Tummy Tuck Preparation Checklist

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Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


Tummy Tuck Preparation Checklist

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic surgical procedure that is done to improve the appearance of the abdomen. Otherwise referred to as abdominoplasty, it eliminates excess fat and skin from the abdomen and restores weakened muscles to create a firmer and even abdominal profile. Tummy tuck is a major surgical procedure that requires thorough preparation both physically and mentally. Early preparation helps ensure a safer, smoother, and successful surgery. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Two Weeks Prior to Surgery

Early preparation is key to a successful surgery. These are some of the things you should work on well before your surgery.

  • Have a general body checkup. A general body checkup will assist you to know which areas you need to improve on before the day of the surgery. It will also help the doctor to start planning and preparing for the procedure.
  • Adopt a healthy diet. A healthy diet means a healthy body that is well taken care of. Research proves that patients with good health recover faster and within a shorter period of time.   
  • Cut off the usage of any herbal medication, supplements, and diet pills. Examples include ginseng, garlic, ginger, and ginkgo Biloba. These are dangerous because they can cause excessive bleeding or other complications during and after surgery.
  • Stop using all kinds of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, and Advil. This type of drug weakens the ability of blood to form clots and may, therefore, lengthen the recovery period.  
  • Be systematic on your bowel regimen. A bowel regimen is a schedule that reminds you to take your stool softener/laxative medicines regularly. It helps reduce the rate of constipation for an easier elimination process.  
  • Stop all kinds of smoking and substance abuse drugs. These include tobacco, nicotine gum, patches, vape pens, and cigarettes. Anyone who consumes such drugs is at a higher risk of surgery-related complications such as stroke, shock, heart attack, and much worse death. Cigarettes contain nicotine which thins the blood and prevents sufficient blood flow. This reduces the rate at which the surgical wounds would completely heal. Tobacco and other related drugs also weaken the immune system, therefore raising the risk of infections after surgery.
  • Avoid rapid weight loss. Before your time for surgery comes, you should have a stable weight. This means that if you have been working out regularly, you need to stop and try to achieve a stable weight. 
  • Find a helper. After surgery, you are likely to experience pain, exhaustion, and weakness as your body recovers. Having a helper to assist you with basic chores is important to avoid any inconveniences that would have been resulted from your inability to perform such tasks. 

One Week Prior to Surgery

As your time for surgery nears, you need to make some further preparations in readiness for your abdominoplasty. These include:

  • Fill in all your prescriptions. Make sure you get all the medication you will need during the recovery process, including the appropriate painkillers and antibiotics. 
  • Design a little heaven in your house at a place that makes you feel safe, comfortable, and stress-free. This place is where you will likely spend most of your hours sitting and sleeping while recovering. 
  • Get a few things to keep yourself entertained. They will keep you occupied and entertained throughout the recovery downtime. These may include movies, magazines, novels, and books.
  • Shop for extra pairs of loose clothing such as pajamas. You wouldn’t want to feel uncomfortable in tight outfits while in pain and recovering. 
  • Do some thorough cleaning in and around your house. It is important to keep everything in order to avoid the last-minute rush. 
  • Arrange for your transportation to and from the hospital. Understand that after surgery, you would need someone to take you home because you won’t manage alone. 

The Day Before your Surgery

These are last-minute tips to help you prepare for your abdominoplasty. 

  • Perform some last-minute house chores as you look around to see if everything is as you want them to be. 
  • Select a few comfortable clothes to wear for at least the first two weeks after surgery. Make sure to place them at an easily accessible location. 
  • Drink a lot of fluids that contain electrolytes such as smart water and Gatorade during the day. In the evening eat a meal high in protein and low in fat. 
  • Get a goodnight’s sleep as you wait for tomorrow’s sunrise. 

The Day of Surgery

This is the due day. An important tip is to stay relaxed as you let the doctor do what they do best. 

  • Do not eat or drink anything on the day of surgery.
  • Take a nice, warm bath with an anti-bacterial soap such as Safeguard, Lever 200, and Dial. Be aware that it is going to be a long time before you do so. 
  • Put on nice, comfortable, loose clothing that either zip or button up front with flat shoes. These clothes are easier to put on after surgery.  
  • Make sure that you arrive at the hospital at the speculated time as advised by your surgeon. 

Like all other types of cosmetic surgery, tummy tuck surgery requires serious preparation. Follow the above tummy tuck preparation checklist to make sure you are all ready for this treatment.

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