Whether you've recently had a baby or lost weight or simply want to improve your appearance, there are several reasons why you might be considering an abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck. According to CosmeticSurg, the average patient will need at least five weeks to fully recover from their abdominoplasty. During this time, it is important to take care of yourself, and one of the most critical aspects of this process is avoiding a post-operative infection at home. In addition to the post-operative instructions your doctor will provide, which includes how care for the incision, here are a few tips to help you prevent an infection, including how to pinpoint the signs of a problem.
Keep It Clean
One of the most effective ways to prevent a post-operative infection at home is to create as clean and sterile an environment as possible. This includes making sure your home, clothing, incision, and hands stay clean. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure you do not mistakenly introduce a potentially devastating germ to your healing incision.
- Wash your hands often – It is vital to wash your hands throughout the day, particularly before you tend to your healing incision. Make sure to wash your hands before eating or drinking to prevent catching a germ that could compromise your recovery.
- Wear clean, loose-fitting clothing – Wear clothing that is comfortable, loose-fitting, and clean. For example, invest in a few pairs of sweat pants. Remember, you will be swollen and bruised after the surgery, so consider purchasing sweats that are a size bigger. Tight clothing can rub against your incision site, and that could open your incision and introduce an infection.
- Hug your kids carefully – Your kids are germ magnets, and they can accidentally touch your healing incision. This could lead to an infection. Let your kids know that your abdominal area is off limits while you are healing.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help – Keeping your home clean and as free of germs as possible is critical. Don't hesitate to ask a friend or family member for some helping keeping your home and clothing clean.
Eat the Best Foods for a Swift Recovery
In the days and weeks after your surgery, you will be spending a lot of time relaxing in bed or on the couch. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you not only heal more quickly, it can help prevent any unnecessary post-operative weight gain.
For example, increasing the amount of protein in your diet can help you stay fit while boosting your immune system. Additionally, if you're suffering from constipation after the surgery, which is a common issue if you're taking prescription pain relievers, increasing the fiber in your diet can help combat this issue.
Additionally, it is important to avoid sugary drinks and alcohol and instead stick with water. According to Dr. Tania Medina de Garcia, a contributor to Real Self, staying well-hydrated can aid in your recovery process and help prevent several post-operative complications, including blood clots.
Finally, it is critical to avoid smoking during your recovery process. Smoking can actually increase your risk of a post-operative infection because negatively impacts your body's ability to heal, speeds your heartrate and blood pressure, and can lead to blood clots.
Watch for Signs of a Possible Infection
Even if you do everything right and are vigilant, it is still possible for an infection to form. Signs of an infection after your tummy tuck include redness, swelling, fever, discharge from the incision site, and severe pain. If you notice any of these signs, don't hesitate to contact your doctor immediately. Early intervention can help reduce the impact of the infection or the infection's ability to spread to other areas of your body.
Although uncommon, you are still at risk of developing an infection after your abdominoplasty. However, with proper care and a healthy diet, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of infection after your tummy tuck.
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