How Long Do I Need to Sleep Elevated After a Tummy Tuck?

How Long Do I Need to Sleep Elevated After a Tummy Tuck?

Posted on June 12, 2020

How Long Do I Need to Sleep Elevated After a Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck can work wonders in transforming your midsection. The procedure removes excess skin and fat and tightens your abdominal muscles for a smooth, flat, youthful look. But it’s a major surgical intervention and requires time for recovery. That includes plenty of rest and some special steps for healthy sleep.

Why Elevated Sleep is Important After a Tummy Tuck

As with any plastic surgery procedure, you will experience some swelling in the treated area in the days after surgery. Sleeping in a gently propped-up position helps drain the area and reduce swelling while your body heals.

With a tummy tuck, there’s an added need to keep the abdomen from stretching during the early stages of healing, which can pull at the incisions. We’ll instruct you to sleep with a slight bend at your hips and your knees as if you are reclining in a beach chair. This position lets the tissue recover and helps minimize discomfort.

How to Sleep Comfortably in a Raised Position

There are two main ways to prop yourself up for elevated sleep after a tummy tuck: using pillows on your bed or sleeping in a recliner.

A basic arrangement on your bed might include two or more pillows under your head and upper torso, one to lift your knees, and one under each arm. The goal is to have the pillows support a flex at your waist, not just raise your head and shoulders. It’s a good idea to experiment with the pillow arrangement before your surgery and practice sleeping in this elevated position. That way, you’ll have the needed pillows on hand when you come home from the surgery, and it will be a familiar and comfortable sleeping position to you.

You may want to buy a wedge pillow. This specially shaped cushion raises your upper body and is less likely to move while you sleep. If you find your normal pillows too thin to lift your knees, you might try a bolster, such as those used for yoga.

If you have a recliner, that can be an even better option for sleep after your tummy tuck. Most recliners are adjustable to support your back and your legs at different angles. And, a recliner provides support on both sides, so you are less likely to move out of position during sleep. Some recliners also tilt forward to help you get up after sleep.

How Long to Sleep Elevated After Your Tummy Tuck

How long you’ll need to sleep in this reclined position will depend on the type of tummy tuck surgery you have. Your surgeon will advise you as part of your recovery care plan. After a mini tummy tuck, you’ll need to sleep in an elevated position for a least a week and possibly for two or three weeks. After a full tummy tuck, you should expect to sleep with your upper body raised for at least two weeks and up to four to six weeks.

In addition to following the advice of your surgeon as to the timing, listen to your body. Until it’s comfortable to straighten your torso, it will likely be painful to lie flat on your back or your stomach. If you are naturally a side sleeper and have trouble adjusting to propped-up sleep, your surgeon may advise you to try sleeping on your side, without extra pillows, once the swelling from the procedure has gone down.

Rest and sleep are crucial to your healing after surgery. Follow a regular bedtime routine, just as you normally would, to get your body into a healthy sleep cycle. Wearing compression garments at all times, even while you sleep, can ease discomfort, as can appropriate use of pain medication.

Learn More in a Personal Consultation

Dr. David Kim and Dr. Eugene Kim at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery have developed an impeccable reputation for stunning, natural-looking plastic surgery results, attracting patients from all over the world. Contact our practice today at 310-746-5475 or send an online request to schedule a consultation.

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