How Do I Prepare For My Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Dr. Robert Schwartz
June 10, 2019

This is a question we are often asked by our patients. While some of our answers may seem a bit obvious, there are some points you will want to consider and plan for when getting ready for your tummy tuck surgery.

Stop Smoking

Smoking slows the healing process and can increase your risk of complications during surgery. You should quit smoking 6 weeks prior to your surgery and for 8 weeks following surgery. Yes, this includes vaping and marijuana.

Prepare Mentally and Physically

At this point you have chosen to invest in yourself and it is of great benefit to set the stage for the best possible outcome on your end. Whether it be a full tummy tuck or a mini tummy tuck, surgery is surgery. It’s not a teeth cleaning. It’s not something that you should go into with the thinking that you’ll be back to Crossfit and running 5ks in a week or two. It is going to take time for your body to fully heal, and while you may resume most of your normal activities 3-6 weeks following surgery, you will want to take things slowly and give your body time to heal properly.

Your plastic surgeon is going to want to ensure you are healthy enough to have surgery. Most of your medical history will be reviewed in detail by your plastic surgeon in your consult. In addition, your surgeon will order labs to ensure you are not anemic or fighting an infection and that your vital organs are functioning properly.

Tell Your Bestie

You need a cheerleader on your team. Your plastic surgeon’s office will provide moral support. However, it’s recommended that you tell a trustworthy friend that you are having surgery. Share your reasons for having surgery so they can understand and provide emotional support and help you stay focused on your goals on those days when you’re not feeling 100%.

Time Off from Work

If your employment is labor intensive, plan to take 2-3 weeks off work. In most cases our patients return to work with lifting restrictions in a doctor's note. If you have small children, you will want to enlist the help of family and friends who can take some of the lifting off your hands. Otherwise, If your work is primarily done sitting at a computer, you can return to checking emails and conference calls 24 hours after ceasing pain management medication.

Get Your Home Ready

The first few days after having surgery you will need to limit your activity. We always recommend getting your house prepared by having your items of comfort in one place. If your master is on the 2nd floor, make a temporary move to the first floor to eliminate walking up and down the stairs. We usually suggest sleeping in a recliner or a comfy bed with pillows to alleviate pressure on your back. Have a caregiver who can help you for the first few days.

Stock your pantry. The first few days after surgery, you will want to start with soups, protein drinks and soft foods and slowly ease into your normal food routines. Powerade and Vitamin Water are great ways to stay hydrated while healing.

Pick Up and Review Your Prescriptions

Be sure to provide a list of your medications and supplements to your surgeon in order to know what you may continue taking and what you need to stop prior to surgery. Your surgeon's office will give you some prescriptions for pain management. You will want to make sure you have those on hand prior to surgery. After your surgery, your recovery nurse will provide you with instructions on how to take your medicine to minimize your discomfort.

Pre-planning for your tummy tuck recovery will help ensure that you are ready for your surgery and are prime position to get the prettiest result. Dr. Schwartz and his team will do their part in the Operating Room. It's your job to focus on following your post-care and letting your body heal properly.

Read how to eliminate pain from your tummy tuck recovery!

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