How to Reduce Bruising & Swelling after Tummy Tuck

Minimising Swelling and Bruising after an Abdominoplasty

While you can get rid of excess fat with diet and exercise, you cannot eliminate excess skin. An abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that can help remove excess skin and fat along the abdominal area. This surgery is ideal for patients with excess abdominal skin due to one or multiple pregnancies or significant weight loss.

Like any surgical procedure, an abdominoplasty comes with a certain degree of risks and complications. In addition, you will likely experience discomfort as you recover from the procedure. Bruising and swelling after abdominoplasty are one of the most common side effects of the surgery.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss some tips that can help minimise bruising and swelling after an abdominoplasty. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the abdominoplasty recovery, call your surgeon.

URGENT UPDATE – The Australian Government has reinstated a Medicare Item Number for an abdominoplasty for some post-pregnancy patients with Diastasis Recti (Split Tummy Muscles) if you are eligible and meet the new criteria. This new Medicare item number -30175 – will be effective 1st July 2022. Read the 30175 factsheet.

Dr Scott Turner is a specialist plastic surgeon in Newcastle & Sydney NSW who performs abdominoplasty.

How to Reduce Bruising and Swelling After Abdominoplasty Surgery

Bruising and swelling after abdominoplasty can take some time to subside. Here are a few steps to help minimise swelling and bruising:

1. Rest as Much as Possible

After abdominoplasty, it is crucial to rest adequately. It gives your body the due time to heal and recover. It means avoiding strenuous activities of all sorts such as intense cardiovascular exercises and weight training. You have to take a few weeks off from work. It is crucial to sleep at least eight hours per night. Adequate rest will keep your immune system strong and favour quick healing.

2. Stick to a Healthy Diet

Your immune system needs a little assistance in healing post-surgery. Stick to healthy and nourishing foods to aid your immune response. Include foods that are high in protein as it helps repair your skin tissues. Consuming foods that are high in vitamins C and A will also help your immune response. Include plenty of lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Make sure to get adequate fibre.

Avoid eating foods that cause gastrointestinal distress and discomfort such as foods with high sugar contents, dairy products, beans, and other foods that can cause gas.

You may suffer from post-surgery constipation – consult your surgeon for medication to help.

3. Minimise Your Sodium Intake

Excessive salt causes water retention and can lead to bloating. It can cause extreme discomfort and prolong the healing process. Try to eat home-cooked meals, avoid packaged food items, and limit adding salt to your meals. It will help get rid of water retention and minimise swelling.

4. Drink Lots of Water

We all know how important water is for our overall well-being. Drinking water post-surgery helps flush out excess toxins and prevents your body from retaining excess water. Try to limit caffeinated beverages and aim at drinking at least two to three litres of water per day.

5. Gentle Exercise

Strenuous activities are NOT recommended during the initial phases of recovery, but walking around the house is recommended and helps with the healing process. It will promote blood circulation in your body and help you avoid the formation of blood clots. Simply walk around the house, or use a treadmill on a very low setting. Once the initial few weeks have passed, you can try gentle yoga workouts but make sure to consult with your surgeon first.

6. Use a Compression Garment

A compression garment will help with the swelling around the mid-section. This step alone will limit the amount of accumulated fluid in the stomach area and minimise the swelling. Dr Turner will guide you regarding the timeline for wearing the compression garment. You will be advised to wear it for at least four weeks post-surgery.

7. Take Your Prescribed Medications on Time

After abdominoplasty, Dr Turner will prescribe medications that will help reduce the swelling and discomfort. Make sure to follow all the instructions given by Dr Turner. Do not take any blood-thinning medications as they can worsen the bruising and swelling. It is important to discuss any medications you take.

8. Maintain Your Drainage Tubes (if needed)

You may have drainage tubes after the surgery. The drain tubes prevent fluids from accumulating in your body. Make sure to clear out the drainage tubes as per the instructions given by your medical team after abdominoplasty.

9. Show Up for Follow-Up Appointments

After the surgery, you need to ensure that your body heals properly and potential complications are avoided. It is crucial to attend all your follow-up appointments as it gives Dr Turner the chance to review your overall progress and ensure you are healing at the right pace. Dr Turner will also recommend taking essential steps to minimise swelling and take care of yourself after the surgery.

Avoid these Post-Surgery Mistakes to Reduce Bruising and Swelling after Abdominoplasty

Minimising bruising and swelling after abdominoplasty is not just about doing all the right things. It is also about avoiding certain things. Here are a few things to avoid:

1. Smoking or taking Nicotine

Quit smoking a few weeks before and after the surgery. Smoking interferes with the wound-healing process and can lead to complications after the surgery. All products containing nicotine such as cigars, patches, vapes, and gums should be avoided.

2. Over Exercising

While walking around the house is recommended, overexerting yourself will hinder healing and lead to complications. Avoid all sorts of strenuous activities and heavy lifting for the first six to eight weeks after surgery.

3. Blood-Thinning Medications

Stay clear of blood-thinning medications and anti-inflammatory medications as they can worsen your bruising. Avoid taking any meds without consulting your surgeon first.

4. Sleeping in the incorrect Position

Avoid sleeping on your side or stomach for six to eight weeks after the surgery as it can put excessive pressure on your incisions. Sleep on your back and use pillows to elevate your body. See Sleeping Positions for Recovery after Breast Surgery.

5. Having Fast Food or Poor Nutrition

Do not eat fast foods and packaged items as they usually contain a high salt content. Excessive salt will lead to fluid retention and worsen the swelling.

6. Do not Skip Follow-Up Appointments

Skipping follow-up appointments is never recommended. The follow-up appointments are important as they allow your surgeon to evaluate the healing process and make the necessary treatment adjustments depending on your needs.

FAQs about Recovery – Bruising & Swelling after Abdominoplasty

Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding the abdominoplasty recovery:

How long does swelling last after abdominoplasty surgery?

Swelling after abdominoplasty surgery is quite common and can linger on for an extended time after the procedure. The most noticeable swelling will subside in about two to three months. Mild swelling in the abdominal region might still be present three months after the surgery.

How do you reduce swelling after abdominoplasty surgery?

Following these tips will help minimise bruising and swelling after abdominoplasty: take all the prescribed medications, use a cold compress, wear a compression garment, visit your surgeon for follow-up visits, stay clear of strenuous workouts, walk around the house, limit your sodium intake, do not smoke, and rest as much as you possibly can.

How do you stop bruising on your tummy area?

You cannot stop bruising entirely. However, there are steps you can take to minimise it. Use cold compression on your tummy area, wear a compression garment, do not use blood-thinning medications, and take all your prescribed medications regularly. Arnica tablets may help – ask your surgeon.

Does ibuprofen help with abdominoplasty swelling?

Any medication including ibuprofen shouldn’t be used after abdominoplasty surgery without consulting your surgeon. Ibuprofen may cause an increased risk of bleeding.

When can I sleep on my side after the abdominoplasty surgery?

Dr Turner often recommends sleeping on your back while recovering from an abdominoplasty, but you may be able to sleep on your side after four to six weeks after surgery.

What can I put on my scars after abdominoplasty surgery?

You can use topical vitamin E, silicone sheets and gels, and sunscreen on your scars once your incisions have fully healed after the abdominoplasty surgery.

How do you prevent scarring after upper abdominoplasty surgery?

You cannot prevent scarring entirely but there are steps you can take to minimise the scarring. Wear sunscreen while stepping out in the sun. Use topical vitamin E and silicone creams on the scars once your incisions have healed fully. Scar treatments like skin needling or laser may help.

Is bruising and swelling normal after surgery?

Yes, bruising and swelling after abdominoplasty are to be expected. It is your body’s natural response to surgical trauma. If you follow all the instructions, your bruising and swelling will subside in a couple of months.

Can I drink coffee after abdominoplasty surgery?

Yes, you can drink coffee after the abdominoplasty surgery but try to limit the intake to one or two cups only as caffeinated beverages can dehydrate your body. Drink more water to help flush out the toxins and assist healing.

Walking into FacePlus Bondi Junction

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Download Procedure Guides to find out more about your surgery.
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure.

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral.

Making The Most of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive early for your in-person consultation.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Book a Phone Call For More Info

  • To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2.

Contact us or call 1300 437 758 to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

Email us for more information: [email protected]