Looking for Pre-tummy Tuck Tips

Hi, I am going for my 2nd consult on July 3rd for a full tummy tuck. I weighed 144 at my 1st appt and wanted to get down to 130. I am 5'7". My doctor suggested against it as he said i'd look disproportioned. I weighed 137 before Christmas and am aiming for atleast that. He also told me to do 200 modified sit ups a day. Any reason why? And what else can I do to insure I look the best possible? Is it wise to loose the weight? Or stay at 144? Thank you

Doctor Answers 15

Before Your Tummy Tuck--Tips to Follow!

Losing weight gradually and safely before surgery is OK, but only if your nutritional status is maintained so you heal properly. Getting on some sort of crash diet to rapidly lose weight and satisfy a surgeon's numerical recommendation suggests that this surgeon may not be motivated to give you the best result, but in fact may be looking for a reason to blame your failure to lose weight as the cause for a specific (less-good) outcome. Just something to consider.

Operating on someone who is at a healthy, stable weight (even if it is slightly above "perfect" or ideal weight), will allow your body to heal optimally, and will subject you to less likelihood of failure as your appetitie returns after surgery.

Here are some tips that will be of assistance to you:

Two weeks before:

   1)  Make sure you stop all aspirin (Bayer, Excedrin, Bufferin, Ecotrin, etc.), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.), Aleve, extra Vitamin E (the amount in a multivitamin is OK), fish oils, and herbal remedies. These are blood thinners or can interact unfavorably with anesthetic drugs--keep them out of your system. Even one baby aspirin can cause bleeding!

   2)  Stop all tobacco products and nicotine products, including gum, spray, patches, etc. Zyban or Chantix are OK to use. Second-hand smoke is the same as you smoking--NOT ALLOWED

   3)  Make sure your pre-operative physical is completed. The one you had a month or two ago is not sufficient; your surgeon and anesthesia provider need to know you are OK for surgery and anesthesia NOW, not several months ago! Sure, if you're healthy there won't be any changes, but let your own doctor verify this!

5 days before:

   1)  Stop all alcoholic beverages. It's important to get all the alcohol metabolites out of your system before anesthesia.

   2)  Make sure you've arranged for help with the mothering duties you took care of before surgery--you SHOULD NOT vacuum, lift heavy laundry baskets, shop for groceries, pick up after the kids and your husband, etc. after surgery. YOU WILL NEED HELP, especially for the first few days. The rest can wait. REALLY!

   3)  Buy groceries, including easy-to digest foods for yourself (for the first day or two), easy to prepare foods for the kids and husband, and several bags of frozen peas or corn to use as reusable ice bags (Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts do not work as well!) Verify ice use with your surgeon--some may not recommend this.

   4)  If you own cats, consider getting them out of the house (at least your bedroom and main living areas) and clean all areas where the cats go with antibacterial wipes, spray, etc. Consider that cats do their business in litter boxes, walk through the litter boxes and get all kinds of fecal (poop) bacteria on their fur, then spread that EVERYWHERE they walk. I'm not anti-cat, but I AM anti-infection! Dogs are OK since they "go" outside, do not walk in it, and (usually) stay on the floor. Don't handle any animal and then touch your incisions or drains.

2 days before:

   1)  shower with Hibiclens to reduce skin bacteria (see 4 above, but do this even if you don't own cats!). Also, shave your legs for the last time before surgery, and shave the upper pubic area (where the drain(s) will exit your body).

   2)  Consider filling your prescriptions for your post-op meds (that way you won't have to stop on the way home after surgery when you really want to get out of the moving car!)  While at the drugstore buy stool softeners (not laxatives) to start the day after surgery. Get a twin-pack of Fleets enemas (Small green-boxed pre-filled easy to use enemas). You'll thank me for this later!

1 day before:

   1)  Nothing to eat or drink after midnight. If you have night-time medicines to take, this is OK before bedtime. This is critical to minimize the risk of throwing up as you are going asleep and getting food, liquid, and stomach acid in your lungs (This is BAD!)

   2)  Take a Fleets enema before bedtime. This will help empty your lower bowel and reduce painful constipation during your recovery. 

The Morning of surgery:

   1)  Take your second Fleets enema, then shower with Hibiclens. Do NOT shave--this increases the risk of infection, which is why you do this two days before. You can brush your teeth, but do NOT drink. DON'T chew gum--it stimulates stomach acid and is just as bad as eating! Mouthwash, rinse, and spit is OK.

   2)  Take any morning medicines with you to your surgeon's facility. Take them only if your surgeon AND anesthesia provider give the OK, and then only with a sip of water. Read about food, liquid, and stomach acid in the lungs above. (It's still BAD!)

   3)  Make sure you have a nice recliner chair to sleep in, or consider putting a sofa cushion under your mattress at the head of the bed (to keep your abdomen slightly flexed after surgery to reduce swelling and keep tension off your tummy tuck closure sutures--pillows under knees).

   4)  Wear comfortable clothing with elastic at the waist and front zipper on the top (Running outfit or clean sweats are easy to dress you in after surgery, and easy for your husband or caregiver to help you with after you get home). Style points are not given after surgery! PS: You can skip the cute underwear; you won't be wearing them home anyway!

   5)  Be calm and excited! Questions and worries should have been dealt with by now. Highly motivated and excited patients have a MUCH BETTER recovery than those who are anxious or worried.

Best Wishes! (Luck is not needed). Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Tummy tuck preparation

Follow your surgeon's instructions. Do not starve yourself! You do not want to go into surgery malnourished and dehydrated. That can create serious problems. Also, start concentrating on your recovery and be aware that one of the problems we see after tummy tuck is weight gain. Watch your weight really carefully after your surgery. Good luck! I'm sure you will be delighted with your result!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Modest weight change will not affect the results of a tummy tuck.

In my opinion there is no great aesthetic advantage in losing the modest amount of weight you are suggesting before abdominoplasty. Patients who are anticipating major weight loss can generate aesthetic compromises if these occur after an abdominoplasty.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Pre-Op Tummy Tuck Advise

You certainly want to be at a stable weight.  Loosing 10 pounds will have little effect on an abdominoplasty result.  Improving your muscle strength will help with your post op recovery but will have impact on your result.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Pre-tummy tuck tips

I usually advise my patients to be at a stable, healthy weight before undergoing tummy tuck surgery. This is much more important than trying to get down to your lowest weight. If you are healthy and active and your weight fluctuates between only 5 pounds or so, then I would say it’s safe to go ahead with surgery at your current weight (as long as your surgeon has performed a complete medical evaluation and cleared you for surgery). As some of the other doctors have mentioned, you want to be well-nourished (not starved) before surgery so that your body can recover. Best of luck!

Thomas McNemar, MD, FACS
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews


your ideal weight is the weight that you are most comfortable with and one that you can maintain

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Minor weight loss pre-tummy tuck not required

Your abdominal wall tone plays a major role in achieving satiety and controlling weight.  Doing sit-ups will increase your muscle strength and help you maintain a reduced weight.  There is a new technique called Abdominoplasty with Mesh Reinforcement.  Mesh is used to augment the mechanical strength of the abdominal wall.  This results in early satiety with weight loss and maintains a lower weight.  The less the patient weighs the easier it is to do a tummy tuck.  However, the amount of weight loss you are describing is insignificant.  You can go ahead with the surgery at any time.

Best Wishes,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Looking for Pre-tummy Tuck Tips

15 pounds of weight loss is quite unlikely to  make a noticeable difference in the outcome of your TT. I would suggest that you get down to a stable weight that you feel you will be able to maintain, and that you do that before surgery. After surgery you will have limitations that will make it tough to do the physical parts of a weight loss program for at least 6 weeks or so. And use healthy diet techniques that are maintainable.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Looking for Pre-tummy Tuck Tips

If you are eating a healthy diet, exercising, and loosing weight gradually, that is a good thing.  If your goal remains 130#, then I think you can safely proceed at any time.  You should have a great result.

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Good to go...

I think you are just fine....Most of my patients lose a bit with surgery anyway, usually about 7-10 lb. with all of the narcotics and that kind of full feeling after...And at 5'7" you are fine...Not sure about the sit-ups????

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 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.