It’s round 5 of our Real Life Recovery series. As summer is upon us, we address a common concern among our mommy makeover patients: swimming after surgery.
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and get your kickin’ curves back after becoming a mom. Whether regaining your figure means a breast augmentation, breast lift, tummy tuck, or all three, a mommy makeover can help you feel like yourself again.
Now that it’s summer and the kids are out of school, you’ll also want to immediately hit the beach for some sand, surf and a chance to show off your fabulous new shape, right? Not so fast there, gorgeous! If you’ve recently had a mommy makeover, you need to make sure you’ve had enough time to recover before you take a plunge into the pool or ocean.
While certain activities are permitted soon after cosmetic surgery, expect to wait a little longer before swimming while recovering from a mommy makeover. Here are some reasons you need to stay on shore until your surgeon says it’s okay to swim:
1. To keep your results on the right track. Participating in strenuous activities like swimming too soon after surgery can jeopardize your results. Not only can scars stretch, but raising your blood pressure can increase the risk for internal bleeding. Expect to wait a minimum of 6 weeks before going swimming after a tummy tuck, as the abdominal muscles have undergone repair; about 4 weeks if you’ve only had a breast procedure. And in case you’re wondering—water slides are considered strenuous activity, so save that trip to Aquatica for another time.
2. To stay safe & healthy. The ocean naturally contains millions of micro-organisms, and even chlorinated pools can hold debris and bacteria. While your skin normally does a great job protecting you from harmful microbes, incisions that are not completely healed are vulnerable to infection. Typically, we instruct patients to wait 4 to 6 weeks before submerging any incisions in the ocean or pool.
3. To help scars heal optimally. Slipping out of the cover-up to slip into the pool makes it all the more difficult to keep your scars out of the sun, which is important to ensure they heal as faintly as possible. Even after you get the green light to swim, make sure you apply a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen before and after taking a dip.
4. To make sure you’re in shape to tackle the waves. After a mommy makeover, you’ll likely have to lay off all forms of vigorous exercise for a month or two, and even the fittest patient needs to gradually rebuild her stamina. You may wish to start back in the pool first once swimming is permitted after surgery and give yourself a few weeks to regain the endurance to swim safely in the ocean.
Even though you’ll have to lay off the laps for awhile, that doesn’t mean summer has to be a bust. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a day at the beach with your family while still honoring your post-op instructions. Light activities, such as searching for seashells or testing your kite-flying skills, are generally safe—just don’t wade past your knees and be mindful of the spray.
The most important thing you can do to ensure a smooth recovery and great mommy makeover results? Listen to your surgeon. If you’re unsure if an activity is safe for you, never hesitate to give a call to your patient coordinator. Be smart, and you’ll be back in the water before you know it.