How to Prepare for a Tummy Tuck

Are there things that I can do to prepare for my tummy tuck procedure?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in their last annual report, there were 17.7 million cosmetic procedures done in the U.S. last year. This number showed an increase of more than 275,000 over the previous year. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) was one of the top five surgical procedures, along with liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation and eyelid surgery.  

What Is a Tummy Tuck?

Who doesn’t want a flat and toned abdomen like our favorite celebrities and most popular models have? Most of us, though, have at least some sagging skin around our midsections that no amount of dieting or exercise seem capable of vanquishing. The first attempts at correcting this surgically were done in the late 1800s, although those initial procedures were unable to remove the excess skin without sacrificing the belly button. Today’s tummy tuck restores the contour of the abdominal area and puts the belly button back where it belongs.

Simply speaking, a tummy tuck is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon removes excess fat and skin from the abdomen. This typically tightens and strengthens the muscles and connective tissue, resulting in a smoother, flatter and more attractive contour. Sometimes, but not always, the tummy tuck is done with or following liposuction around the abdomen because liposuction can remove fat but cannot also remove the resulting loose skin.   

While it is important to understand that tummy tucks are not a substitute for weight loss, they are requested by men and women for a number of reasons. Some of the most common circumstances in which tummy tucks are appropriate include:

  • Significant weight loss, especially following bariatric surgery
  • After pregnancy when the body does not return to its pre-pregnancy state
  • Abdominal surgery, like a caesarean (C-section)
  • Age-related sagging skin
  • Heredity

What Can I Do to Prepare?

The first step will be to consult with an experienced plastic surgeon for a review of your medical history and to discuss your expectations. Abdominoplasty is not the right choice for everyone, and your surgeon will advise against it if you plan on losing a significant amount of weight or plan to have more children. Those with heart disease, diabetes and other serious and chronic health conditions, as well as those who are obese, are also not considered good candidates. 

Once you and your surgeon have agreed that a tummy tuck is a good option for you, and you understand the potential risks, as well as the benefits, there are a number of things that you can do to improve the outcome and experience. Some of the ones that you might wish to particularly put into place are:

  • If you are a smoker, stop. Smoking interferes with the healing process because it diminishes the blood flow. If you cannot stop completely, at the very least, do not smoke for as long as possible before the surgery and throughout the recovery process.
  • Discuss with your physician and discontinue any medications that can increase bleeding, like aspirin, certain supplements and anti-inflammatory drugs. Begin taking any prescribed medicine that is meant to prevent complications, such as anticoagulants.  
  • Avoid weight fluctuations. Best case, plan well in advance and maintain stable body weight for a year prior to surgery. 
  • Make arrangements for someone to be with you following the surgery to drive you home and stay with you that first night, at the very least. 
  • Discuss and understand all post-operative instructions.

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors for 8 years in a row in 2020  gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.

Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here