How to Reduce Bruising and Swelling after an Abdominoplasty
Tummy tuck surgery is a good option to transform your mid-section and feel more confident after weight loss or pregnancy. But like all other surgical interventions, a tummy tuck entails a recovery period that could be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of each case. The most common side effects that you can experience during recovery are swelling and bruising. Let’s find out how you can reduce the swelling and bruising after tummy tuck to have a better recovery.
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with cosmetic clinics in Sydney and Wollongong NSW. He is a plastic surgery expert and has performed hundreds of tummy tuck procedures in over 20 years of practice. Dr Maryam Seyedabadi has recently joined the practice of Dr Jeremy Hunt in Edgecliff and is available now for consultations on a range of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery for women by women.
What Is a Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)?
A Tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure that can help give you a flatter and toned abdomen. The procedure removes excess skin and fat while tightening weak or split abdominal muscles. It is a perfect procedure for those who have recently lost a substantial amount of weight or women who had one or multiple pregnancies.
Swelling and Bruising Post Tummy Tuck
After a tummy tuck, your body’s healing response will kick in. As a part of the process, your body will send an influx of fluid and white blood cells to the injury site which usually leads to swelling and bruising. Don’t worry as it is a natural part of the healing process but it may prevent you from showing off your new and improved silhouette. With the right steps, you can minimise these effects to see the final results of your procedure sooner.
Tips for Reducing Swelling and Bruising Post Tummy Tuck
Swelling and bruising are inevitable parts of the healing process. Follow these steps to help your body heal quickly and effectively, and avoid any adverse side effects or complications.
1. Take the Time to Rest
Post tummy tuck surgery, you need time to heal and recover. Stay clear of strenuous activities including cardiovascular exercise, weight training, or lifting anything heavy around the house. It is important to make it a priority to get enough sleep every night and take naps throughout the day. Allow your body to rest as it will help the healing process.
2. Follow a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet plays a very important role in maintaining your immunity. It is very important to fuel your body with nourishing foods. Choose foods that are rich in protein as it helps with the tissue repairing process post-surgery. Eat foods that are high in Vitamin C and A. Include plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and limit your intake of processed foods. Make sure your fibre intake is optimal to maintain digestion and avoid constipation. Stay clear of foods that cause gastrointestinal distress or discomfort. Limit foods that are high in fat, sugar, and dairy products as they can cause more swelling and inflammation.
3. Minimise Your Sodium Intake
Excessive salt can lead to swelling and bloating. It might lead to increased discomfort. The recommendation is to choose foods that are low in sodium and adjust the amount of salt in your meals. Consume plenty of fruit and vegetables as they will balance out the salt in your body.
4. Drink Lots of Water & Fluids
Keeping your body well-hydrated encourages healing. Drink enough water to heal throughout the day. Stay clear of alcohol and caffeinated beverages as they can dehydrate your body. Keep a water bottle near your bedside and drink tiny sips throughout the day. You can add lemon wedges and strawberries to your water as it can make the water taste better.
5. Choose Gentle Activity
Strenuous activities interfere with the natural healing response of the body. However, it is important to move lightly around the house. A bit of gentle exercise will stimulate blood flow and improve circulation throughout the body. Try walking for a few minutes around your house. Avoid anything that can put a strain on your incisions.
6. Wear your Compression Garment
A compression garment will help minimise the swelling around the midsection. It will help limit the amount of fluid that accumulates in the body. Your surgeon will decide on the timeline. Initially, you will have to wear it 24/7 for a few weeks. After some time, you can take it off while sleeping. This one step alone is crucial in helping your recovery journey and getting better results.
7. Take All the Prescribed Medication Regularly
After your tummy tuck surgery, your surgeon will recommend or prescribe the medication to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Do miss your scheduled medications if you want a comfortable recovery. Stay clear of any blood-thinning medications, herbal supplements, and any medication that your surgeon hasn’t prescribed as it increases the risk of bruising. Follow your surgeon’s instructions or get in touch with the clinic if you have any concerns regarding the meds.
8. Maintain Your Drainage Tubes
Drainage tubes are medical devices that prevent your body from accumulating fluids. Your surgeon may recommend you keep these tubes for at least a couple of days post-surgery. Make sure to empty out the drainage tubes as per the instructions given to you.
9. Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
Smoking and drinking alcohol are to be avoided after undergoing plastic surgery. They not only hinder the healing process but can lead to severe complications. Make sure to avoid smoking for at least 6 to 8 weeks or as per your surgeon’s recommendations.
10. Attend your Follow-up Appointments
After the tummy tuck, you will have a schedule of follow-up appointments. It ensures that your body is healing at the right pace and you are not dealing with any adverse side effects. Make sure to attend the follow-up consultations as this enables your surgeon to detect any problems and take necessary steps to avoid complications.
11. Ice can help with Bruising
Make sure to apply a wrapped ice pack to the bruises. The ice will contract the blood vessels which can help stop internal bleeding and minimise the look and size of bruising. You can continue to use a cold compress for the first two to three days post-surgery. Be careful to avoid an ice burn.
12. Vitamin K can help
Incorporate foods that contain high volumes of vitamin K. Vitamin K makes your blood slightly thicker which can helps to minimise bruising. Nearly all the leafy greens are rich in vitamin K; especially kale and spinach.
FAQS about Swelling and Bruising after a Tummy Tuck
Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding tummy tuck:
Is bruising normal after a tummy tuck?
- Yes, it is normal to have some bruising on the treated areas post tummy tuck. However, there are plenty of steps you can take to minimise bruising and prevent it from worsening.
How tight should a compression garment be after a tummy tuck?
- Your compression garment should be tight enough that you feel held without being overly restrictive. If you are feeling extreme discomfort while walking, squatting, and sitting, then it’s too tight. You can always ask your surgeon to recommend you a more suitable size garment.
What happens 2 weeks after a tummy tuck?
- Two weeks after the tummy tuck, you will still be quite swollen. However, the discomfort, swelling, tightness and bruising will start to subside.
What is a hematoma after a tummy tuck?
- A Hematomais a potential complication post tummy tuck. You can identify a Hematoma by discolouration along with the incision site that resembles bruising. Other symptoms include severe swelling. If you follow all the post-care instructions rigorously, you will minimise the risk of hematoma greatly.
How long does it take for swelling to go down after abdominoplasty?
- The most noticeable swelling will subside within two to three months’ time frame. Mild swelling can linger for much longer and can last for 6 to 8 months.
Why is my stomach hard after a tummy tuck?
- You might have a tight feeling in the tummy because your skin has literally been cut and stitched back together. Muscle tightening can lead to a hardened sensation during recovery. That is why you experience hardening of the stomach after a tummy tuck.
What helps reduce swelling after a tummy tuck?
- Sticking to all the pre and post-surgical instructions post the tummy tuck helps with the swelling and discomfort. Here are a few general tips that can help you: do not smoke or drink, stay clear of blood-thinning medications, wear a compression garment, walk around the house, consume a healthy diet that is low in sodium, and don’t forget to take your medications and go for follow up appointments.
When should I call the doctor after a tummy tuck?
- Immediately contact your GP, Hospital or surgeon if you experience unreasonable pain, a fever, bleeding, infection, or trouble breathing.
How to deal with skin discolouration after a tummy tuck?
- You can discuss your scar reduction options with the surgeon. Make sure to follow all the pre and post-care instructions given by your surgeon. Once you are healed, you can start applying topical vitamin E and wear sunscreen on a regular basis. You can also consider scar minimisation treatments like skin needlin or laser skin resurfacing.
Further Reading about Tummy Tuck
- Read Dr Hunt’s Tummy Tuck Surgery page
- Read Dr Hunt’s Patient Case Study of Tummy Tuck
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Tummy Tuck Patients Before and After Photos
Medical References about Swelling & Bruising after Tummy tuck
- What to Know About Recovery from a Tummy Tuck
- Tummy tuck recovery: Timeline and tips
- Managing Complications in Abdominoplasty: A Literature Review
- Adding Liposuction Helps Prevent Common Complication after Tummy Tuck
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon Sydney
Dr Jeremy Hunt is one of Australia’s leading specialist plastic surgeons for breast, body, face and nose surgery. He is a member of FRACS & ASPS and has over 20 years of experience providing expert cosmetic and plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is best for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and, through his expert guidance, can achieve the best possible results.
Dr Hunt’s personal, one-on-one service and attention to detail has given thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia the confidence and body shape they desire.
Dr Hunt’s qualifications and education
Dr Jeremy A Hunt MBBS FRACS graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine degree from Sydney University in 1990 and is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and member of ASPS – the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. He completed a Fellowship at the prestigious University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from some of the world’s very best plastic surgeons.
Next Step – Make an Enquiry or Request a consultation with Dr Hunt
Want more information before scheduling your consultation?
- Find out more about pricing, medical payment plans and paying for your surgery
- Request more information about the procedure – call on 1300 157 200 or contact us
If breast reduction is something you’re considering, Dr Hunt can thoroughly explain all the options to you in a one-on-one consultation.
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Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health professional.