Top 5 Abdominoplasty Q&A
Mar 20, 2015 11:08AM
By Michael Thornton
Q: How soon should I expect to visibly see results?Immediately following surgery, you will see an obvious improvement in the appearance of your skin quality and muscular tone. Your incision will have brown paper tape (Micropore tape) to cover the fresh incision and you will have at least two drains. However, you should expect to see functional and visible results in about 2 – 3 months. I have seen excellent aesthetic results sooner and later but that is a good average.
Q: When should I start wearing the compression garment? How long do I wear after surgery?Following your tummy tuck, I will provide you with a white abdominal binder with velcro and you will wear this garment for the first week. As soon as I remove your drains and determine your skin is healthy, I will allow you to start wearing a compression garment. You will typically wear this garment for 2 – 3 months (refer to Question #1) but some patients may choose to wear a compression garment for longer.
Q: When can I drive?This is an individual decision and every patient is different. However, you may safely begin driving a car when you are no longer taking narcotic pain medication or muscle relaxant medication AND when you can comfortable enter and exit your automobile.
Q: How long will my swelling last?Swelling may last up to 3 – 4 months and your final result may not be evident until a full 6 months. Swelling is very individualized and is different between patients. Some patients may only have noticeable swelling for 4 -6 weeks. Unfortunately, I can not predetermine the level of swelling you will have. However, I have seen swelling persist longer if I perform liposuction at the same time. This is because there is more surgical exposure and trauma. I have also noticed that stretch marks will remain swollen but will eventually subside with time. Wearing snug body garments following surgery will aid in reducing your swelling and I encourage you to wear these garments for 2 – 3 months until the venous supply and lymphatic drainage return to normal in your lower abdomen.
Q: When will the drains be removed?Your drains will be removed within the first 4 – 5 days following surgery. Sometimes I will stagger the drain removal by removing one side first then remove the other side after a few more days…but it is important to remember the drains will only be removed when the output is minimal. It is understandable the drains are inconvenient and may tug on your skin, but they play an important role to lessen the chance of fluid accumulation following your abdominoplasty (especially if I perform liposuction). Some cosmetic plastic surgeons may not place drains but the majority of us do.
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About the Author
Dr. Michael L. Thornton is a fellowship-trained, dual board certified Cosmetic Surgeon and Diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and was specifically trained in both traditional and modern techniques in facial cosmetic surgery and face lift surgery during his 12-month advanced cosmetic surgery fellowship. Dr. Thornton attends yearly national cosmetic surgery meetings and participates in advanced courses to offer you the latest techniques in facial cosmetic surgery.