How to Reduce Bruising & Swelling after Tummy Tuck

Minimising Swelling and Bruising after an Abdominoplasty

A tummy tuck is a surgical procedure to get rid of excess skin and fat along the tummy area. A lot of women and men struggle with a problematic abdominal area. While you can get rid of excess fat with diet and exercise, you cannot eliminate excess skin. That is where tummy tuck can help. Bruising and swelling after tummy tuck are one of the most common side effects of the surgery.

Tummy Tuck surgery is ideal for patients who had one or multiple pregnancies or lost a lot of weight. Like any surgical procedure, a tummy tuck comes with a certain degree of risks and complications. In this blog post, we are going to discuss some tips that help minimise swelling. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the tummy tuck recovery, call your surgeon.

URGENT UPDATE – Australian Government has reinstated a Medicare Item Number for a Tummy Tuck 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 Tummy Tuck expert and Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Newcastle & Sydney NSW. Dr Turner is committed to providing a premium patient care experience during the surgical journey. He and his team are available to answer questions.

CLICK to Download Dr Turner’s Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty Surgery Guide

GUIDE Tummy Tuck

How to Reduce Bruising and Swelling After Tummy Tuck Surgery

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

1. Rest as Much as Possible

Post-tummy tuck, 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 Vitamin 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 the 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 to retain excess water. Try to limit caffeinated beverages and aim at drinking at least two to three litres of water per day. Not only will it help with swelling, but you will also notice a significant improvement in your energy levels.

Abdominoplasty-Before-and-After_Dr-Turner_Sydney

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 in regards to 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 the tummy tuck, 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 it can worsen the bruising and swelling. It is important to discuss any medications you take on a regular basis.

8. Maintain Your Drainage Tubes (if needed)

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

Watch Dr Turner’s Tummy Tuck Video

Avoid These Post Surgery Mistakes to Reduce Bruising and Swelling after Tummy Tuck

Minimising bruising and swelling after tummy tuck is not 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 post the surgery. All products containing nicotine such as cigars, patches, vapes, gums, and others should be avoided. 

2. Over Exercising

While walking around the house is recommended, overexerting yourself will hinder the 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. In fact, avoid taking any meds without consulting yoru 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. One USA patient is known to have experienced poor healing after a tummy tuck due to a diet consisting only of chips and soft drink.

6. Do not Skip Follow-Up Appointments

Skipping the follow up appointments is never recommended. The follow up appointments are important as they give your surgeon the possibility to evaluate the healing process.

Watch the Tummy Tuck Animated Video

FAQs about Recovery – Bruising & Swelling after Tummy Tuck

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

How long does swelling last after tummy tuck surgery?

  • Swelling after tummy tuck 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 or puffiness in the abdominal region might still be present three months after the surgery.

How do you reduce swelling after tummy tuck surgery?

  • Following these tips will help minimise bruising and swelling after tummy tuck: 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 tummy tuck swelling?

  • Any medication including ibuprofen shouldn’t be used post tummy tuck surgery without consulting your surgeon. Ibuprofen may cause an increased risk of bleeding.

When can I sleep on my side after tummy tuck surgery?

  • Dr Turner often recommends sleeping on your back while recovering from a tummy tuck, but you may be able to sleep on your side after four to six weeks after surgery.
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What can I put on my scars after tummy tuck surgery?

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

How do you prevent scarring after upper tummy tuck 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 minimisation treatments like skin needling or laser may help.

Is bruising and swelling normal after surgery?

  • Yes, bruising and swelling after tummy tuck 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 tummy tuck surgery?

  • Yes, you can drink coffee after the tummy tuck 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.

For more information about Tummy Tuck & recovery

Further Reading and Medical References:

About Dr Scott Turner FRACS (Plas) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Scott Turner - Top Plastic Surgeon Sydney and Best plastic surgeon Newcastle

Dr Scott J Turner has spent a lifetime acquiring the qualifications, education, training, and hands-on surgical experience to perform superior cosmetic plastic surgery to give you natural, beautiful results and the improved sense of well-being you want. He is one of the top Specialist Plastic Surgeons with a Breast and Body Surgery focus in New South Wales.

Achieving this personal goal requires not only in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and refined surgical techniques but an ongoing commitment to learning the latest procedures around the world. This is why Dr Turner regularly attends both local and international surgeon meetings – discussing these advances with the leaders around the world in order to offer you the most natural, effective and safest surgical procedures. He is a committed board member of ASAPS – Australia Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Dr Turner and his highly trained staff will do everything to ensure that you are fully informed, while providing exceptional, world-class cosmetic plastic surgery, in a personal and caring environment.

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

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 slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Scott
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

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How to Book Your Consultation with Dr Turner

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

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