How do I prepare for a tummy tuck?
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have before your surgery, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon may ask you to:
- Lose weight or make a lifestyle change to ensure the best results and minimize the chance of complications. You should be at a stable, dependable weight before you undergo a tummy tuck.
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing. Your surgeon will tell you how far in advance of your surgery you should quit.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Hydrate before and after surgery for safe recovery.
- Prepare meals that can be easily reheated. Stock your refrigerator before your surgery with high-protein, low-sodium foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of caffeine-free beverages and water. Avoid food and drinks containing salt during your recovery.
- Prepare your home for recovery. Store all the supplies you'll need during recovery where they're easily accessible (counter level, not in overhead or very low cabinets). You may have a limited range of motion after your surgery. Stockpile items like your phone, charger, TV remote, your medication organizer, water, low-sodium crackers, tissues, and anything else you may need by your bed. Prepare your bed with the necessary pillows you might need for support.
- Get all your chores out of the way before surgery so you can recuperate with as little worry as possible. You should not be lifting, driving, laundry and cleaning during your recovery.
- Establish a no-fail support system for the full recovery period. If you have children less than five years of age, you must have someone to take care of them during the beginning of your recovery.
- Decide what to wear for the first few days, including what you’ll wear the day of your procedure. Pick items that open in front. Wear slip-on shoes so you don't have to bend.
Whether your surgery is an inpatient or outpatient procedure and whether you stay overnight at a recovery center depends on many variables, including your medical issues, the number of procedures you will undergo, the length of time your surgery takes, and the availability of your caregiver at home. Your board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon is your best guide. If you go home the same day, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours following surgery.
What can I expect the day of my tummy tuck?
Be sure to consult with your surgeon before your surgery so you have the most accurate expectations.
- You may have your tummy tuck surgery in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite.
- Your surgeon will give you an estimate for how long your surgery will last.
- The surgeon will administer medications for your comfort during the procedure.
- You will likely receive local anesthesia combined with sedation, or in some cases, you will receive general anesthesia.
- For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery. Once surgery has begun, the surgeon may decide to combine various techniques or change a technique to ensure the best result. It is important that you feel comfortable and trust your surgeon to make these decisions.
- After your surgery, you will go to a recovery area for continued monitoring.
- Your surgical dressings will depend on the procedures you undergo and may include surgical drains.
- Before leaving for home, you (or someone looking after you) should feel capable of emptying and resetting the drains.
You may go home after a short observation period or spend one or two nights in an aftercare center with a nurse or in the hospital unless you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery. Under no circumstances will you be permitted to go home alone or stay home without another adult present. Follow your surgeon’s recommendation concerning this decision.