Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

How to Reintroduce Exercise After a Tummy Tuck

December 22nd, 2017 The Office of Dr. Christopher Patronella

After tummy tuck surgery, patients should be careful to follow their surgeon’s instructions to a T. Failing to observe the doctor’s instructions, especially in regard to reintroducing exercise, can lead to complications, infections, pain, poor healing, and other issues. Dr. Patronella, the creator of the True Form Tummy Tuck®, has put together the following recommendations for how the average tummy tuck patient should expect to be able to reintroduce exercise after their tummy tuck. As with any procedure, this recovery guide is exactly that—a guide—and his personal instructions to you should take all precedence.

Tummy Tuck Before and After PhotosDays 1 to 3 After Surgery

At this point, you will be in your initial recovery and should generally be resting. Recommended physical activity includes getting out of bed and walking (with assistance) for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 hours during normal waking hours. This is critically important as it increases circulation, speeds recovery, and reduces the risk of blood clots. Walking in a slightly stooped position is required to avoid straining the sutures. Flex and extend your feet at the ankles consistently throughout the day to activate the calf muscles and pump blood out of your legs.

Days 3 to 5 After Surgery

You can gradually introduce lighter physical activities as you feel ready to do so. Continue walking in a slightly stooped position for 4 to 7 days after surgery, progressively becoming more upright each day. Focus on improving your posture and walking without assistance for 15 to 30 minutes every 2 hours.

Days 5 to 7 After Surgery

At this point, increased mobility allows you to become more mobile. Spend approximately 30 percent of your time up and about participating in light activities, including walking, sitting, flexing the knees and hips, and performing limited household duties. You may still have a slight stoop while walking until day 7 or 8 after surgery. Other than this, no exercise is permitted, and you should continue resting as required.

Days 7 to 10 After Surgery

Walking fully upright is possible and expected, though it may feel slightly tight and uncomfortable at first.  Walking half a mile twice a day in cool temperatures is recommended.

Days 10 to 14 After Surgery

Increase walking to 1 mile twice a day in cool temperatures by days 10 to 14. If you return to work before the end of week 2, avoid physical exertion, strenuous activity, prolonged standing (2 hours or more), stooping, and lifting.

Weeks 2 to 4 After Surgery

Limit your exercise to brisk walking or riding a stationary bicycle for 45 to 60 minutes. Avoid straining or lifting. If you try to do too much too soon, you could risk injuring delicately healing tissues and setting yourself back in your recovery.

Weeks 4 to 6 After Surgery

You may now feel up to pushing harder but should be cautious to progress slowly with physical activity. With exercise, do not do more than 75 percent of what you feel capable. You may gradually increase aerobic exercises with walking, stationary bicycle, or elliptical trainer provided you avoid abdominal straining. You may use light upper body weights for toning as long as it requires minimal abdominal work. You may also introduce swimming at this time.

Weeks 6 to 12 After Surgery

This final stage of recovery can include a gradual reintroduction to progressively more strenuous physical activities until you have reached your full capacity. It is essential to increase your tolerance gradually as you reintroduce activities such as aerobics, jogging, yoga, and Pilates. Proceed with caution during weightlifting sessions, and avoid intense abdominal straining. Do not participate in isolated abdominal activities such as crunches or sit-ups for a full 12 weeks after surgery. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call Dr. Patronella for advice on how to reintroduce exercise after your procedure.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

Still Look Pregnant? Diastasis Recti Could Be the Reason

November 20th, 2017 The Office of Dr. Christopher Patronella

Pregnancy can be incredibly rough on a woman’s body. For many women, the last few months before delivery seem torturous, as they feel “huge” and have difficulty bending over, sitting down, sleeping comfortably, and performing other everyday tasks. After pregnancy and childbirth, the body recovers gradually. However, some women may continue to look pregnant even years later. Diastasis recti is a common cause of this prolonged pregnancy appearance and can be corrected with a tummy tuck. Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck® can restore youthful and firm abdominal definition for postpartum women who want to recapture their pre-pregnancy contours.

True Form Tummy Tuck Patient by Dr. PatronellaWhat Is Diastasis Recti?

Diastasis recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscles separate during and after pregnancy. During pregnancy, enormous pressure is placed on the abdominal muscles. As the growing baby takes up increasingly more space, the abdominal muscle wall is stretched apart to accommodate the baby.

How Diastasis Recti Affects the Appearance of the Abdomen

The widening, stretching, and weakening of the abdominal wall can have long-lasting effects on the appearance of the abdomen. The weakening of the abdominal wall tissue causes the internal organs to protrude, creating the tummy pooch bulge. Even after the child is born and the pressure is relieved, a woman who has diastasis recti may have a continual stomach pooch that makes her look pregnant, especially after eating a large meal.

Correcting Diastasis Recti

Abdominal wall separation is best corrected with a tummy tuck. While core exercises can strengthen the muscle and slightly improve the bulge, they will not tighten the strong, tendon-like fascia tissue between the muscle and close the gap. Certain abdominal exercises can even worsen diastasis recti. A surgeon can correct this issue as a part of tummy tuck surgery. During your procedure, Dr. Patronella will tighten the abdominal muscles and sew them back together, eliminating the gap and restoring a natural abdominal tone. The True Form Tummy Tuck® uses specialized techniques designed to ensure that the results do not look surgically flat, but that the abdomen has natural definition and contours. This procedure can correct diastasis recti, eliminate the prolonged appearance of a pregnant tummy, and restore a firm, smooth abdomen.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

What Will My Scars Look Like After My Tummy Tuck?

October 18th, 2017 The Office of Dr. Christopher Patronella

Patronella Tummy Tuck Patient before and after photosThe remarkable results of your True Form Tummy Tuck® with Dr. Chris Patronella are made possible by the strategic placement of surgical incisions. Incisions are a part of any major surgery, and patients should expect that they will leave scarring. Still, your tummy tuck scars will be inconspicuously placed and will heal over time to a point that, for most patients, they are not a significant aesthetic concern. With Dr. Patronella’s Scar Therapy Program, you can minimize your surgical scars from abdominoplasty. In addition, Dr. Patronella offers non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments that effectively diminish scars.

Scar Placement

Tummy tuck incisions must be placed in an area that will let the surgeon access and tighten the underlying tissues and muscles. For Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck®, the lower abdominal incision is placed low on the bikini line. Due to its location, patients are typically able to easily conceal this scar with clothing, including swimwear and underwear.

How Scarring Heals Over Time

Initially after the procedure, the incision site will appear as a thin, pink line. Over the next few weeks and months, it will develop a darker color and raised, rough tissue. Like a small cut can develop a scab before healing, this is a natural biological reaction as the skin increases blood supply and collagen production to heal the tissue. With proper care, the scar will gradually lighten, break down, and take on a flatter, less noticeable appearance. Over the next six months to two years, most scars will progressively fade and soften. The care you exert for your incision and in following Dr. Patronella’s Scar Therapy Program will play a significant role in the quality of your scar tissue.

Incision Care and Dr. Patronella’s Scar Therapy Program

To minimize scarring after tummy tuck surgery, carefully follow all of Dr. Patronella’s incision care instructions as well as his Scar Therapy Program. With all scar treatment products, watch for signs of irritation or an allergic reaction and contact our practice right away if you have any concerns. You will be given detailed instructions on caring for your incision to protect it from irritants and infection during the early weeks after surgery.

The Scar Therapy Program, which begins five to six weeks after your procedure, includes regular use of multiple skin products to treat the incision scar. The Tri-Retinol Complex™ by SkinMedica® should be applied nightly to clean skin to exfoliate the scar surface and reduce thickness and pigmentation. If your skin is intolerant of the retinol, you can use the Vitamin C+E Complex instead to exfoliate and condition the scar simultaneously. Next is the TNS Recovery Complex®, applied over the retinol at night and over a moisturizer in the morning to flatten the scar and seal in natural oils. Patients who have a greater tendency to develop hyperpigmentation (especially those with darker skin tones) may need Hydroquinone 4% to bleach and counteract this possibility. Finally, the Scar Recovery Gel with Centelline™ contains a patented blend of therapeutic ingredients that will diminish the appearance of the scar. The Scar Therapy Program is designed to be continued for six to 12 months and must be performed with consistency and patience to help guarantee the best aesthetic results.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

The True Form Tummy Tuck® for Weight Loss Patients

September 14th, 2017 The Office of Dr. Christopher Patronella

Tummy tuck surgery isn’t just for mothers seeking to tighten their post-pregnancy bellies. Abdominoplasty can also help weight loss patients complete their journey and restore a youthfully firm and flat abdomen. Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck® is uniquely designed to be able to benefit patients who have lost a moderate or major amount of weight. With this specialized abdominoplasty technique, you can have smooth, flat, and natural-looking abdominal contours.

Tummy Tuck patient of Dr. Patronella

How a Tummy Tuck Can Help

Dieting and exercise can improve overall health and may help eliminate belly fat, but only surgery can address loose skin and muscles in the abdomen. Tummy tuck surgery can help patients who struggle with loose abdominal skin, weakened or stretched abdominal muscles, and stubborn fat pockets. A tummy tuck removes excess skin and persistent fat and tightens the abdominal muscle wall to create a smoother and firmer abdomen.

The True Form Tummy Tuck® Goes the Extra Mile for Weight Loss Patients

The True Form Tummy Tuck® is a unique procedure developed from years of surgical experience and patients’ perspectives. Dr. Patronella has designed the True Form Tummy Tuck® to accommodate patients with specific needs, such as weight loss patients. Whereas a standardized approach to tummy tuck surgery can lead to an unnaturally flat or awkward appearance, the True Form Tummy Tuck® produces a result of natural and subtle definition that looks as though it has always been firm and flat.

The many contours of a naturally youthful and toned abdomen have a simple and elegant beauty that Dr. Patronella strives to recreate with every True Form Tummy Tuck®. His approach goes beyond that of a traditional tummy tuck. Using careful liposculpture, internal sutures, and attention to even the smallest details, Dr. Patronella can help weight loss patients achieve a slender waistline with a uniform skin tone that looks firm, youthful, and authentic. For many weight loss patients, especially those who have struggled to manage their weight throughout their whole lives, the True Form Tummy Tuck® can produce the attractive abdominal contours they never had and of which they’ve only dreamed.

For Moderate Weight Loss Patients

Moderate weight loss of up to 50 pounds frequently leaves loose, sagging abdominal skin. Skin laxity can occur in the lower and upper abdomen. The loss of skin elasticity and fat bulges create irregular contours that give the stomach rolls and folds. The True Form Tummy Tuck® selectively removes excess fat and skin to flatten the contours of the abdomen, eliminate rolls and bulges, and produce a more naturally youthful and toned abdomen.

True Form Body Contouring™ for Moderate Weight Loss Patients

Some moderate weight loss patients have a loss of skin tone that is also present in the hips, flanks, buttocks, and thighs. Dr. Patronella can combine your True Form Tummy Tuck® with True Form Body Contouring™ to address irregular contours in these areas as well. Extended liposuction, thigh lifts, and other techniques may be used to simulate the body contours that would be found on a naturally athletic, younger individual.

For Major Weight Loss Patients

Major weight loss of more than 50 pounds can leave stretch marks and folds of hanging skin. This skin may be discolored and cause irritation (dermatitis), especially in patients who have undergone massive weight loss of more than 100 pounds. Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck® removes excess abdominal skin and tightens separated abdominal muscles with internal sutures to recreate a toned and smooth abdomen.

True Form Body Contouring™ for Major Weight Loss Patients

Massive weight loss patients frequently have loose skin around their entire waistline, encircling their abdomen, hips, and buttocks. They may also have hanging skin in the upper arms. For these patients, the True Form Tummy Tuck® may be combined with a body lift, arm lift, breast lift, and other procedures into True Form Body Contouring™ to provide the full body contour corrections that are needed. Dr. Patronella can carefully reshape your mid/lower body and remove hanging skin to complete your weight loss journey and restore your self-image.

Plastic surgery after weight loss can accomplish what weight loss alone cannot. Dr. Patronella’s True Form Tummy Tuck® and True Form Body Contouring™ can help weight loss patients achieve a naturally flat abdomen and smooth, youthful body contours that instill self-confidence and a positive body image. For more information about the True Form Tummy Tuck®, schedule your consultation with Dr. Patronella today. Call (713) 799-9999 or contact us online to request your consultation now.

Dr. Christopher K. Patronella's Blog

6 Tips That Can Help Your Tummy Tuck Recovery

August 16th, 2017 The Office of Dr. Christopher Patronella

True Form Tummy Tuck patient of Dr. PatronellaAs the creator of the True Form Tummy Tuck®, Dr. Chris Patronella has put a lot of time and effort into refining the tummy tuck process so that it produces the best results. To further improve your tummy tuck experience, Dr. Patronella recommends a number of things to help you with your recovery. While most people already understand that they will need childcare and a little help around the house, you may be surprised to find that the following things can also be of great assistance during your tummy tuck recovery.

1. Loose Clothing

Loose clothing will keep you comfortable as you recover. Because your abdomen will be temporarily more swollen than normal, clothing items like big, soft t-shirts and night dresses are recommended. You should also avoid wearing anything with a tight waistband so that you don’t irritate your incision. Yoga pants and sweatpants are highly recommended.

2. Protein-Rich Foods

Eating high-protein foods helps to support wound healing. Enjoy plenty of protein-rich foods that are easy to digest so that you can encourage the best healing response during your tummy tuck recovery.

3. Pre-made Meals

Consider preparing or purchasing your meals ahead of your tummy tuck so that you can easily freeze and reheat them. Mild, easily digestible foods are recommended for the first week or two.

4. Vegging/Relaxing Materials

During your recovery, make sure to have plenty of materials to relax with, such as books to read, movies or TV shows to watch, magazines, your laptop or tablet, games, etc. These materials are helpful to have on hand since you will you need to take it easier than usual while you are healing.

5. Cleaning Service

Consider hiring a cleaning service to help with household work. If you can enlist someone to be in charge of cleaning and household chores while you are recuperating, you most likely will be able to rest and relax better.

6. Extra Pillows or Towels

Laughing, sneezing, and coughing can be uncomfortable during the early days after a tummy tuck. A helpful solution is to keep a pillow or large, folded towel close by and press it gently to your stomach whenever you feel you are about to sneeze, cough, or laugh. This will reduce the pressure on your abdomen so that such actions are not as painful.

These tips and others can be found on Dr. Chris Patronella’s Tummy Tuck Recovery Guide. If you have any other questions about preparing for your tummy tuck and recovery, please schedule your appointment today. Call (713) 799-9999 or fill out our online contact form to request your consultation.


As Dr. Patronella's patient coordinator for nearly 20 years, Eva Cadena will work with you to ensure that your experience is professional, courteous, and rewarding in every way. Please call her with any questions you may have.

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Houston, TX 77024

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