How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

Dec 12, 2023

Knowing that a tummy tuck surgery is the right decision and still being anxious about the recovery process is normal and common among patients. This is why surgeons need to educate their clients on how to sleep after a tummy tuck and the best sleeping positions. 

So, we will reveal details about healthy sleeping habits during tummy tuck recovery and discuss practices that might help limit pain and discomfort.

Sleeping After a Tummy Tuck

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How to Sleep After a Tummy Tuck

Figuring out how to sleep comfortably after a tummy tuck procedure might aid recovery time and impact the end results. Since tummy tuck recovery may last around six months, knowing the ins and outs of sleep management can make a big difference. 

Patients are advised to sleep on their back with their upper body slightly elevated to potentially minimize pain. However, as the recovery progresses, they may also move on to sleeping on the side.

For more specific, tailor-made post-operative care, it is best to consult the surgeon who performed the procedure. If you are interested in such a procedure, tummy tuck Lexington KY can help you feel your best.

Optimal sleeping position

The best way to avoid discomfort and minimize potential pain is to sleep on your back with your upper body slightly elevated and both knees bent. Placing a pillow under the knees for extra support is also a common practice. 

Adopting this position might minimize the pressure on the abdominal area, which in turn may reduce swelling. Lying on the back after the procedure may also prevent possible fluid accumulation and make breathing easier. 

When can I sleep flat after tummy tuck?

Patients should remain in a bent position during the initial one to two weeks during their sleep. Naturally, they feel tension and pain when trying to stand up straight, and the same symptoms will appear when lying flat on the back. So, it is best to listen to the body and gradually adjust your position. 

Most patients can expect to be able to sleep in a flat position four to six weeks after the surgery. The incisions should be healed enough during the second month, and laying on your back should not cause problems. 

However, it is best to consult the surgeon before making any changes. Patients may expect the tummy skin to feel tight initially, so adjusting to the flat position will likely take a couple of days.

Can I lay on my side after tummy tuck?

This is another common question among patients. While individual factors play a role in the exact recovery time, generally, patients may sleep on their side two to five weeks after surgery. 

One of the main reasons why surgeons don’t recommend immediately sleeping on the side is the tension that this position creates in the stomach area. Sleeping on the side can be a reason for additional pain and discomfort, which is why it should be avoided during the initial weeks. Those who prefer sleeping on the side should know that they will need to adapt to a new sleeping position within the first two weeks. 

Utilizing supportive pillows

Besides the pillow that is tucked in below the knees, including other ones as additional support might help fixate the body and limit movement during sleep. Placing other pillows to support the back is a common practice that helps elevate the upper body and might eliminate potential pain in the lower and upper back areas. Cushions and pillows while sitting are also recommended, as they may help diminish abdominal swelling.

Common Helpful Practices after tummy tuck

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Common Helpful Practices

While maintaining an optimal position during sleep and using pillow support are central to easing the recovery process, other factors also come into play. Here are some common practices that may benefit healing and help you figure out how to sleep after a tummy tuck to witness optimal results. 

Limiting movement during sleep 

Putting as little stress as possible on the abdominal muscle is key in preventing tissue damage after the surgery. To increase sleep quality, remaining as still as possible is recommended. Patients need to create an optimal sleeping environment for this to be possible. 

Hence, wearing compression garments is a good way to possibly prevent incision strain and minimize movement. These garments offer extra support to the abdominal muscles and may lower the risk of complications. Also, patients may use rolled-up towels and cushions on their side to maintain their position during the night to prevent rolling to the side or stomach. 

Arm and leg movement 

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in after a tummy tuck surgery may often be difficult due to swellings in the abdominal area. So, simple leg exercises may help increase circulation and ease swelling. However, consult with the surgeon to learn more about the gentle leg exercises you may do within the first month of recovery.

Moreover, many patients prefer to have their arms crossed during sleep. However, these may be the reason for added pressure and cause uneasiness in the tummy area. This is why plastic surgeons advise keeping the arms away from the central part of the body at all times.

Massage and relaxation 

Much of the discomfort patients experience during post-surgery is due to incisions and swelling. One way to minimize swelling in the mid-section area is by gently massaging the surrounding swelling. 

While doing so, focus only on the swelling further from the incision site. You should consult your surgeon for more precise technique and massage frequency recommendations. 

While pain and discomfort are a normal part of the healing process, they might be the reason for stress during the healing period. It’s important to find suitable stress management techniques to promote relaxation. For example, meditation, focused breathing, and yoga are helpful tactics that might make the tummy tuck recovery easier.

Pain management 

For some patients, getting a good night’s sleep might seem impossible during the first days of recovery. This is why pain medications are often used to reduce discomfort and lessen the pain. 

Taking a dose of Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs might minimize these symptoms and allow for quality rest. Remember that your doctor must prescribe these; exceeding the recommended dosage may result in unwanted effects.