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Hardened Tissue After Tummy Tuck

by Lyndon Langley
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Hardened Tissue After Tummy Tuck

Hardened Tissue After Tummy Tuck

You’ve had your first post-op checkup with your plastic surgeon, you’re happy with the results of your procedure and now it’s time for the big reveal — but when you go to pull down that shirt or blouse you see something strange. Your new tummy is hard! What happened? And what does this mean for your body?
After having a tummy tuck performed, you might notice several things happening at once. First of all, you’ll probably feel some discomfort as the muscles are being tightened. You might also notice that there’s an unnatural bulge on one side of your stomach (which could be caused by gas buildup). Furthermore, since the skin was cut to make room for the operation, you might have noticed that it appears tighter than before. These symptoms will most likely become more pronounced as the body begins healing itself after the initial swelling subsides. In addition, some people who undergo tummy tucks report experiencing a “hard” area under the skin where the abdomen meets the lower part of the rib cage. This is known as the xiphoid process, and it’s not uncommon for patients to describe it as feeling like a belt across the chest.
The reason behind these changes can be attributed to two main factors: scarring and muscle tightening. As mentioned earlier, the skin around the incision site is usually quite sensitive due to its tenderness. It’s common for the patient to experience redness and irritation for up to three weeks following the surgery. However, if the sutures used during the procedure were done poorly, then they can cause pain and even deformation. The best way to prevent damage from occurring during the surgery is to choose experienced surgeons and staff members. If you do end up getting poor care, take immediate action by contacting the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Patient Advocacy Program.
Once the swelling goes away, the next step is for the body to begin forming scars. During the first few days after the procedure, patients should expect to start noticing small pink bumps appearing over the surface of the skin. While these are considered normal, they can sometimes look unsightly. To avoid them, try wearing loose clothing made of cotton and avoiding hot tubs and saunas until the wounds have completely healed. Also, don’t pick or push aside any scabs that form. Instead, wait until they fall off naturally.
Now that you know how long it takes to heal, let’s talk about why the hardening occurs. Scar tissue forms when the body responds to injury by producing collagen. Collagen is a protein responsible for keeping our skin flexible and resilient. When we get hurt, however, our bodies release chemicals that encourage collagen production. Since the collagen is building up beneath the skin, it gives the appearance of a harder structure underneath. In fact, the xiphoid process can actually be compared to a piece of armor plating protecting the underlying abdominal organs.
If you think about it, this makes sense; without the extra protection offered by the armor plate, the abdomen would be exposed to trauma from heavy objects falling on top of it. So, although not ideal, having the added layer of protection provided by the armor plate is better than nothing.
So, how much longer does it take for someone to recover from a tummy tuck? Read on to find out.
Recovering From Tummy Tuck Surgery Recovery Timeline
At the hospital:
On the day of the surgery, you’ll need to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. Once checked into the hospital, you’ll meet with another member of the surgical team who will review the details of your procedure with you. He or she will also answer any questions you may have about the specifics of the operation. Afterward, you’ll receive further instructions, including what kind of food and liquids you’re allowed to consume. Finally, the nurse will explain which medications you can take home with you. On average, recovery times vary between four and six weeks, depending on the individual.
Since your stay at the hospital is almost finished, you’ll want to get out of there as soon as possible. Fortunately, the discharge paperwork has already been completed, and you’re ready to go. Before leaving, you’ll stop by the pharmacy to pick up your prescriptions and other items that you left in a medical kit while you were still in bed. Next, you’ll head straight for home, where you’ll spend the rest of your recuperation period. At home, you’ll be able to relax in peace knowing that you’ve successfully undergone the procedure.
About 10 days later:
In the beginning, you’ll want to remain flat on your back or lying on your side. Later, you’ll be given crutches so that you can walk properly again. You’ll also want to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Try to avoid strenuous activity. For example, walking too quickly can strain the wound, causing additional bleeding. In order to help control fluid intake, eat foods high in salt content, such as pretzels. You’ll also want to continue using ice packs to reduce the inflammation of your skin.
14 to 21 days later:
Your doctor will give you clearance to return to work and resume your usual routine. By now, you should be free of any pain, and the stitches should come out easily. Although you can drive yourself around safely, you won’t be cleared for anything strenuous. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than five pounds, and never engage in activities such as swimming or diving. Take it easy for the full month allotted to your recovery, and remember to follow your doctor’s orders exactly.

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1 comment

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