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How to Prepare for a Tummy Tuck Procedure

Tummy tuck surgery can flatten your abdomen by removing loose, extra fat and skin and tighten the muscles in the abdomen. It may also remove some if not all the stretch marks in your lower abdomen. Before your surgery, there are certain things you need to do so that you are properly prepared.

In order to have tummy tuck surgery, you have to stop smoking at least six weeks before the procedure. Your weight must be stable, and you may need to slim down beforehand if there is a significant amount of intra-abdominal fat surrounding internal organs. You need to be physically healthy and in good physical shape to tolerate the procedure.

Preparing for Your Procedure

  • Stop smoking at least six weeks prior
  • Avoid taking aspirin and some anti-inflammatories to avoid excess bleeding
  • Stay Hydrated by drinking lots of water
  • If you have children, arrange for someone to help take care of them.
  • You may also consider meal prep that you can do before your surgery so you can heat up meals easily.
  • Get organized so that you know where everything is and in reach when you need it.
  • Make sure all your necessary medications are filled beforehand.

What to expect the day of surgery

Your surgery will be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis. You may stay overnight at the recovery center, or you may get to go home the same day. Make arrangements for someone to drive you home and be available to stay overnight with you at least the first night home. Your surgeon will be able to tell you ahead of time how long the surgery will last and if you will need to be inpatient or outpatient. The surgeon should also be able to estimate your recovery time.

Immediately after your tummy tuck

  • It is not uncommon to feel dizzy and nauseated as the anesthesia wears off. After the surgery, you will feel sore, and your abdomen will be tender.
  • Arrange to have someone there to assist you for the first 2-3 days after surgery.
  • A dressing will be used to cover the incision, protect the site, and keep the area clean. Your doctor will also provide you with a compression garment (a wide, elastic band) that should be worn to reduce swelling and support your stomach as your skin tightens. This garment should regularly be worn for a few weeks after the surgery.
  • Each patient is unique and every tummy tuck offers a different challenge. If the doctor placed a drain near the incision to drain away fluid, then you will be required to empty the drain several times a day and keep a record of the amount of fluid draining from your body.
  • Typically, 3-14days after the procedure, the drains are removed by medical staff.
  • Patients with traditional sutures will need to have them removed during the first or second week of their recovery (absorbable sutures do not require another doctor’s visit to be removed).
  • The doctor who performed the surgery will answer your questions, and give you detailed instructions to monitor the drains, change your bandages, and bathe during your recovery.
  • If you are experiencing any of the following side effects (bruising, swelling, or redness), consult with your doctor immediately. These side effects are usually temporary, and any issues or discomfort will subside in several weeks as your body heals and you begin to adjust to the new contours of your abdomen.

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