Next Gen Physio I Hunter Plastic Surgery
A note from Tom on the role Physiotherapy plays in managing Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) patients from Dr Moncrieff Hunter Plastic Surgery
I was a very fresh faced Physiotherapist when Nick and Amber started seeing me personally for their own physiotherapy related concerns, going back nearly 10 years ago now! There was a particular appointment when Amber queried whether I had any exposure to Abdominoplasty patients and their post-operative care. The answer was no! At the time, there wasn’t as much awareness in the community around the benefits of the surgery and I certainly had never specifically heard of Physiotherapists having an important role to play. At that time, my only exposure to Plastic Surgery was patients experiencing significant back and neck pain after radical Breast Augmentations overseas! Thank God for Dr Moncrieff hey!
This lead me down a long and winding path of learning and researching absolutely everything I could about how I could best assists patients both before and after their Abdominoplasty surgery procedure. Fast forward to now and we have seen literally hundreds of Dr Moncrieff’s patients. For me, its become a little bit of a niche area of Physiotherapy, its a change of pace and something I really enjoy. No two patients are the same, there is always a different reason for why the surgery is being performed and I love to see the incredible improvements patients make.
So exactly how can Physiotherapy help you to best recover from Abdominoplasty surgery from Dr Moncrieff
This is something we have tried to do more of over the past few years. I had noticed that patients where coming in for their Post-Operative Physiotherapy appointments and I couldn’t get a good sense of exactly what level of function they had before their surgery. Often at times patients are excited and energetic about, “so what are your goals” conversation we have in the Pre Operative consultation. I can establish how you move, the planned surgery, what activity you are wishing to get back to and answer what questions you have for me before surgery.
We like to see patients around 6-8 weeks post-operatively to determine how much swelling is present (we measure this with a tape measure). From there, we put together a plan of how much lymphatic drainage massage is required. This is very patient dependent and can range from not requiring any at all to multiple appointments per week. Lymphatic Drainage can be quite complex to understand ,but put simply, it is gentle massage of the stomach (and other relevant areas) performed to assist the bodies natural process of reducing swelling. We have found patients either get amazing benefits or don’t find much benefit at all – there doesn’t seem to be much in between. Thats okay – we’d rather be up front about that before we start. Overall though, appropriate patients are recommended at least 2-3 sessions to determine whether the massage will be beneficial.
At that first appointment we also start a very low-level exercise program, building all the way up until the 12 week mark when more normal activities are resumed. Its important to do this safely under the guidance of a Physiotherapist to ensure you don’t go too hard (but also that you do enough!).
Once the patient reaches 12 weeks post surgery, the good stuff really starts! You have a new body now so lets learn to use your core, glutes, back and shoulders to their maximal capacity. Whether you are getting back into exercise after a long hiatus or simply resuming your pre-operative activities, it must be done safely. We assist with this and also address any nagging concerns that might be present with your back, neck or hips – common in patients who require a Abdominoplasty in the first place.
From here, your time with us will be very dependent on whether you are still swollen and how dependent on us you are for exercise assistance. There is no one size fits all approach, but we work through this with you every step of the way.