Previously on this blog we've talked about when it's possible to exercise post-breast augmentation. Here we will talk about abdominoplasty and why it's important to take the time for healing after your tummy tuck in order to achieve your best result.
First, what is abdominoplasty? Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, "removes excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restores weakened or separated muscles creating an abdominal profile that is smoother and firmer."
Abdominal muscles are incredibly important to general body movement. You can't sit up or lay down without flexing your abdominals, let alone run, jump, or lunge. Because of this, the recovery period after abdominoplasty is longer than the recovery periods for liposuction or breast augmentation. The muscles you use to do nearly everything need to heal and repair themselves before they are exerted again.
As with any surgery, it's crucial that you follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions. Right after surgery, our patients are most concerned about managing pain, any after effects of anesthesia, changing their bandages, and avoiding scarring. But within a relatively short amount of time, they feel good enough to wonder, "When am I going to be back to me old - or rather, new and improved - self?"
Not so fast! That's what you need to tell yourself. If you try to rush things, you are risking your chances for more pain, greater scarring, and slower healing. You've come this far. Be respectful of the investment you've made in yourself and take it easy. Get your rest in. Sleep is vital to healing. For the first 6-8 weeks after your surgery you will also be wearing a compression garment 24 hours a day in order to limit swelling and guide skin retraction. This will impede regular movements somewhat.
The first "exercises" you will have to master include getting yourself in a sitting position and then standing. You will need the help of a caregiver in the beginning. When you have mastered that, the next challenge will be walking around the room. For the first four weeks following surgery, healing and mastering movement will be your main goals.
Around four weeks after surgery, but be sure to check with Dr. Bancroft first, you will be able to do light cardio exercise, including faster walking, cycling, and using the elliptical. Start slowly and do not press yourself too much. Over the next four weeks you can lengthen your walks or workouts. When moderate cardio exercise is doable, the doctor will allow you to add some resistance training and then, eventually, core work. Keep in mind that it may be 12 weeks before you'll be able to do sit-ups, crunches or twisting movements. Full body workouts are possible after abdominoplasty, but not until your body is entirely healed, so these time frames are just rough guidelines. As such, Dr. Bancroft will tailor your your restrictions for your body and healing.
A tummy tuck is a transformative surgery, often the last step to getting your body back after pregnancy and weight loss, so you will be impatient to see that happen. You'll want to show off your new stomach and profile. Your results will be better in every way, however, if you are patient, follow your post-operative instructions, and incorporate exercise into your life slowly and carefully.