How Much Shhould I Eat to Help Ensure a Good Recovery?

Hi Doctors, I’m 5”10” and weight 153 pounds. I work out 5-6 days a week (running/walking 3-5 mile) and I’ve lost a total of 64 pounds over the past three years. My weight has been steady for the past 6 months. My question is, how many calories should I eat to ensure a good outcome but not gain any weight during my tummy tuck recovery? I was thinking maybe 1700-1800 calories per day of mostly lean meats, fruits and veggies. Am I on the right track?

Doctor Answers 13

Diet recommendation during recovery from TT

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You will likely gain some weight immediately after tummy tuck from water retention.

Also, your body will require more calories to heal your incision, (but you won't be exercising).

I recommend you stay on the same healthy, balanced diet that you were on pre-surgery. Don't limit your calories because you are not exercising.

You need macronutients to heal but also need vitamins and minerals. If you are not already taking one, I recommend a multivitamin as well.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Eat a balanced diet for surgical recovery.

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What you eat in your postoperative recovery is very important for healing. After a tummy tuck, there is a large surface area which is healing and causes an increase in your metabolic demands for calories and protein. Dieting is not recommended during this phase. Protein supplementation can help with improved healing rates in addition to supplementation of Vitamin C and Zinc. Many patients find that multiple smaller meals throughout the day help particularly if they are experiencing pain from the surgery. Keeping things healthy with lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats is a great way to go.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Maintaining a healthy diet perioperatively will improve your recovery

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Hi there-

I would not recommend altering your diet or lifestyle in any way simply because you are having surgery. In fact, I would worry that any significant alteration in your healthy diet and lifestyle may actually compromise your ability to safely and smoothly recovery from the operation, or compromise the outcome.

I recommend that you continue the healthy lifestyle with which you achieved your success- 

How Much Should I Eat After Surgery To Ensure A Healthy Recovery?

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Dear JoBibbi,

     Congratulations on your weight loss and healthy lifestyle. I would suggest that you continue with a similar caloric intake during your recovery. Any excess calories you a burning with exercise will be offset be the calories needed for your healing/repair process. As my esteemed colleagues have mentioned, do not be alarmed by a weight gain immediately after surgery. This is related to fluid retention and you will get rid of this within 2-3 weeks in most cases. You will be able to resume light exercise in 3-4 weeks, but be sure to follow your surgeons recommendations. Good luck.

Dr. Douglas L. Gervais, MD, FACS

Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, Ltd


Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Diet before surgery

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Have a balanced diet before surgery. Don't short yourself on proper vitamins and minerals because you will increase complications. Reducing salt is a good thing as it prevents water absorbtion. Balance is the key.

Eating right

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I think that is very reasonable.I think exercise and eating the right foods is so imporatnt.Keep up the good work.

Robert Brueck, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Caloric intake following a tummy tuck

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You don't need to necessarily be extremely compulsive restricting your caloric intake following a tummy tuck. This can adversely affect your healing including resulting in delayed healing, wider scars and even placing you at an increased risk for infection. This is a very important time for you body's healing potential to function properly - so relative "starvation" is not a great idea.

Make sure that you do consume a lot of protein as well as vitamin C - as these are important building blocks for the healing process.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Ensure , high protein diet, recovery from surgery

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Hi, have your pre-albumin checked prior to surgery. Your surgeon can instruct you if you will benefit from a high protein diet or how much you would need. do not take it exessively without any guidance, since it could have an effect onto your kidney function and eventually your body will convert proteins and you will gan weight.  best of luck

Bianca Knoll, MD
Frankfurt Plastic Surgeon

Diet with surgery

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A well balanced diet before and after surgery will enhance the healing process and help decrease infection incidence.  Your body needs more calories during the healing period than normal.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Calories to Eat after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.  Congratulations on your successful weight loss;  it sounds like you have maintained a very nice exercise and diet regimen. I would suggest that you continue on the same line after your tummy tuck surgery.  The calorie range you are considering sounds very reasonable especially because it consists of high quality calories.

Don't be surprised if you gain a little weight immediately after the tummy tuck surgery  secondary to fluid retention  that will slowly  eliminate itself.

 Best wishes.

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.