How to prepare for tummy tuck surgery?

Doctor Answers 7

How to prepare for tummy tuck surgery?


Since you considering undergoing a major operation which again involves a significant physical AND emotional recovery ( often underestimated by surgeons and patients alike), a few words of advice may be helpful:

1. Make sure you are doing the procedure for the right reasons (for yourself) and that you have realistic expectations. Be aware that an improvement in the “problem area” may not translate to an overall improvement in your life situation. You are bound to be disappointed with results of the procedure if your motivation for doing the surgery is not internally driven. 

2. Time your surgery carefully; generally, it is not a good idea to have surgery done during or immediately after a stressful period in life (for example divorce or death of a loved one). The additional stress of surgery will undoubtedly be more challenging to deal with if a patient's emotional reserves our already exhausted. Remember, that an improvement in your physical appearance will not translate to an improvement in your life situation. 

3. If possible speak to patients who have undergone similar procedures and query them about the toughest times of their recovery period. Any practical hints previous patients can provide may be very helpful. 

4. Make sure you are aware of potential complications that may arise how to reach your surgeon if necessary. 

5. Make sure you have a strong and patient support system (several people if possible) in place who have time/patience to take care of you. Arrange for professional nursing if any doubt exists regarding the availability and/or stamina of your caretakers. 

6. Be patient with the healing process, understanding that it will take several weeks to months to feel “normal” again. It may also take many months/year to see the end results of your surgery. 

7. Be prepared to distract your mind with things of interest such as books, magazines, and movies. 

8. Expect less of yourself; do not go back to work, school or chores too early and let others take care of you (for a change). 

9. Pick your surgeon carefully (a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon) and trust in his/her advice. Keep in close communication with your surgeon and do not hesitate to communicate questions/concerns and the emotional swings that you may experience. 

10. Resume all medications that you were using preoperatively when cleared by your plastic surgeon and stop the use of narcotics and sedatives as soon as feasible after surgery. 

11. Keep in mind the end results as you go through possible tougher emotional times after your surgery. 

I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

TT Prep

Hi Diva

The best way to get ready for your TT is to discuss your specifics with your doctor.

After that, and if it is in agreement with your doctor's advice, you may need to visit with your private doctor to optimize your health.  If you smoke, stop now. You may want to consider physical exercise to improve your condition.

On a slightly different note, prepare for your recovery by lining up help, perhaps get a recliner, get your prescriptions before hand.

All the best.


Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Tummy tuck prep

You should get instructions from your surgeon. In general, I have patients avoid medications that cause bleeding. I also give my patients a booklet of information regarding pre- and post-op care.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Tummy tuck preparation

Thank you for your question.

The person you really need to be asking is your surgeon. Every doctor has different pre and post operative protocols for their patients. I would make sure you have a sitter (nurse) or a responsible adult to supervise you the first 24 hours and help assist you while you recover. Ask your doctor what supplements/medications you should stop taking before surgery, most important ones are anything with blood thinning agents in it and remain nicotine free for at least 30 days prior to surgery and after surgery. I would also find out if you have to order a compression garment/binder or will they provide one for you. Other than that be sure to have all of your medications filled, a stool softener incase constipation occurs, maybe get a nice comfortable pillow, ice pack and some high protein foods for your recovery. Best of luck.
James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

How to prepare for tummy tuck surgery?

Thanks for your question. You may get a lot of different answers here, but here are the major points I stress to my patients.

1) Be as healthy as you can be. eat a healthy and balanced diet.

2) Be at the weight you want to be, but don't diet within 6 weeks of surgery

3) Have a one a day vitamin but avoid aspirin motrin and herbal supplements including green tea.

4) Start a stool softener a week ahead, narcotics are very constipating.

5) Have help at home. You can't do this alone. 

6) Give yourself enough time off for recovery.

Hope this helps, I have included other FAQ below.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Dr. Derby Sang

Thank you for your question.

I suggest you to contact a PS and go over all your concerns and a face to face consultation. 

Best of luck.

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Preparing for tummy tuck

Thank you for the question. It is always a good idea to have a thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon following an in-person examination. This way you'll be able to get an individualized medical advise that fits your situation. Generally, it's advisable to be at your optimal weight before a tummy tuck considering that this procedure should not be treated as a weight loss surgery.  For this reason, healthy diet, active lifestyle, and weight loss counseling are highly recommended prior to the procedure. It is also important to maintain a stable weight before undergoing a tummy tuck.

On the day before surgery, you should take care not to drink or eat anything after midnight. On the morning of surgery, you may need to take a prescribed nausea medication with a small sip of water. Refrain from wearing makeup or perfume. 

Make sure you that you can count on someone to drive you home after the procedure.  Because you will need help with your daily chores, you should have a responsible adult stay with you for at least 48 hours after surgery. 

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is always the best way to assess your needs and guarantee a reliable medical advice. Best of luck! Dr. Michael Omidi. 

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 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.