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 17

Key questions prior to tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

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

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!

It is good to have many questions

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Answering All Your Concerns

1. Pain depends on if any muscle was needed to be repaired - if there is a muscle repair, then pain level is approximately 5-7, but this is all relative depending on the person.

2. The best thing to ensure quick recovery is good surgical technique and pain control. While multivitamins may help, exercise before the surgery will not impact your recovery.

3. While sensation of the belly can take up to a year, full activity may be achieved in 3 months.

4. I do not believe that sodium intake will affect your recovery.

5. Yes, you may apply Neosporin in the early stages of healing. The range of the scar treatment can be extensive. In general, moisturizing an incision is always encouraged. Silicone sheeting may be best, but isn't always practical. 

Louis P. Bucky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Concerns about a Tummy Tuck Before Surgery

These are all good questions and ones that should be covered in the consultation with your surgeon or at least in the preoperative education appointment. Having said that, here are some answers to your questions. 

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

If you are having a No Drain, rapid recovery tummy tuck which uses the long acting anesthetic called Exparel than you should not have much pain at all. In fact, the patients who have this protocol do not need narcotics and are out doing things like walking outside or going to dinner the next night.

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

Vitamins and regular exercise before your surgery will serve to make you healthy and the healthier the better before any surgery.

3.Will 3 months be enough recovery time?
I
expect my patients to be completely recovered in about 3 weeks. We do not want them doing sit ups or crunches for 6 weeks but I have my patients who want to, back to the gym and on a spin bike within about 10 days 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.

You should stick your regular healthy diet up until the night before surgery. There is nothing special you should or should not eat.

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

I do not recommend Neosporin for scars because you may develop an allergy to the antibiotic that is in Neosporin and that would be a problem. There is no evidence that Neosporin or other topical antibiotics help healing although a lot of surgeons use them. The same goes for Vitamin A placed on your wound. Keeping your wounds clean and then using either tape or a silicone gel cream will help the best.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery is a big operation

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.

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

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Addressing pre-tummy tuck concerns

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 318 reviews

Tips to success with abdominoplasty

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
4.8 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Four Pre-Tummy Tuck Questions and Answers

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 100 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.