Before undergoing any plastic surgery, it is important to take the time to properly prepare for the procedure and the recovery period. By following recommendations developed by plastic surgeons over years of successful surgeries, patients typically find that they enjoy ideal results and shorter recovery periods. When it comes specifically to a tummy tuck, San Francisco-based Dr. Eric Culbertson at The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery routinely works with both men and women to prepare them for the procedure to get rid of excess fat from the belly area and create a more flat and toned abdomen.
Preparation Before Surgery
Tummy Tuck Blood Work
A blood test can ensure that the levels of your hemoglobin, electrolytes, creatine, and INR are all within satisfactory ranges. Patients are usually given a requisition form to take to a lab where the actual blood work is done. In most cases, people older than 50 will need to take an electrocardiogram to ensure that their heart is functioning as it should.
Two Weeks Before an Abdominoplasty
When it comes to preparing for a tummy tuck, it is best to follow the saying: The earlier, the better. By getting a head start, patients can reduce the need for any last-minute scrambling and allow for the procedure to run as smoothly as possible. It is important for patients to arrange for a trusted person to drive them home from the clinic on the day of the surgery and to assist them with tasks for the next 24 hours. Do not forget to arrange childcare if necessary.
Stay away from alcohol prior to the surgery (and during the recovery period), since alcohol thins the blood and can make for less-than-ideal results. Be sure to drink plenty of water for adequate hydration. Smoking should also be avoided, since nicotine can cause post-surgical complications and potentially extend recovery time. Lastly, patients should not take ibuprofen or aspirin because these medications negatively impact blood’s ability to clot. Tylenol (acetaminophen) should be used to manage headaches or other pain.
One Week Before Abdominoplasty
As the day of a tummy tuck surgery closes in, patients should prepare meals ahead of time for ease of cooking during recovery—or make plans to have someone else cook.
In addition to the prepared meals, plan to have on hand comfortable pajamas, antibacterial soap, stool softener or laxative (narcotic pain medication can cause constipation), fruit, soup, and gelatin or pudding.
The Night Before Abdominoplasty
It is essential to have a clean body and hair prior to a procedure, so wash with antibacterial soap for three days prior to and the morning of surgery. Also, do not eat any food or drink any fluids in the final eight hours before the procedure. If the stomach is not empty, there is a chance of the patient regurgitating while under general anesthesia, and food or water can enter the lungs. Finally, get a good night’s sleep.
On the day of the surgery, patients should not wear any makeup, jewelry, or contact lenses. It is also recommended to wear dark, loose, and comfortable clothing.
Life After Abdominoplasty
After surgery, expect to feel sore and uncomfortable for the first few weeks. Most patients decide to complete a tummy tuck as an outpatient procedure and can return home a few hours after the surgery is done. In some cases, overnight stay is required for more extensive work so your surgeon can closely monitor you.
During tummy tuck recovery, patients should spend the first few days resting at home and are encouraged to walk for a bit to promote healthy circulation. Many patients are ready to return to work or typical daily activities after two to four weeks, depending on how demanding the surgery was. The less physically demanding a job is, the earlier a patient should be able to return. If the position requires strenuous activity, consider a month away from work.
To learn more about The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery and tummy tuck surgery in the San Francisco Bay Area, call the San Francisco location at 415-433-0303 or the Healdsburg location at 707-473-0220. Patients can also visit thejacobscenter.com and send an online message.