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A More Comfortable Tummy Tuck Recovery

Posted July 30, 2012 in Tummy Tuck

By Sherri Roberts

The recovery from tummy tuck surgery just became more comfortable thanks to Exparel—a new long-acting local anesthetic that Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Chris Patronella is pleased to provide to his tummy tuck patients. When injected into the abdominal muscle wall—the area that is the most common source of discomfort following abdominoplasty because of the muscle wall repair that takes place—Exparel delivers relief for 72 hours or more before the body absorbs the anesthetic.

Patronella says the anesthetic, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2011, is a welcome breakthrough in pain management, eliminating the need for patients to tote around a pain pump the first week after surgery while also providing them with more effective pain control since it is injected directly into the muscle wall tissue, as opposed to medication being infused over the tissue, as it is through a pain pump.

“I’m finding that the use of Exparel makes the overall recovery experience more pleasant for my patients, ” said Patronella. “They are able to get up and around more quickly after tummy tuck surgery, thereby speeding their recovery, particularly during the first three to four days, which is typically the most uncomfortable stretch of the 10 to 14 day recovery period.” Additionally, the surgeon noted the anesthetic reduces the frequency and amount of pain medication that patients typically require, lessening drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and other unpleasant side effects that can sometimes occur with their use.

Patronella participated in a clinical study to evaluate Exparel’s safety based upon follow-up exams with 94 women who received the anesthetic in conjunction with breast augmentation surgery. He and his colleagues’ research was published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal—the official publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery—in February 2012.

6 Tips That Can Help Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

As the creator of the True Form Tummy Tuck®, Dr. Chris Patronella has put a lot of time and effort into refining the tummy tuck process so that it produces the best results. To further improve your tummy tuck experience, Dr. Patronella recommends a number of things to help you with your recovery. While most people already understand that they will need childcare and a little help around the house, you may be surprised to find that the following things can also be of great assistance during your tummy tuck recovery.

1. Loose Clothing

Loose clothing will keep you comfortable as you recover. Because your abdomen will be temporarily more swollen than normal, clothing items like big, soft t-shirts and night dresses are recommended. You should also avoid wearing anything with a tight waistband so that you don’t irritate your incision. Yoga pants and sweatpants are highly recommended.

2. Protein-Rich Foods

Eating high-protein foods helps to support wound healing. Enjoy plenty of protein-rich foods that are easy to digest so that you can encourage the best healing response during your tummy tuck recovery.

3. Pre-made Meals

Consider preparing or purchasing your meals ahead of your tummy tuck so that you can easily freeze and reheat them. Mild, easily digestible foods are recommended for the first week or two.

4. Vegging/Relaxing Materials

During your recovery, make sure to have plenty of materials to relax with, such as books to read, movies or TV shows to watch, magazines, your laptop or tablet, games, etc. These materials are helpful to have on hand since you will you need to take it easier than usual while you are healing.

5. Cleaning Service

Consider hiring a cleaning service to help with household work. If you can enlist someone to be in charge of cleaning and household chores while you are recuperating, you most likely will be able to rest and relax better.

6. Extra Pillows or Towels

Laughing, sneezing, and coughing can be uncomfortable during the early days after a tummy tuck. A helpful solution is to keep a pillow or large, folded towel close by and press it gently to your stomach whenever you feel you are about to sneeze, cough, or laugh. This will reduce the pressure on your abdomen so that such actions are not as painful.

These tips and others can be found on Dr. Chris Patronella’s Tummy Tuck Recovery Guide. If you have any other questions about preparing for your tummy tuck and recovery, please schedule your appointment today. Call (713) 575-1996 or fill out our online contact form to request your consultation.

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