How should you sleep after a tummy tuck surgery? (2023)

An abdominoplasty effectively removes unwanted skin from the abdomen when physical activity and diet do not work. However, as a major surgical intervention, patients must take special care when they sit, stand, and, most importantly, sleep after a tummy tuck surgery.

A tummy tuck offers many benefits to the patients. These include feeling confident about your appearance, removing skin that has lost its elasticity, having a more athletic body, and losing extra fat. However, in tummy tuck surgery, the surgeons remove a significant amount of fatty tissue, so patients must ensure a speedy recovery. However, abdominoplasty is a successful surgical procedure that needs careful planning.

Why does the sleeping position matter after abdominoplasty surgery?

After a tummy tuck, you may need to alter the way you sleep for a while. Sleeping on your stomach or side will put unnecessary strain on the abdominal region and should be avoided to ensure the incisions heal correctly. To alleviate discomfort caused by the incisions, some patients prop up their legs and feet as they sleep. Sleeping in a reclined posture for two weeks is the standard recommendation. A reclining chair is a fantastic solution if you have a sleeping issue because of pain or discomfort. As a result, after the tummy tuck procedure, the body needs time and rest to heal naturally. Some patients may return to light activity after about 2 or 3 weeks. However, full recovery takes about six to eight weeks. Until then, the patients should avoid exercise, heavy lifting, and other strenuous physical activity.

The best way to sleep after a tummy tuck surgery

After an abdominoplasty, the patients need sound sleep to recover quickly. Because during sleep, the body repairs the affected area and completes the job that the surgeons have started, giving the patients a natural-looking midsection. Moreover, how patients sleep after a tummy tuck surgery profoundly affects the quality and rate of recovery.

Furthermore, sleeping in the wrong position can compromise the results and prevent the patients from getting the rest they need to recover properly. There are some suggestions from the experts that you should consider regarding getting sound sleep after a tummy tuck surgery. These suggestions can speed up recovery and help achieve the best abdominoplasty results.

Sleep in a reclined position

In a tummy tuck surgery, a cosmetic surgeon creates a long incision between the hip bones and above the pubic mound. He removes the belly fat from the abdomen through this cut, then pulls down the skin from above the incision line. He stitches the stomach after removing the excess skin, leaving a tight and flat finish.

So, lying flat on the back after the surgery is not a good choice. Because lying flat stretches the abdomen and strains the freshly-stitched skin, this stretching and pulling of the abdominal skin causes pain and damages the sutures. Therefore, the surgeons advise the patients to sleep in a slightly bent position that does not cause a pull on the stitches. Also, they recommend using a recliner for better sleep.

Patients often ask, “How long do they need a recliner or to sleep in a reclined position? The answer to this question depends on your tummy tuck procedure type. The recovery after a mini tummy tuck surgery, in which the incision is not from hip to hip, is one to three weeks. It takes about four weeks to recover from a full tummy tuck surgery in which the incision is long from hip to hip.

So, if you have gone through a full tummy tuck, you must sleep in a reclined position for a couple of weeks. Surgeons usually recommend maintaining a bent position in the first week, whether lying down, standing, or doing anything else.

Maintain a “bent” body shape while lying on the bed

As the tissues of the lower abdominal area are stretched tight after abdominoplasty, patients must maintain a bent body shape while standing, walking, or climbing to bed. Surgeons advise patients to pay particular attention to the body’s shape when lying down from a standing position. Ideally, they must maintain a bent position throughout the process and ensure they do not strain the stitches.

Before lying down, patients must ensure that the bed or recliner is in the right shape to accommodate their bent posture. Therefore, after your abdominoplasty surgery, sit on the bedside with the knees facing outwards. After maintaining a flexion in your core, swivel your legs on the bed so they are in front of you. Finally, lower your upper body gently. You do not have to lower yourself too far when sleeping on a recliner or bed with two or three pillows.

Sleep on your back with your upper body elevated

The best sleeping position after abdominoplasty is on the back with the upper body elevated. Patients should slightly bend and form a gentle angle. They can attain this position with a recliner or by using the pillows. Plastic surgeons recommend this position because it relieves any strain or pressure from the incision. By sleeping in this position, patients can reduce post-operative complications. A reclined position can also prevent the likelihood of rolling on the stomach at night. Patients can add rolled-up towels and extra pillows to ensure they don’t move too much.

Some people are uncomfortable with this position, but it is the most comfortable for patients after surgery. Because with this posture, patients can relax and get the rest they need to heal quickly.

Use compression garments while sleeping

Compression garments support the midriff and support the abdominal muscles after surgery. There are different types of compression garments that you can use after the tummy tuck surgery, from binders to girdles. You should follow the surgeon’s instructions and wear the compression garments accordingly. After the surgery, you will experience a degree of inflammation in the abdomen. Compression garments support the waist while it is inflamed and assist in recovery. You should always wear these garments after the surgery, including during sleep.

Best way to get out of bed

Plastic surgeons ask patients to be careful while getting out of bed and not to over-stretch the skin of the lower abdomen because of the nature of the incision. When they have to get out of bed, they roll onto the side, maintain flexion at the hip and use their hands to push up in a seating position. Once seated, rock forwards and use the muscles of the legs to stand.

It is essential to maintain a bent position all the time. Because not only will it reduce the appearance of the scar after stitches are removed, but it will prevent damage to the incision site.

How to ensure better sleep after a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck surgery involves a large abdominal area. After the tummy tuck procedure, the natural reaction of the body, sending inflammatory markers to the incision site, results in pain and swelling. It is difficult, therefore, to get quality sleep after the surgery. So, you can use the following tips and get the rest your body needs to recover properly.

Take painkillers

Pain medications can ease the discomfort, so take them before bed for the first few days after tummy tuck surgery for better sleep. But try to avoid painkillers with stimulants because these may prevent you from sleeping. It will be best to consult with cosmetic surgeon.

Train yourself to sleep in a reclined position

Much of what your brain does is unconscious, which includes getting ready for sleep. Therefore, it is a good idea to train your mind to prepare for rest as soon as you lie on the bed. You can achieve this by making getting into bed a ritual. So start sleeping in a reclined position or on a recliner the week before the surgery. Train your mind to expect sleep once in this position by switching off lights and electronic devices.

Talk to your cosmetic surgeon

Your cosmetic surgeon has much experience helping patients sleep better after an abdominoplasty. So you can consult about your options and get suggestions for better sleep during recovery.

Heal faster and enjoy better sleep after tummy tuck surgery

After a tummy tuck surgery, you must sleep in a reclined position to avoid discomfort and pain. The best way to do this is using a recliner or extra pillows under the back. Compression garments also can assist in recovery.

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Last Updated: 16/09/2023

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