How to prepare for a tummy tuck

Undesirable bodily changes are a part of life. Pregnancy and childbearing may cause drastic weight gain followed by rapid weight loss that can negatively affect the appearance of a woman’s belly. Individuals who have lost significant weight (either intentionally or not) may be left with flabby skin and stubborn pockets of fat that often do not respond to exercise or diet. Abdominoplasty – also known as a tummy tuck – is the procedure of choice for anyone looking to achieve a toned, firm, and flat abdomen. If you are planning to have this cosmetic treatment soon, our team at Ruston Sanchez Plastic Surgery offers the following preparation tips.

1. Select a plastic surgeon

Choosing the right plastic surgeon is the first step towards a successful procedure outcome. Most experts recommend that you go for a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is a widely recognized independent, non-profit organization that develops and implements educational and professional standards to assess and certify plastic surgery specialists. But while board certification is crucial, it is not the only criterion for selecting the right abdominoplasty surgeon. You also need to gauge the surgeon’s experience level, see before and after photos, and attend a consultation visit to see whether you are comfortable with their style and approach.

2. Choose the right type of tummy tuck

Plastic surgeons offer at least 3 different types of abdominoplasty to suit the needs of various patients. These include a mini-abdominoplasty, a full tummy tuck, and a comprehensive tummy tuck. A mini tummy tuck is a minimalistic procedure that aims to reshape the abdominal area right below the belly button. A full abdominoplasty improves the entire belly area below and above the belly button, while a comprehensive abdominoplasty addresses the entire midsection area (including the hips and flanks). Your surgeon should help you choose the best procedure type based on your current appearance and aesthetic goals.

3. Quit taking certain medication

Certain types of medication should be avoided a few weeks before a tummy tuck or any other surgical procedure for that matter. These include aspirin and NSAIDs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. This is important because these medications contain substances that are known to thin blood and may thus affect the result of the procedure. You may also be asked to refrain from taking certain vitamins and herbal supplements that may thin blood. Examples include omega supplements, Vitamin E, and St. John’s Wart.

4. Stop smoking

It is absolutely important that you quit smoking within 6 weeks before and after your abdominoplasty. Cigarettes contain nicotine, a chemical that may constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. This would in turn result in less oxygen and fewer nutrients flowing to your stomach – thus slowing down the speed of recovery.

5. Eat healthily

The outcomes of plastic surgery are directly related to your nutrition status before and after surgery. It is absolutely important that you focus on a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein. Nutritionists say that minerals, vitamins, and protein are vital to a smooth healing process.

6. Take lots of water

Staying hydrated is just as important as nutrition when you are prepping for your abdominoplasty surgery. How much water you should take in will vary based on factors such as your weight, activity level, your sodium intake, and more. You should know you are well-hydrated if your urine is either very pale or translucent.

7. Plan to take time off work

Following your tummy tuck surgery, you will need to take at least 2 weeks off work so you can channel your energies to the recovery process. Make sure that you arrange to take this time off work. You do not want to be taking care of urgent phone calls or emails when you should be resting and giving your body the space it needs to recover.

8. Make transportation arrangements

Tummy tuck is an outpatient procedure that may be performed in a plastic surgeon’s in-office operating room or any accredited outpatient surgical center. Make plans to have someone (possibly a friend or relative) drive you home once you are discharged from the hospital. They should also be available to help with basic chores as well as take care of kids and pets.

9. Purchase recovery supplies

Getting the supplies that you’ll need during recovery is an important step in your abdominoplasty preparation. You’ll need to stock up with gauze, tape for dressings, antibiotic ointment, alcohol pads, and disposable exam gloves, among other supplies. It is also important that you set up a recovery room with comfortable pillows and entertainment accessories such as books and movies. Knowing that you have everything ready to go will help you relax and focus your entire on the procedure itself, and the recovery process.


At Ruston Sanchez Plastic Surgery, our office is engaged and available to help you out throughout the pre-op duration. Our teams are ready to answer all your questions and make sure that you have everything in place for a truly transformative abdominoplasty surgery.