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I want to have a full tummy tuck. Is the patient always sent home the same day...

Q:

I want to have a full tummy tuck. Is the patient always sent home the same day after this procedure with a pain pump or do some patients require an overnight stay? I am a waitress - how long before I can go back to work?

A:

For the last seven years all of our tummy tuck procedure patients were done on an outpatient basis.  None required hospitalization or a return to the operating room.

The main reason for this is in our state, hospital charges are very costly.  In some states there may be some hospitals that give discounts for cosmetic procedures.  This will give the patient the option of staying in the hospital and paying for the hospital stay, medications, etc. 

In most cases, the patient may return to full activity in three weeks.

A:

It is so individual. Most of my patients spend the night in the hospital because my hospital offers "hotel room rates". I tell my patients with physically intensive jobs, to plan on going back to light duty after 2 weeks and three for full activity, except for lifting over 20 pounds, which I prefer the patient hold off for 6 weeks. The key is that you get a complete consultation to review all your options with a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and also who is a member of ASAPS www.surgery.org  Please visit my website http://www.casas.md/index.php/tummy-tuck/

 

A:

 Most patients don't require and overnight stay since a tummy-tuck is usually done as an outpatient.  Furthermore, most don't require a pain pump either.

I typically numb up the abdomen extensively with nerve blocks and lidocaine (think novacaine at the dentists office), to minimize pain after surgery.

A:

 While many surgeons perform abdominoplasty as an outpatient, many surgeons also keep patients in the hospital overnight.  Some use pain pumps, some do not.  Recovery depends on exactly what is being done, as well as other health issues present.  Typically a standard tummy tuck will require 3-4 weeks off from work as a waitress.  

I would suggest going to see a board certified plastic surgeon for a full consultation to get recommendations and specific questions answered.

Good luck!

Evan Sorokin MD FACS

A:

Some patients are kept overnight after tummy tuck surgery while others may be done as an outpatient. Determining factors include the patients health, weight, length of procedure and surgeons preference. I have not found pain pumps to be particularly effective in my practice. You can certainly discuss these alternatives with your surgeon.

Richard B. Linderman, M.D. - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Carmel, IN

A:

It depends on your doctor's techniques. Pain or Comfort After Tummy Tuck depend on the problem to be treated, surgical techniques, skill of your doctor and many other factors. With some techniques a hospital stay provides the advantage of using stronger pain medications to manage comfort. Some doctors' patients are so uncomfortable after tummy tuck surgery that a pain pump is one method of making someone comfortable after surgery and yet avoiding the costly hospital stay.

The Plastic Surgery literature is filled with details about patient pain after tummy tuck surgery. And that used to be an issue with my surgery many years ago. Tummy tucks hurt yet liposuction patients had very little discomfort. Over a decade ago, I became unhappy with patient pain and evolved my Tumescent Tummy Tuck. Now although I prescribe a strong pain pill, many of my patients tell me that just plain Tylenol alone is more than enough to deal with comfort issues. Here is a Video of a Belly Dancer discussing her Tumescent Tummy Tuck experiences including comfort and what she needed. Here is a much more complex revision tummy tuck. The second video on this Video Experiences of Revision Tummy Tuck after Failed Minituck and Failed Revision Umbilicoplasty. There are other videos demonstrating after surgery experiences. The best way to achieve such comfort starts out before surgery with patient education, continues with the surgical technique, and then after surgery methodology. It is a process of not letting the pain get started in the first place. Once it is there, it can be very difficult to get under control. So whether to use a pain pump or not really depends on what your doctor's patients need for that comfort. None of my tummy tuck patients used pain pumps, implantable local anesthesia additional injections, narcotic patches, or other such devices. I just use my Tumescent Technique.

Recovery After Tummy Tuck Surgery also depends on the problem, technique and skills of the doctor. The less swelling, bruising, and pain the faster the recovery. The more physically demanding the activity, the longer it takes to return to that function. Before and After Tummy Tuck Videos are a great way to document the problem and how tissues move after surgery. Early after surgery videos help see just how that patient is performing standardized motions. Each job has its own recovery needs. I was very fortunate in documenting the Recovery after Tummy Tuck Muscle Function in a Belly Dancer which shows how she was experimenting just what her tissues would take. She then sent me a video of her performing a solo belly dance in public 3 and 1/2 months after surgery. Some patients are back to light work a week or 2 after surgery, others take longer. The many videos on my site attempt to give a spectrum of what my patients experience with my technique. However, you should not assume that another method will work the same way. That is why checking out what your surgeon's methods require is so critical.

Hope this helps,

Michael Bermant, MD Board Certified American Board of Plastic Surgery

Learn More About Tummy Tuck Abdominoplasty Surgery

 

A:

Most abdominoplasties are done on an outpatient basis but it is largely a matter of the surgeon's preference.  If there are health issues a hospital stay may be recommended.  I have personally found the pain pumps to be very helpful because they use numbing medication to block the pain so that fewer narcotic medications are needed.  Patients recover more quickly that way.  Discuss return to work issue with your surgeon.

Richard A. Baxter, M.D. - View Other Answers by this Doctor
Mountlake Terrace, WA

A:

The post operative care after abdominoplasty varies with the comfort level of the patient and the surgeon.  I generally request my patients remain in the surgical facility overnight.  I find transferring the patient home immediately after surgery is stressful and painful.  The overall experience is far better and safer when cared for by a professional in the first 12 hours after surgery.

I prefer local pain medicine used during the surgical procedure to pain pumps after surgery. If pain is prevented during the procedure it does not escalate after it.

I would allow 2 weeks before returning to work and would make arrangements for someone to transport the heavy trays until you are more comfortable.

Good luck.

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