Pre-Tummy Tuck Concerns

1. From a 1 to 10 scale (1 being the lowest), how painful would it be post-procedure?

2. Does it help to take multi-vitamins and do aerobics everyday before going through the procedure, to ensure quicker recovery?

3. Will 3 months be enough recovery time?

4. Are there certain things you cannot eat? I was told to minimize my sodium intake because my body will absorb and store it, and will make me swell up much more then I normally would.

5. Can you put Neosporin on the scar while it's healing?

Doctor Answers (15)

Key questions prior to tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

+2

1. From a 1 to 10 scale (1 being the lowest), how painful would it be post-procedure?

   For some it is a 5 and for others it is a 9. Which one will you be. It is similar to asking how much pain is childbirth. It varies tremendously among individuals

2. Does it help to take multi-vitamins and do aerobics everyday before going through the procedure, to ensure quicker recovery?

Absolutely! Maintaining adequate protein intake is important as well. You should avoid excess doses of Vitamins A,D, E & K and stop most herbal supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.

3. Will 3 months be enough recovery time?

In most instances 3 months should be more than adequate.

4. Are there certain things you cannot eat? I was told to minimize my sodium intake because my body will absorb and store it, and will make me swell up much more then I normally would.

Products that may promote thin blood such as alcohol, garlic, etc should be avoided. We have a list of these products prior to surgery.

5. Can you put Neosporin on the scar while it's healing?

You may but some surgeons may prefer alternative methods of scar treatment such as silastic gel sheeting or topical paper tape therapy. Up to 5% of patients may be allergic to ingredients in Neosporin.


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Make sure your plastic surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

+2

Judy,

All of the questions that you have posed would be covered in depth during consultation with your board certified plastic surgeon. If you go in to the consultation with too many preconceptions it may cloud the information that you receive and take away from the protocols that work best for the surgeon you choose. I would recommend taking a written list of these questions to your surgeon for discussion. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

It is good to have many questions

+2

Judy, You have several questions, so I will go through them one by one.

1. From a 1 to 10 scale (1 being the lowest), how painful would it be post-procedure?

The pain from tummy tucks vary from person to person. I would describe it more as discomfort more than pain. Your doctor should give you pain medications and muscle relaxers which will help considerably. Additionally, he or she may inject the area with local anesthesia or put in a pump to continually bathe the area with local anesthetic. In any case, as long as they are treating you correctly, you should be fine. However, it is difficult to rate 1 to 10 since the issue is subjective. I guess one would likely rate it in the 3 to 5 range.

2. Does it help to take multi-vitamins and do aerobics everyday before going through the procedure, to ensure quicker recovery?

The better shape you are in before the surgery, they better off you will be. Additionally, exercising is good for your lungs, which will help with anesthesia. As for multivitamins, that is good as well. However, check with your surgeon to make sure you are not taking anything that hastens bleeding - many homeopathic medications have such side-effects and should be avoid before surgery.

3. Will 3 months be enough recovery time?

3 months should be plenty of time. Most people return to work after two to three weeks - depending on what you do. However, by 3 months you should be back to all your normal activities. During the first 1 to two weeks post-op you will likely have a few follow-up appointments to remove drains and, possibly, sutures.

4. Are there certain things you cannot eat?

I was told to minimize my sodium intake because my body will absorb and store it, and will make me swell up much more then I normally would. Sodium (Salt) and alcohol and spicy foods may make you more swollen after surgery. As long as you keep well hydrated and have a generally healthy diet you should be fine. Just remember not to eat after midnight on the night before the surgery and don't eat breakfast the day of surgery.

5. Can you put Neosporin on the scar while its healing?

You should talk with your surgeon about what to put on your scar. Depending on what the surgeon uses to close the incision, he or she may have different recommendations. Likely, they will recommend some type of ointment or silicone product. I would suggest that you follow whatever your surgeon recommends - especially for the immediate post-operative period.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

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Tummy tuck surgery is a big operation

+1

Your questions are good ones- I'd recommend sitting down with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area for a thorough discussion on the recovery aspects of this operation- everyone is different, and its impossible to answer this question with anything other than generalities.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

A tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) is a painful procedure when the abdominal wall is repaired.

+1

A tummy tuck is painful although it varies greatly with patients.  Few patients describe is as severe but certainly when the abdominal muscles are used (such as getting out of bed) the patients know they have had surgery.  So I can't really grade it on a 1 to 10 basis because it is variable, probably 3 to 7 range.

Vitamins are of no benefit.

Diet doesn't really make any difference.

Neosporin can be placed on the incision but has no effect on the outcome of the scar.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Addressing pre-tummy tuck concerns

+1

Prior to a tummy tuck you should be at or near your goal body weight.  You should maintain a healthy diet before and after the procedure.  You should avoid aspirin, Motrin, Advil and any other medications that can cause bleeding-your surgeon can give you a more detailed list of medications to avoid. Most patients complain of tightness after the surgery which is due to the repair of the abdominal muscles, but usually the pain is controlled by taking Vicodin or a similar narcotic for about 5-7 days. Most patients will take about one or two weeks off work, however you should avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for about four to six weeks.  It may take three months or more before you are feeling back to "normal".  You can use Neosporin on the incision after surgery, but then there are some better topical silicone scar gels that can improve the appearance of the final scar.

Be sure to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon prior to having a tummy tuck.

Best wishes,

Dr. Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 152 reviews

Tips to success with abdominoplasty

+1

Your concerns before abdominoplasty are all understandable.  I sincerely believe that the downtime with abdominoplasty is not as severe as what is described in certain reviews.  Here are my formulas for success.

  1. I utilize a long acting local anesthetic during the surgery, so you feel less pain after the procedure.
  2. Prenatal vitamins, which are easier on the stomach, are prescribed pre procedure.
  3. An abdominal binder is provided within one week of surgery.
  4. Patients are advised to return to normal activities within one to two weeks. 
  5. Preoperative diet and exercise is encouraged.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Four Pre-Tummy Tuck Questions and Answers

+1

1. From a 1 to 10 scale (1 being the lowest), how painful would it be post-procedure? - Everyone is different. Men sense more pain than women. Women who had several children sense less pain than those who never had a child. Moreover, the pain a week after the operation is much better than the day after surgery.

By numbing the tummy with long-lasting anesthetics, my tummy tuck patients have almost no pain the first 12 hours after surgery. After that the pain is tolerable and none walk bent at the hips. Ask your surgeon to numb your tummy and your pain will be drastically improved.

2. Does it help to take multi-vitamins and do aerobics everyday before going through the procedure, to ensure quicker recovery? - Vitamins and intense exercise before surgery will NOT shorten your recovery.

3. Will 3 months be enough recovery time? - You will need a lot less than 3 months to recover from a Tummy Tuck. The vast majority of women return to a desk job 10 days after surgery and to the gym a month after surgery.

4. Are there certain things you cannot eat? I was told to minimize my sodium intake because my body will absorb and store it, and will make me swell up much more then I normally would. - I do not think sodium makes much of a difference before Tummy Tuck surgery. On the other hand, you should stay away from foods which are otherwise very good for you but which thin your blood (Garlic, ginger etc).

5. Can you put Neosporin on the scar while it's healing? - Unless your surgeon put Dermabond adhesive on the wounds to deal them, there is no reason you should not be able to apply antibiotic ointment to the fresh wounds until they are sealed.

Good Luck.

Dr. Aldea
 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Rate pain after tummy tuck surgery on a scale of 1-10

+1

1) Generally the post-procedure pain is very subjective. Some people will feel less pain and some people will feel severe pain.

Generally on a scale from 1-10, I would say the first  42-78 hrs are between a five and a six. Most plastic surgeons will send a patient home with pain medicine such as Vicodin or Percocet. If pain is a great concern, you can have a pain pump placed underneath the issue to help alleviate pain.

But,  I have found with my patients pain is not a very big issue. Most people are very willing to accept moderate pain for the first few days. 

2) Generally the healthiest patients will have the fastest recovery. Pre-operatively it is best to be in good shape and good health (including having good aerobic capacity).

Taking a multi-vitamin supplement is a good idea. It is not a good idea to take any other supplements or diet medications, and always tell your doctor all of the medications you are taking. 

3) 3 months should be enough recovery time. 

4) Generally, I don't have my patients on a low sodium diet unless they have other issues such as a history of hypertension, etc. Otherwise a good healthy diet is best. 

5) Right after surgery I have the incisions covered, so for the first three weeks, my patients don't apply anything. If the sutures fall off, the patient can apply a topical anti-biotic to the skin to help it heal. Generally after about a month, I would start patients on scar creams, and if there are still issues with scarring, I recommend using a laser such as vbeam. 

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy Tuck Tips

+1

Tummy tucks are a popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients should keep in mind that after the surgery there is a significant recovery process. 

Patients should expect to take several weeks off work to recover comfortably and to return to the gym after 4 to 6 weeks. Patients tell us that the first 2 to 3 days after the surgery are the most uncomfortable. In our practice, our patients say that the pain is much less than childbirth or a C-section and that they can control the pain with Tylenol and a painkiller such as Darvocet or Vicodin. You should apply neosporin onto the incision for the first 2 weeks while it is healing. Afterwards, you may use scar creams.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:


 

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.