Reduce Mommy Makeover Recovery Time
With These Simple Tips
1. Get in Better Shape Before Your Procedure
It may sound a bit crazy to say that you should get in shape before you have a procedure designed to radically alter your shape for the better. But it isn’t as crazy as it sounds!
Over my career as a therapist who specializes in cosmetic surgery recovery, I have seen hundreds of women (and a few men) slowly make it through their recovery.
The one thing above all that I have found that differentiates the people who recover super fast from those who don’t is their overall level of fitness prior to surgery.
I’ve had people from both ends of the spectrum – those that are super in-shape and those who aren’t – and everyone in the middle. I can say without hesitation that the few people who barely needed my services were the ones who were out running marathons and crazy endurance races. These folks maybe saw me all of three times and they were fine. They had the fastest turnaround times, the least amount of pain, nearly no swelling, minimal scarring, and had the attitude of “bring it on!”
(Yes, these ladies also need Mommy Makeovers – they may be in great shape, but they still have lots of sagging skin and boobs. No one escapes childbearing without these issues – even the ultra-fit.)
This type of super athlete is not me, nor is it most of my clients – and it probably isn’t you, either. Let’s face it – most of us couldn’t do that kind of stuff no matter how hard we may try. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lesson for us all here.
We are all somewhere on the exercise spectrum – maybe we exercise once or twice a week, maybe we go for a short walk once a month when it’s not too hot/cold/rainy/windy outside.
Wherever you are, there is generally some room for improvement in your exercise routine prior to your mommy makeover – maybe an extra 1/2 hour walk per week is all you have time to fit in. Great! That little bit of extra exercise is not only good for you, but it will help reduce your Mommy Makeover recovery time.
2. Wear Your Compression Garment (Faja) as Directed
Ok, so you probably were told about wearing your compression garment (faja) after your surgery, but now that you’ve had your surgery and you are in recovery you are wondering how in the heck you are supposed to actually wear this thing for the next 2-3 months.
There’s good news, and there’s great news – and a little bit of inconvenient news about wearing your faja.
Let’s start with the great news. The great news is that wearing your faja is hands down the most important factor in keeping your swelling from getting out of control and helping to prevent the formation of lumps and bumps. So, in a word or two – IT’S WORTH IT.
The good news is that wearing your faja gets much easier as time goes on. In fact, you will get to where you feel naked without it. If you are undergoing that right now, then you get a gold star! You are doing it right.
Your faja is your new skin for the next 8 weeks. You should wear it 23 hours a day, only taking it off for an hour to wash/dry it while you shower.
After 8 weeks, most surgeons say to wear it an additional 4 weeks about 12 hours a day. Many don’t really care if you wear it day or night, so long as you are still wearing it.
The slightly inconvenient news about wearing your faja is that it takes getting used to, and getting dressed/undressed, as well as bathroom breaks require more time. Don’t despair, though. You get much better at putting it on and taking it off. As your swelling goes down, it isn’t as impossible to put it on. After a while you’ll be an old pro and you really won’t give it much thought.
3. Wear Your Ab Board and Foams
It’s bad enough that they’ve crammed you into that faja. NOW, they want you to stuff even more things inside of it! As if there is room in there! The nerve of those surgeons!
If your surgeon has asked you to wear foam and a board, thank him or her – even though thanking them is the last thing on your mind.
Your surgeon is aware that it is super easy to get dents and creases from your compression garments as you heal. The foam helps prevent that.
They also realize that the board helps hold your abdominal skin in place so that you fascia (the white webby stuff you see when you peel the skin off a chicken breast – yours got pretty mangled during your procedure) can grow back and hold the skin in the right place.
So mumble and curse all you want under your breath – these aren’t the most comfortable things on earth. but WEAR THEM. They really do help improve your final look.
4. Read About Your Recovery
There are great books available to help you educate yourself to reduce your Mommy Makeover Recovery time. The More You Know!
These books are written by Kathleen Lisson, CLT. She is my contemporary out in California (I’m in Albuquerque). As another Certified Lymphedema Therapist who specializes in Plastic Surgery Recovery, Kathleen offers a great deal of insight into the hows and whys of the recovery process.
I recommend these outstanding books on all aspects of Plastic Surgery Recovery by Kathleen Lisson, CLT to my clients.
Like me, Kathleen is also a
Certified Lymphedema Therapist.
Plastic Surgery Recovery Handbook is great for patients and therapists alike.
Swollen, Bloated and Puffy: A manual lymphatic drainage therapist’s guide is geared more towards therapists wanting to learn more about how to help plastic surgery clients recover better.
5. Take Adequate Time Off
A Mommy Makeover isn’t a trip to the day spa. It is major surgery, and it requires serious recovery time like any other major surgery.
If you try to go back to work too soon, you will exhaust yourself. That’s more of a big deal than you may think. If your body is healing it needs all the possible energy it has to rebuild injured tissues.
When you try to split the total amount of energy you have between healing and working / caring for your family / housekeeping / grocery shopping, etc. you will quickly come to realize that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Not only will you be dog ass tired, but you will be prolonging your recovery time. Why? You will have robbed Peter to pay Paul, as they say. You took resources (energy) your body needed to heal and you redirected it to working your 9-5 job.
Take off as long as possible. I’d say 3 weeks is a bare minimum. While you can probably do your job after 2 weeks (given it doesn’t involve lifting, etc.). you will be making a Devil’s bargain to find the energy to do those tasks.
6. Have Patience and Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Plastic Surgery Recovery is not an overnight kind of thing, nor is it a couple of weeks, or a couple of months. It takes A LONG TIME to be fully back to being you.
Sure, after about 2 months you are going to be able to do a great deal of what you would normally. You will feel pretty good, but you won’t yet be 100%.
That being said, even at 2 months you still have a lot of healing to do.
Most women want to know things like when their swelling will be gone, when they can eat normally again, when they will stop itching, etc. The answer isn’t straightforward because everyone is different.
So, the takeaway message here is that if you are watching some chick on Instagram who says she is at the beach 2 weeks post-op, don’t expect that to be you. First of all, she is probably lying – or in a great deal of pain trying to pull of her photo shoot. Most of the stories you see online are far out-of-touch with reality.
You will heal at the rate that you heal. It will not be the same as your best friend who had the same surgery the same day as you. One of you may have a little pain, the other may have lots of it – and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong – people just heal differently.
So go into your surgery knowing that your recovery is a journey. Know that tomorrow will be better than today, and next month will be better than last month. So long as you are seeing progress, you are doing ok. I guarantee it will be slower than you want it to be – and that is NORMAL!