Abdominoplasty Discharge


*Please make sure you use the hibacleans soap on your abdomen/trunk the night before or morning of surgery. *

DRAINAGE: Drainage from your incision is normal for the first 2-3 days after surgery. It can be a lot of fluid initially, then taper off. This is normal. Dr. Keen puts in a lot of fluid with numbing medication into your abdomen before she does liposuction, so when you drain it may look very bloody and worrisome. It is normal. It’s a good idea to sleep on a pad or towels to absorb the fluid so it doesn’t stain your mattress. Hydrogen peroxide can get any stains out of towels, sheets and clothing.

DRAIN:You may go home with a drain to help manage post-op fluid and swelling.The drain tubing needs to stay free of clotted material and occasionally ‘stripped’. Nurses at the surgery center will show you how this is done. Increased activity causes increased swelling/ fluid so the drain is very helpful in the early post-op period.These drains typically stay in for 5-10 days, but can come out earlier in some cases.The trend of the total amount of fluid in a 24 hour period needs to be tracked so we can identify the earliest time to remove the drain.

COMPRESSION:You are wrapped up tight at the end of your surgery. If you are feeling nauseated or like you can’t take a deep breath or you can’t seem to get comfortable, try loosening the velcro on the white abdominal binder that is around you.We want it to be snug, but it doesn’t have to be so tight you are miserable.

Once you have been in for your first post-op visit it is time to start experimenting with compression. Most people like to have some kind of compression for a month or two after surgery. It helps them feel ‘more secure’.There are lots of options you can try; you can stick with the abdominal binder or girdle we send home with you. You can try snug high waisted yoga pants, spanx or anything that makes you feel good. Compression helps limit swelling, something that is normal is lessening degrees for as much as 12 months after surgery.

INCISION:Your sutures are below the skin and will dissolve over time. The incision line may appear pleated initially or not look/feel smooth, this will improve over time.You will leave that appointment with some lotion, which will be your first step of scar care.

SHOWER:Take a shower when you feel up to it after the first 3 days. Be careful, you may feel faint so please have someone close.The yellow fabric and outer absorbent bandages

can be thrown away after those 3 days.You can replace these with a thin, clean towel for extra padding if it feels better. Make sure your skin and anything on your skin is extremely clean. Replace your velcro binder with the compression garment after your shower and/or put the binder on top of your garment. Garments can be washed in cold water with minimal heat to dry.

SWELLING: You should expect swelling and bruising of areas below your tummy, such as labia or thighs.This is normal. Long term swelling is always to be expected, in lesser and lesser degrees. Using some form of compression garment for the first few months can help with the swelling.

HELP: An adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.The effects of anesthesia and your body’s response to surgery will put you at an increased risk of falling and making bad decisions. So clear your schedule, get help, stay safe and heal!

ACTIVITY: REST for the first 72 hours after surgery.Walk around, move frequently, but nothing strenuous for the first 3 days. Practice standing up straight.Work towards pulling your shoulders back and practice good posture.

BLOOD CLOTS: The best way to prevent a blood clot is to move frequently, even while laying down. Signs of a blood clot include pain, heat, asymmetric swelling, and redness, usually in one of your legs/calves. Notify us ASAP if you experience these symptoms, or go to the emergency room for life threatening symptoms.

INCENTIVE SPIROMETER (IS): We will send you home with an incentive spirometer. Use the IS 10 times per hour while awake. Inhale slow and steady through the mouthpiece, goal is 1800-2000 ml. Break it up into 2 or 3 sessions of 3-4 tries per hour. 

PULSE OX: We want their oxygen to be 94% or higher. If it is low have the patient cough (hugging a pillow for support), use IS and/or loosen compression – if oxygen doesn’t go up to 94% and stay there, please call the office.

ICE: Please DO NOT use ice.The skin along the incision line is healing and compromised. Using Heat or ice on the area can cause tissue damage which can prolong the healing process. Protect that sensitive skin!

SLEEP: Most tummy tuck patients have difficulty sitting up in bed so you may need help with this. Sleep however you are comfortable. Bed, recliner, lots of pillows, no pillows… Your body is excellent at knowing what is best during recovery from the injury of your surgery. Listen to it!

DIET: Drink plenty of fluids. Stay hydrated.You may not be hungry, this is normal. Eat small portions when you feel like eating. Remember in the first three days after surgery (at least) your body will retain fluid. Limit high salt foods, keep your rings off, and do not obsess about what the scale says. Protein and electrolyte drinks are good to have on hand. Staying hydrated helps with healing and it will help your bowels. If you’re concerned about constipation try a little milk of magnesia, fiber powder with plenty of fluid, fresh grapes or maybe a suppository. Other laxatives can create diarrhea. Just be patient and gentle with your system.

MEDICATIONS: Please be in charge of your own medicine. Only you know what works for you. Keep a diary after surgery.Write the name of the medication and the time you take it, then give it 45 minutes to appreciate how this dosage worked before adding anything else.Valium is a muscle relaxer and very effective for increasing comfort for some people. Please do not take medications to make you sleep. Narcotics can be helpful too, but taking too many can cause nausea, which is worse than pain and has no antidote. Add ibuprofen 400-600 mg 3-4 times a day to your valium and narcotic prescriptions.Your narcotic contains Tylenol, so be careful adding Tylenol to the rotation if you are still taking the narcotic. Expect your pain to get more intense on the third day after surgery.

NAUSEA: Nausea is often a sign of low blood pressure, which is a normal response to both pain medication and the initial recovery phase after surgery. Lay down, elevate your legs on a couple of pillows and apply a cold compress to your head to help ease the nausea.This sensation may come on suddenly, which is why we recommend LAYING LOW for the first 3 days.

DO NOT DRIVE: No driving for the first week after surgery. No driving for as long as you are taking prescription pain medication.

NO SMOKING: This should go without saying. Any nicotine you were exposed to for a month before your surgery will hurt how well you heal. Smoking directly interferes with you result.

INFECTION: This is rare!! A fever with no other symptoms is common in the first several days after surgery. BUT, any high and sustained fever with nausea, poor appetite and certainly rapidly increasing redness and discharge from your wound requires attention. Call the office 801-278-9062 or Dr. Keen directly 801-520-1986 if you need to contact us after business hours.

SCAR CARE: Once your wound has healed to the point where there are no scabs, you are ready to use either silicone lotion or silicone tape.

REVISIONS: Sometimes patients choose to have revisions 9-12 months after surgery.Your skin is tightened as much Dr. Keen is safely able to in the operating room. Occasionally after your swelling has gone down you may have little areas that you want to be tightened more.These revisions can usually be done in the office and come at an additional, discounted rate.

Call us at 801-278-9062 or email [email protected] with any questions. Dr. Keen’s after hours number is listed on the discharge paperwork that was emailed to you. Please refer to that for after-hours questions.