After undergoing an abdominoplasty procedure, it is important to prioritise sleep and rest to facilitate the healing process and minimise discomfort. Good sleep hygiene and proper post-operative care can help reduce risks and make recovery that little bit more comfortable.
Additionally, proper sleep positioning, use of support garments, and managing pain and discomfort are all key factors in encouraging (though not guaranteeing) good surgical outcomes. In this blog, we will discuss tips and best practices for sleeping after an abdominoplasty.
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon performing body contouring procedures with clinics in both Sydney and Wollongong, New South Wales. With over 20 years of experience, he has performed numerous abdominoplasty surgeries.
Download Dr Hunt’s Abdominopasty Guide
What Is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty, commonly known as a tummy tuck, is a surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area, and tightening the muscles of the abdominal wall. This can be done for cosmetic reasons or to address certain medical conditions, such as rectus diastasis or abdominal hernias. The procedure may be combined with liposuction. The exact technique used will vary based on the patient’s specific needs and goals.
Guidelines for Sleep After Undergoing Abdominoplasty
Here is a comprehensive guide for helping you get a comfortable sleep after an abdominoplasty procedure. It’s important to understand that each process is unique and individualised, so it’s essential to follow your surgeon’s specific post-operative instructions. Additionally, the tips provided in this structure are intended as a general guide and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. To help you on your road to recovery, it’s important to communicate regularly with your surgeon and follow their advice closely.
Sleep Positions After Abdominoplasty
After an abdominoplasty, it’s important to maintain proper sleep positioning. Generally, a good sleep position after this procedure is on your back, with your upper body slightly elevated, and with a pillow under your knees. This position helps to reduce pressure on the abdominal area, promoting healing and reducing the risk of complications. Sleeping on your back also helps to prevent fluid build-up and reduces swelling, making it easier to breathe comfortably.
It’s important to avoid sleeping on your stomach for several weeks after the procedure. Sleeping on your stomach can place pressure on the incision site, increasing the risk of complications and delaying the healing process. Additionally, sleeping on your stomach can also increase discomfort, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
Benefits of Proper Sleep Positioning after Abdominoplasty
Proper sleep positioning after an abdominoplasty offers several benefits that can contribute to a successful recovery. Some of the key benefits of maintaining proper sleep positioning after this procedure include:
- Reduced swelling: Proper sleep positioning helps to reduce swelling in the abdominal area by promoting circulation and allowing fluid to drain effectively
- Reduced pain: Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees can help to reduce pressure on the incision site, reducing discomfort and minimising pain during the healing process
- Promote healing: By reducing pressure on the incision site, proper sleep positioning can help to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications
- Improved breathing: Sleeping on your back allows for more comfortable breathing and can help to reduce the risk of breathing difficulties, especially for those who snore or suffer from sleep apnoea
- Better sleep quality: By reducing discomfort and promoting healing, proper sleep positioning can help to improve sleep quality, making it easier to get the rest you need to recover effectively
It is important to remember that proper sleep positioning is not the only aspect of recovery and will not, of itself, prevent complications. There are still post-operative risks, and issues may still arise. If you notice any complications, contact us or seek medical attention immediately.
The Use of Support Garments after Abdominoplasty
Post-operative compression garments are a common component of recovery after an abdominoplasty. These garments are worn over the surgical site to provide support, compression, and improve circulation. Here is an explanation of the benefits of post-operative compression garments:
- Less swelling: The compression provided by the garment helps to reduce swelling in the surgical area, promoting circulation and allowing fluid to drain effectively
- Reduced risk of complications: By providing support and reducing pressure on the incision site, post-operative compression garments can help to improve healing and reduce the risk of complications
- More comfort: The compression and support provided by the garment can help to reduce discomfort and improve overall comfort during the recovery period
- Aesthetic benefits: Keeping your compression garment on can help your body settle into its new shape and aid the longevity of your results
Pain Management Options after Abdominoplasty
Pain management after an abdominoplasty is an important aspect of the recovery process. The following are some tips for managing pain after the procedure:
- Medications: Your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help control discomfort and reduce inflammation. It is important to follow the instructions for taking these medications carefully, as well as to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while under their influence
- Ice therapy: Applying ice packs to the treated area can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Wrap ice packs in a towel and apply them for 20-minute intervals, several times per day
- Elevation: Keeping the treated area elevated can help to reduce swelling and discomfort. Prop pillows or a cushion under the affected area when sitting or lying down
- Gentle movement: Gentle movement and stretching can help to reduce pain and promote circulation. Ask your surgeon for recommendations on specific exercises and movements that are appropriate for your recovery process
- Massage: Light massage can help to relieve pain and reduce swelling in the affected area. It is important to avoid massaging the incision site, and to consult your surgeon before starting any massage therapy
- Relaxation techniques: Stress can increase pain and discomfort, so it is important to find ways to relax and manage stress levels. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help
- Follow-up appointments: It is important to attend all follow-up appointments with your surgeon, as they can monitor your progress and provide additional pain management recommendations if needed
Incorporating Healthy Habits for a Quick Recovery after a Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty
Healthy habits mean adopting lifestyle changes that promote proper healing and help maintain the results of the procedure. Some of the key healthy habits that can support a successful recovery after an abdominoplasty include:
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet: Consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can provide the nutrients your body needs to heal and recover
- Staying hydrated: Drinking enough water can help reduce swelling and support the healing process
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Staying at a stable weight can help ensure that the results of your abdominoplasty are long-lasting
- Avoiding nicotine and alcohol: These substances can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of complications after surgery
- Getting enough sleep: Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night can help your body recover more quickly and reduce stress
- Exercising regularly: Light exercise, such as walking or gentle yoga, can help you regain your strength and mobility after surgery
FAQs about Sleeping After Abdominoplasty
Can I sleep on my stomach after an abdominoplasty?
- No, it is generally recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach for several weeks after an abdominoplasty, as this can put pressure on the incision and affect the healing process. Instead, it is recommended to sleep on your back or your side with a pillow to support your incision area.
How soon can I return to my normal sleep position after an abdominoplasty?
- The exact timeline for when you can return to your normal sleep position will depend on your individual healing process and your plastic surgeon’s instructions. However, it is usually recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Can I use pillows to support my incision area after an abdominoplasty?
- Yes, it is recommended to use pillows to support your incision area when sleeping on your back or your side to minimise pressure on the incision and promote proper healing. Your plastic surgeon can provide specific instructions on how to properly support your incision area.
Can I sleep on my stomach after a mini-abdominoplasty?
- The same general principles apply to a mini-abdominoplasty as to a full abdominoplasty, and it is usually recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery. Your plastic surgeon can provide specific instructions based on your individual situation.
Is it normal to experience discomfort when sleeping after an abdominoplasty?
- Yes, it is normal to experience some discomfort when sleeping after an abdominoplasty, especially during the first few days or weeks after surgery. Using pillows to support your incision area and avoiding positions that put pressure on the incision can help reduce discomfort and promote proper healing. If you experience severe discomfort or pain, contact your plastic surgeon for guidance.
Further Reading about Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Surgery
- Read Dr Hunt’s Abdominoplasty Page
- See Dr Hunt’s Real Patience of Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Before and After Images
- Read Recovery after Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Surgery
- Read Exercising After Tummy Tuck/ Abdominoplasty Surgery
Medical References about Sleeping After Abdominoplasty
- Persistent Pain and Sensory Abnormalities after Abdominoplasty – NCBI
- Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) recovery: Timeline and tips – Medical News Today
- Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) – Mayoclinic
About Dr Jeremy Hunt – Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Dr Jeremy Hunt is a specialist plastic surgeon and a member of FRACS & ASPS. He has over 20 years of experience providing plastic surgery in Sydney.
Careful, considerate and honest, Dr Jeremy Hunt works with you to find a solution that is suitable for your body and your lifestyle. Every patient is unique and requires a personalised approach to reach their goals.
Dr Hunt has provided his one-on-one service and attention to detail to thousands of women and men from the Sydney & Wollongong NSW area and across Australia.
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 University of Texas in the United States, where he learnt from well-established and experienced plastic surgeons.
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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.