their energy level  and at 2 months they may be back to 80 to 90%.  This operation also may be associated with significant “emotional” ups and downs, which also tend to be discussed infrequently preoperatively.

A few words of advice  we give to our patients preoperatively may be helpful:

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.

 At this point, I would suggest continued/gradual “reconditioning".  Continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to advise you about the swelling you mentioned.

 I hope this helps.

Recuperation from TT with hernia repair

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You have had a major hernia repair and this will slow the convalescence.  There may be other reasons for the difficulty walking at this point, including fluid retention, so you should continued to be followed by your plastic surgeon.

Post operative Tummy Tuck

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You have had a major operation with Tummy tuck and hernia repair and it will take some time to get over it.  I usually say it will be about 6 weeks before you are back doing every thing you where doing before the surgery.  Occasionally it takes longer this and especially if you have had a major hernia repair.  I would encourage you to continue doing some gentle walking and extending yourself a little further everyday.  I would also think it is worth seeing your plastic surgeon and ensuring that all is OK.  Maybe even have some simple blood tests like a full blood count ensuring that your heamogloblin is normal and not too low.  You will be able to stand up straight, it is just a matter of time.

All the best

Stephen Salerno

Stephen Salerno, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Nearly Five Weeks Post Full Tummy Tuck Can't Walk More Than100m - Normal?

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Abdominoplasty combined with hernia repair can involve a lengthy convalescence. If you are having significant pain I recommend that you call your plastic surgeon and schedule an appointment to be examined.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.