Tummy tucks can be a great way to move unwanted excess skin from your abdomen when diet and exercise don't seem to be working. But, as a major surgery, tummy tucks can affect the way you sit, get up, and most importantly, sleep. How to sleep after an abdominoplasty?
How to sleep after an abdominoplasty? The importance of sleep
After a tummy tuck, you need sleep to recover. During sleep, your body will repair the affected area and complete the work the surgeon started, helping you achieve a beautiful, natural-looking abdomen. However, the way you sleep after abdominoplasty will have a profound effect on the pace and quality of your recovery. Sleeping in the wrong position could compromise your results and prevent you from getting the rest you need.
What you should do while sleeping
There are simple ways to achieve sleep after abdominoplasty.
Use a recliner for sleeping
Performing a tummy tuck involves making a long, thin incision between the hip bones and just above the pubic mound. The surgeon will make the cut, remove excess fat from the abdomen, and then lower the skin from above over the incision line. Excess skin is removed and then the stomach sewn up, leaving a tight, flat finish.
As you can imagine, sleeping flat on your back after surgery is not a good idea. Laying flat stretches the abdomen, putting pressure on the freshly stitched skin, leading to pain and potential damage to the sutures. Therefore, when you fall asleep, experts recommend sleeping in a slightly bent position that avoids pulling on the seams. Instead of sleeping flat on your bed (like you usually would), surgeons suggestuse a recliner.
A recliner (a type of chair that folds down in the middle) gives you a comfortable and safe way to sleep. The recliner gives you the ability to have a restful night without the risk of tossing and turning or damaging the stitching. A good recliner should allow you to adjust the amount of curvature in your body as needed.
How long do you need to sleep on a recliner?
How long you sleep on a recliner depends on the type of abdominoplasty you have had. Recovery from a "miniature tummy tuck" - one in which the incision does not go from hip to hip - takes approximately one to three weeks. Recovery from a complete abdominoplasty - where the incision runs from hip to hip - takes approximately four weeks. (Exercise should be limited for six weeks). So, if you've had a full abdominoplasty, you'll want to sleep in a reclined position for a few weeks while the tissues heal. Most surgeons recommend maintaining a bent position for at least the first week, whether lying down, standing up or doing something else.
How to lie well on a bed after an abdominoplasty
Because the tissues of the lower abdomen are tight after a tummy tuck, it is essential to maintain a body shape 'bent', whether walking, standing, or climbing into bed.
When moving from a standing to a lying position, pay close attention to your body shape. Ideally, you'll want to maintain a curved shape throughout the process, being careful not to put excessive pressure on the seams.
Before getting into a lying position, make sure the bed or recliner is the right shape to accommodate a bent posture. Next, sit on the side of the bed with your knees turned outward, maintaining the bend in your core. Then, rotate your legs on the bed so they face you. Finally, lower your torso. You shouldn't have to stoop too low if you sleep on a recliner or a bed that lifts.
Practice sleeping cremated before the operation
If you are a front or side sleeper, sleeping on your back after abdominal surgery may feel abnormal. So it's a good idea to practice sleeping reclined for a few weeks before the surgery so that after the operation you can sleep better. Being able to sleep will help the recovery process, allowing you to get back on your feet sooner.
Sleep without a recliner
Generally, you have two sleep options after abdominoplasty. The first is to modify your bed with pillows to provide an elevated section to your torso so you can maintain a bent posture while sleeping.
This has the advantage of being a simple solution - just a few extra pillows. But there are downsides, namely the fact that when you sleep on a bed, you are likely to roll over. Additionally, pillows that support your torso to maintain a bent posture can slip from underneath during the night, putting your seams at risk.
It is therefore essential to bring a travel pillow, preferably with shape memory, to reconcile comfort and ensure that you do not turn over during sleep.
OUR SHAPE MEMORY TRAVEL CUSHION FOR SAFE SLEEPING AFTER ABDOMINOPLASTY
Wear compression garments while you sleep
Compression garments are garments that temporarily support your stomach and provide support to the abdominal muscles after surgery. There are many types of compression garments you can use - from binders to belts. Whenever possible, follow your surgeon's advice and wear compression garments according to their instructions. Compression garments should be worn at any time of the day, including while sleeping.
After surgery, you are likely to experience some inflammation in your abdomen. Compression garments help support your stomach while it's inflamed, aiding the recovery process.
What you need to do outside of sleep
To get out of bed
Due to the nature of the incision after abdominoplasty, patients should be careful when getting out of bed to avoid overstretching the skin of the lower abdomen. When you get out of bed, move to the side, maintaining flexion at the hips, then use your hands to push yourself up into a sitting position. Once seated, lean forward and use your leg muscles to help you stand.
Maintaining a bent position at all times is essential. Not only will this prevent damage to the incision area, but it will also help reduce the appearance of the scar once all stitching has been removed.
Take pain medication
From painkillers can be taken before bed to help relieve discomfort while you are trying to sleep for the first few days after having a tummy tuck. Avoid using painkillers that contain stimulants as they can prevent you from sleeping.
Make bed a ritual
Much of what our brain does is unconscious, including preparing for sleep. So it's a good idea to train your mind to prepare for rest. You can do this by turning the bedtime process into a ritual. Before having surgery, start sleeping in a recliner or in a reclined position. Practice expecting to sleep once in this position by turning off lights and electronics.
Talk to your surgeon
Your surgeon probably has a lot of experience helping patients sleep after tummy tucks. Talk to them about your options and how you can sleep better during the most critical phases of the recovery process.
How to Sleep After Abdominoplasty?
The main takeaway is to sleep in a bent position or with a jackknife after a tummy tuck, preferably on your back. The best way to do this is with a recliner, although a few extra pillows under your back are a good substitute. To aid your recovery, wear compression garments, even while sleeping, and talk to your healthcare professional about managing pain after surgery.