The Healing Plan Continues: Six weeks post abdominoplasty–Now what!?
Updated: Jun 9
Well according to my surgeon, I am good to go! So, I am slipping on my new sports bra and cute new shorts and headed off to crush it in the gym!! As long as I am cleared that means I am healed, right?! Because goodness knows I am SO ready to work out again!
If we dig deeper and look at the literature around wound healing and specifically tissue injury, I still have a while until full strength is restored.
I am confident that loading can begin at the 12-week mark as evidenced from Abarbul below but I will eagerly look forward to that 2-year mark cited above!
Update on where I am!
I have about a 4-inch section of scar that is not healing optimally. Initially, there was just a small amount of skin breakdown and irritation in the center and now the whole line of scar is red and not very pretty. My surgeon believes it is not infected. Instead, it is just not healing perfectly as it is on the sides of the scar.
I have a fair amount of swelling at the end of the day. Of course, I panicked when it first started happening because I was afraid that the sutures had failed or had stretched out. But, again I have been reassured by my surgeon. I am not 100% confident right now, but I have to trust the process!
Nutrition for wound healing!
I detailed my nutrition for wound healing approach here. Most have stayed the same. I am still eating in a time-restricted eating window between 7 am and 2:30 pm. It has really been great for my digestion and sleep. The main goals were the benefits of reducing inflammation, increasing growth hormone, and reducing the loss of muscle mass.
There is a literal rabbit hole filled with study after study citing the depth of research surrounding the benefits of intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. I am still working on a blog post organizing this data for you!
Onto the week 6 exercises:
These patterns are also great for postpartum recovery! Arguably, they would be well suited for pregnancy!
The Seated Reach to Stand and Lunge
This pattern is a progression from week four where I used a hand reach from shin height to head height. Now I am starting to link patterns together by adding a lunge onto the reach and adding a reach overhead with an eye driver. The goal is to begin to increase the complexity of the movement by linking a lunge from the reach to the stand.
Half-Kneeling Hip Flexed Hand Reach
This is another progression from week four where now I have my front foot elevated. Elevating the front foot increases the hip flexion on the front foot hip and the extension on the back knee hip which increases the load to the pelvic floor. The hand reach also increases the dimensional load to the core. Reaching with one hand increases the amount of rotation through the core.
PVC Tilts with One Foot Elevated
This is a new pattern and oh how I love some tilts. The goal is to increase the amount of space through my hips with the variable foot position and offset height of my feet. The multidirectional tilt also increases a proportional amount of mobility through my shoulders and thoracic spine. During Week 8, I will add a ViPR Pro to the tilt!
Hip Abduction and External Rotation with Pelvic Reach
My hamstrings have been really taking a hit from this surgery from all of the “butt time” they have been getting! I want my hips to be in great shape and ready to safely load in all three dimensions when I being to introduce an external load! This is a fantastic mobility drill that safely loads the hip capsule in all three dimensions. Taking the position to kneel adds an increased load to the pelvic floor!
Wall Warding with Breath
This is another new favorite pattern! The transfer of benefit is so apparent when I walk in the woods or on chunky gravel. I can really feel a gentle and functional activation of my stabilizers. The goal is whole body activation!
Foot Elevated Squat with Prepositioned Hands
So we have done half kneeling, tilts, and now squats from offset foot position with one foot elevated. This is a great way to add some more variability to your squat and add a small amount of lateral flexion to the spine from the one side is elevated.
Note–stagger your feet from the elevated foot in the front to increase the load to the back side of the hips (glutes) AND stagger your feet with the elevated foot on the back to increase the load to the quad and back calf! Give it a try!!
Prepositioning the hands increases load to the thoracic spine and shoulders without overloading the tissue with a swing of the arms.
Developmental pattern eye driver
Developmental patterns are key in the postpartum period as well as in this instance to begin to sequence patterns properly. Without proper sequencing, you cannot properly recruit the core and pelvic floor. This hands and knees pattern uses an eye driver and pre-positioned feet and hands to put motion into the ribcage and thoracic spine!
I hope you all have enjoyed this journey so far! I still have a ways to go! I am grateful for the opportunity to share these patterns with you as it is my goal to encourage a better strategy for healing!!
Stroncek JD, Reichert WM. Overview of Wound Healing in Different Tissue Types. In: Reichert WM, editor. Indwelling Neural Implants: Strategies for Contending with the In Vivo Environment. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2008. Chapter 1. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3938/
Witte M, Abarbul A. General principles of wound healing. Surgical Clinics of North America. 1997;3:509.