Guerra Plastic Surgery Center
Call us at (480) 568-2523

Mommy Makeover Recovery Specialists

Our post-op team is ready to help you recover.

Recovery Step-by-Step

Overview on the recovery process.

We find it useful to think of the recovery period after mommy makeover as occurring in phases. We have categorized the postoperative recovery into 3 stages or phases in order for you to better understand the entire recovery experience. The 3 phases of mommy makeover surgery include:

  • Phase 1: Mommy Makeover Recovery
  • Phase 2: Tummy Renewal
  • Phase 3: Clearance
actual patients photo
Dr. Aldo in a post-operative recovery room with actual patients.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • How far apart will my Post-Operative Appointments be?
  • After you are discharged from the overnight recovery facility you will be seen in the office within the first 3-5 days after surgery for pain pump removal. A second visit will be made for 6-8 days post-op for drain removal. A third visit will be made for 10-14 days post-op for DERMABOND™ PRINEO™ tape removal. A fourth visit will be made for 4 weeks post-op for general follow up and a final visit is made for 8-12 weeks post-op for final follow up with the doctor, photos and discharge.
  • What happens if I have any questions or concerns after hours?
  • Our patients are instructed to call our office at 480-970-2580, at which time a member of our after hours on-call service will decide if the nurse/physician will need to be contacted ASAP. If the matter is urgent and cannot wait until the following business day the after hours service will contact either the doctor or the nurse and have them call you back within 15 minutes. We have a member of our post-op team on call 24 hours a day.
  • What should I wear to my post-op appointments after my Mommy Makeover surgery?
  • We suggest that patients come to their post-op appointments wearing loose fitting clothing such as a sun dress that slips off easily, a gown that buttons or zips down the front, or a house robe similar to a muumuu dress (you can find these at Walmart). At the first three visits we will need to remove everything in order to look at the surgical area and properly treat you. Wearing appropriate clothing will make it easier for you during your appointment.
  • Will I be spending the night after my surgery?
  • Yes, after your surgery you will be transferred to the recovery center upstairs where you will spend the night under constant supervision from the nursing staff. Greenbaum Overnight Recovery Center offers state-of-the-art, private rooms for our patients to recover in. Each nurse is fully trained in taking care of the special needs a plastic surgery patient requires. A one-night stay is included in the price of your surgery but if you would like to stay more than one night it is your choice to add that on.
  • What is the On-Q Pain Relief System?
  • The On-Q Pain Relief System is a localized post-operative pain pump system that is placed by the surgeon prior to the end of surgery. This closed, sterile system delivers a constant pain relieving medication to the surgical area that lasts up to 2-3 days post-op. the On-Q Pain Relief System allows for a faster recovery and the medication won’t make you drowsy. Another added benefit to the On-Q Pain Relief System is that it comes with it's very own carrying pouch, similar to a fanny pack, that is lightweight and can also hold your drain bulb. The pain pump is removed by a member of the Post-Op Team on your first post-op visit.
  • Will I have any drains in place after my Mommy Makeover surgery?
  • Yes, typically you will come home from the recovery center with one drain depending upon the type of tummy tuck you are having. If you are having a more extensive tummy tuck you may have two drains in place. The type of drain/s used are Jackson-Pratt or JP drains and will remain in place until the output has turned a straw color and is draining below 25-30cc of fluid within a 24-hour period. While the drain/s is in place it is important to follow the post-op instructions given to you by the recovery facility for maintaining the patency (openess) of the drain by milking the drainage tubing at least three times a day. We suggest emptying the drainage bulb at least four times a day and record the date, time and amount each time.
model with breast band
Model wearing a breast band.

Phase 1: Mommy Makeover Recovery

Let's get it started.

The Mommy Makeover Recovery phase begins as soon as surgery is completed and you enter the anesthesia recovery unit. Our nursing staff in the recovery unit will make sure you come out of anesthesia gently and have the appropriate level of pain control when you go to your private overnight recovery suite. This is where you will spend a very comfortable first night. Before going home the next morning, the nursing staff will provide you with additional instructions.

The Mommy Recovery phase lasts 14 days and focuses on post-op comfort. Once you arrive home, you can begin taking medications such as muscle relaxants and oral pain medications. Patients describe tightness and pressure in the breasts and abdomen after mommy makeover surgery. The combination of muscle relaxants and pain medications is noteworthy for creating the most positive experience after mommy makeover surgery. A great number of patients can stop the pain medication after 5 days. Breast massaging for saline and MemoryGel® silicone breast implants will start during this phase. No massaging is performed for MemoryShape® silicone breast implants. Patients typically return to some activity, including light-duty work 10 to 14 days after surgery. We do not recommend any vigorous exercise, which raises your heart rate above 100 beats per minute until 2 weeks after surgery. This includes avoiding heavy lifting.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • When can I take a shower after my Mommy Makeover?
  • We recommend not taking a full shower until after your drain(s) have been removed. Until your drain(s) are removed you can have your caregiver provide you with a partial or complete bed bath.
  • How long do I have to wear my surgical garments for?
  • After a mommy makeover surgery you will go home in either a white abdominal binder or a black compression garment depending if you have any liposuction with your surgery as well as a surgical bra. The compression garment will be worn for at least 6 weeks. The purpose of the compression garment is to help reduce swelling as well as to support the abdomen and lower back region. The surgical bra is worn for at least 5-7 days, after that you can start wearing a sports bra that hooks in the front / back or wear a Coobies-style bra. You can find great selections of sports bras at Kohl's and we carry the Coobies in our office.
  • When do my sutures come out and what is going to be on my incision after surgery?
  • Sutures are removed along with the DERMABOND™ PRINEO™ tape 10-14 days post-op. DERMABOND™ PRINEO™ incorporates a self-adhering mesh that is applied to the approximated skin edges to provide temporary skin edge alignment until the liquid topical skin adhesive is applied to achieve skin closure. It also aids in the recovery of the incision.
  • How long do I need to use ice packs?
  • Ice therapy is very beneficial if applied for 20 minutes at a time with 20-40 minutes in between each application. It is recommended to be used for the first 72 hours. You should start this after you get home from the recovery center. Using ice decreases post-operative inflammation (swelling) which in turn decreases post-operative pain.
  • What type of medications will I receive for my mommy makeover surgery and how often should I take them?
  • For the mommy makeover, you will receive an antibiotic, an anti-nausea, a narcotic pain reducer, a muscle relaxant, and an anti-clotting medication that is injected daily by the caregiver. For efficacy we recommend that patients alternate the pain medication with the muscle relaxer every 4 hours to maintain a consistent level of medication in their system to avoid any pain spikes. We recommend patients stay on a continual dosing schedule through a 24 hour period for the first 3-5 days then eventually wean off of the narcotic pain medication. We also recommend that for patients who have a tendency not to tolerate narcotic pain medications to take the anti-nausea medication 30 minutes prior to their pain medication to decrease the risk of nausea/vomiting.

Phase 2: Tummy Renewal

Most important phase.

After 2 weeks, we you begin the Mommy Makeover Renewal phase. This is the most important phase of the entire recovery process. The mommy makeover renewal phase focuses on continuing incision healing, breast implant positioning, reduction of swelling and increasing activity. At this time, it is recommended you apply silicone sheets 12 hours a day to reduce inflammation on the incisions. To reduce swelling, we advise a program of lymphatic massaging to dramatically eradicate swelling and improve the feeling of tightness.This is performed over the next 4 to 6 weeks and allows patients to perform normal activities with comfort. No massaging is recommended for those receiving MemoryShape® breast implants. You should also continue to wear your supportive garments throughout this period. At this point, we allow patients to resume more vigorous activity including exercise. Limited physical activity is restricted to aerobic exercise keeping your heart rate around 100 to 130 beats per minute. You should continue this light regiment until 8 weeks after mommy makeover surgery.

model breast massage
Breast massages are recommended for MemoryGel® and saline breast implants.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • What is the best sleeping position after my Mommy Makeover surgery?
  • The most practical sleeping position after a tummy tuck is in a recliner/Lazy Boy type of chair. This will automatically place you in a 45 degree angle with your back and legs elevated. If you do not have a recliner we suggest placing 2-3 pillows behind your head/shoulders and 2-3 pillows under your knees to keep the body in a soft "V" formation. This will keep any extra tension around the abdominal incision to a minimum. It also helps to reduce swelling in the feet and ankles, which can be common after abdominal surgery.
  • What type of Breast Massage will I be performing and how frequently?
  • Breast Massage is another essential element within the Breast Augmentation recovery process. At your first Post-Op visit a member of the Post-Op team will teach you a very gentle breast massage that will help to relax the pectoralis muscle. These massages are performed for 5-10 minutes twice daily until your next Post-Op visit. Around 7-10 days after surgery after the sutures are removed, a member of the Post-Op team will teach you more aggressive breast massage by showing you how to "walk down the muscle" and start training the internal scar tissue around the implant to stay away from the implant. You will perform this massage for a minimum of 5 minutes twice daily unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Aldo Guerra. At your next visit approximately 3-4 weeks after surgery a member of the Post-Op team will teach you additional breast massage that will help with more movement of the implant. The more you massage, the softer the breasts will feel. Patients will perform this massage for 5 minutes twice daily until their final visit with Dr. Aldo.
  • What is Lymphatic Drainage Therapy (LDT) or Lymphatic Massage? How is it beneficial to my recovery and is it required?
  • LDT is a gentle hands on therapy used to manually move the lymph fluid out of the body speeding up your recovery time. It is a specialized technique provided by a Lymphatic Drainage Specialist. Not only does this speed recovery by reducing toxins in your system and decreasing your swelling, it improves post-operative results. We recommend at least 4-6 treatments after having a Tummy Tuck surgery and if you can, one treatment prior to surgery. This treatment is not required but it is highly beneficial. Check with a Post-Op team member for a list of practitioners we refer to and ask about our patient testimonials about the service.
  • When can I drive after my mommy makeover surgery?
  • After a tummy tuck it is important not to drive for at least two weeks to prevent any injury to yourself. After two weeks, when you feel you can react in an emergency situation AND do not have any narcotic medication in your system you can drive.
model at desk job
Return to light activity after breast augmentation surgery, Model.

Phase 3: Clearance

Getting back to normal.

Patients are considered healed from their mommy makeover surgery when the swelling in the tummy has dropped by 90%, the incision has made nice progress, and the breasts implants have settled nicely. This typically takes 8 to 12 weeks after the surgery. When this occurs, we inform patients they are cleared to live a normal lifestyle. We call this the mommy makeover Clearance Phase. The rate of healing for each individual is variable. For some, the ability of the swelling to dissipate is slower. For some patients, including those with elastic abdominal skin, the ability to lose swelling seems expedited and they may return to full function sooner. On the other hand, patients with tighter skin should expect that a longer period of settling with the healing proceeding at a slower pace. Sit-ups will likely not be required and if you decide on sit-ups, we recommend you wait 6 months after surgery to perform this type of exercise.

Q&A with Post-Op Team

  • What do I need to put on my scars to help them heal better & when can I start this?
  • embrace® Active Scar Defense is our #1 scar therapy treatment for breast and tummy incisions. Typically, within 2-3 weeks after surgery and when all of the sutures, tape or surgical glue has been removed you can start your embrace® treatments. Also consider using Vitamin E oil, Bio Oil, topical scar creams or liquids, or apply silicone sheets. This will assist the scar to appear less pink and decrease in thickness and texture.
  • What is "Scar Massage?"
  • Scar massage is taught to each patient during post-op visits by a member of our Post-Op team. Scar tissue forms whenever there is an incision made in the skin. As scar tissue heals, it tends to contract and get thick. We know that the nature of scar tissue as it’s healing is to contract but we also know that scar tissue is very malleable and trainable so we teach scar massage to help our patients achieve the most desired outcome possible with their scars. By placing pressure on scars or by rubbing/massaging them, the fibrous tissue gets broken down and trains the scar tissue to heal more flat. The more frequently it gets massaged, the flatter the scars will heal. This process takes anywhere from several weeks up to 6 months, at which point scar tissue matures and becomes less malleable or permanent.
  • When can I resume Vitamins and Herbal Supplements?
  • Depending upon specific supplements, within two weeks post-op you can resume Vitamins and Herbal Supplements with the exception of weight loss supplements in which case you need to wait at least six weeks to resume.
  • I need help filling out paperwork for my employer, who can help me with this?
  • A member of our Post-Op team will assist you with this. Please bring your paperwork in at your pre-op appointment so they will have sufficient time to complete the documents required. If you have specific forms that your employer requires, there is a $25 fee for each form to be completed and will be collected prior to the form being completed please allow 7-10 days for completion. If you only require a letter for your employer there is no fee for that. Generally speaking, Short Term Disability does not cover cosmetic procedures.
  • When can I workout/exercise?
  • We encourage every post-operative patient to start walking short distances as soon as they arrive home from surgery. Typically we like you to keep your Heart Rate under 100 Beats Per Minute (BPM) within the first two weeks. At week three, you can increase your Heart Rate to 120 BPM, at four weeks you can increase your Heart Rate to 130 BPM and at five weeks you can gradually work back into your normal regimen with the exception of lifting anything over 20 pounds. After six weeks you may return to your regular fitness regimen minus any abdominal exercises. We ask that you refrain from any abdominal exercises for at least 3-6 months post-op.