Tummy Tuck: A Better Recovery

photo471In the previous installment of our tummy tuck blog series, Dr. John P. Zimmermann educated patients on the mini tummy tuck and alternatives. In this final piece, our Napa Valley plastic surgeon will reveal his techniques for maximizing patient comfort during the recovery period.

In order to minimize discomfort during a tummy tuck, I use a combination of general anesthesia, with a board certified Anesthesiologist, and local anesthesia. The medication that the anesthesiologist utilizes typically gets “out of your system” rapidly after the procedure, minimizing the possibility of nausea and a “hangover” feeling. After the patient is asleep, the first thing I do is inject a moderate amount of fluid mixed with local anesthetics and other medication into the surgical site. This lessens the need for more general anesthetic medications, as the area is fairly numb. It also markedly decreases the potential of bleeding.

Before closing the wound, I used to inject a long acting local anesthetic into the areas where muscle was tightened, an ordinarily painful area postop. Historically, this technique gave 12-24 hours of almost complete relief from marked discomfort.

I now use a new, innovative local anesthetic called Exparel that lasts for at least 72 hours wherever it is injected. Patients wake up rapidly, with little or no discomfort. No narcotics are usually necessary, and the patients leave the recovery area more rapidly than in the past, feeling clearer and more comfortable. This means markedly less discomfort in the days immediately following surgery, with a much greater ability to get up and move around…which is so very important in the first few days after a surgical procedure. Although pain pills are still sometimes necessary, their use is often kept to a minimum.

After patients have fully recovered, it is important that they continue to live a healthy life—a healthy diet, exercise, and watching their weight—to maintain their tummy tuck results for years to come.

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To learn more information about the tummy tuck procedure and recovery at the Aesthetic Surgery Center of Napa Valley, please contact our office today.