woman stretching in bed

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

A tummy tuck gives you a flatter, firmer stomach and a leaner profile. It restores a younger look after childbearing or weight changes. It’s also a significant surgical procedure that requires time for recovery. You’ll need to sleep in an elevated position while your muscles adjust and heal.

Why It’s Important to Sleep in an Elevated Position After a Tummy Tuck

When you have a tummy tuck, excess skin and fat are removed from your midsection and your abdominal muscles are tightened and reconnected. That tightening will make it uncomfortable, at first, to fully straighten your body. Sleeping in an elevated position will prevent strain on the incisions and help your body recover with minimal discomfort.

You’re also likely to have some temporary swelling in the area of surgery, as with any surgical procedure. Keeping the area elevated will help your body drain the area and speed the healing process.

How to Sleep Comfortably in an Elevated Position

For both comfort and healing, you’ll want to position yourself for sleep with your waist bent slightly and your knees raised. That puts the least strain on your newly tightened abdomen.

One way to do that is to prop yourself up in bed using pillows. Pile two or more pillows to support your head and upper torso, place another to lift your knees and put one under each arm. The pillows at your sides will help to keep you from rolling out of position. Position the upper pillows so that they support a bend at your hips and don’t just lift your head and shoulders.

It’s a good idea to practice sleeping in this position before your surgery, both to get used to it and to work out any problems and make sure you have enough pillows for support. If you find that your movements in the night push the piled pillows out of position, you might consider buying a wedge pillow to support your upper body. If a normal pillow is too thin to lift your knees comfortably, a bolster, such as one used in many yoga classes, might be worth trying.

The other way to sleep comfortably in an elevated position is on a recliner. A recliner supports you on your sides, so you won’t be able to roll out of position in your sleep. Most recliners also allow adjustments to the angle of your back and knee supports. Automated recliners can tilt you forward when you are ready to stand up after sleeping.

How Long Should You Sleep Elevated After Your Tummy Tuck?

Different types of tummy tuck surgery have shorter and longer recovery times. Your plastic surgeon will give you care instructions for your recovery, based on the specifics of your procedure. After a full tummy tuck, you’ll typically be advised to sleep in an elevated position for at least two weeks and possibly up to four to six weeks. After a mini tummy tuck, you’ll be instructed to sleep with your upper body raised for at least a week and possibly for two or three weeks.

You might adjust the timing in consultation with your plastic surgeon based on your progress in recovery. If your swelling goes down quickly, there will be less need to sleep elevated for drainage and circulation. So if swelling isn’t an issue and you think you’ll get a better night of sleep lying on your side, you might try that change after discussion with your surgeon.

The key is to find a comfortable way to sleep that promotes healing and doesn’t pull at the incisions. Rest and sleep are important to your recovery. Follow a regular sleep schedule and do what you can to minimize discomfort. Beyond adjusting pillows or the angle of your recliner, that might include wearing compression garments and taking appropriate pain medication.

Explore Your Tummy Tuck Options in Vancouver

If you are struggling with excess skin and fatty tissue in the stomach area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Eric Pugash and explore your tummy tuck options. Call Dr. Pugash’s Vancouver offices at (604) 522-5199 or send an online request.