Tips for Aiding Tummy Tuck and Breast Reduction Recovery?

I am scheduled for a full tummy tuck with muscle repair and a breast reduction. Can anyone give me some tips to insure the best possible recovery? Last year in August, I had back surgery and I learned that I needed a LOT of "stuff" to aid in my recovery. Is there anything I need to buy before hand?

Doctor Answers 20

Preparing for a Good Recovery is Important!

Here are some tips for getting ready for your surgery:

  • Good nutrition
    • Protein is the building block of healing:
      • I recommend about 1/2 gram of protein per pound body weight in the weeks before surgery
    • Exercise:
      • cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness will help to reduce complications
      • muscle toning will help your tummy repair
      • your body stores the protein you'll need for repair in your muscles
    • Vitamins: ask your surgeon about the right supplements to help with healing
      • Care full!! Some supplements can cause undesirable thinning of the blood
  • "Unhook the Phone!"
    • Make sure you will have enough quiet and unobligated, stress-free time
  • Choose a good nurse
    • choose someone who is nurturing, a good caregiver
    • plan for someone to be with you 24 hours/day for the first 3-5 days
      • help you get out of bed
      • make sure you are hydrating well
      • keep track of your medications
      • assist with dressing changes
      • get you to post-op appointments
  • Rent a Hospital Bed for a week
    • this will help you position comfortably
    • use the bed to sit you up so you don't stress your abdominal repair
    • set the bed up in your living room so you're close to the kitchen and don't have to climb the stairs
  • Rent a walker
    • You'll be bent over by the tightness of the repair
    • the walker will take the stress off your back when you are walking
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
    • hydration is important to help healing
    • hydration is important to prevent complications
    • hydration is important to feeling better
    • you know you are drinking enough, if you have to urinate every two-to-three (at most!) hours (during waking hours)

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Breast Reduction: Liitle suggestions to ease your recovery

In your particular situation judging from this limited picture, it may be wise to stage the procedures. It is not uncommon to perform combined procedures but as you can judge from the other physician's comments here, yours is a little more complex.

You would likely benefit from an extended tummy tuck rather than a traditional tummy tuck. In and of itself, this means it would take longer than usual.

Much of the same ":stuff " that made your back surgery easier will make your tummy surgery eaiser.

The basic necessities are important and relate to what we refer to activities of daily living. Here are a few items that are overlooked that you should attend to prior to surgery. This is by no means an exhaustive list. You should consider contacting your physican to discuss whether he/she approves.

  1. Intake & nutrition: take plenty of oral fluids and electrolytes postop to remain hydrated. Protein supplements are also beneficial
  2. Bowel & bladder: ensure that you are close to a bathroom to make it easy to transfer back and forth in the early recovery period. You may wnat to begin stool softeners early to limit constipation.
  3. Pain and medications: Ensure easy access to your medications and have a schedule prepared to help others assist you in administration of meds. YOu may want to set these out ahead of time.
  4. Use an incline bed early in the postop period to ease the strain on your abdomen
  5. Ambulate frequently to decrease the potential for clotting. You may want to rent a walker for this purpose.
  6. Arrange adequate transportation for yourself for doctor visits.
  7. Hygiene: Prepare to have adequate hygiene supplies such as bath cleansing wipes (available at your local drugstore).
  8. Consider the use of Arnica (oral pills or topical creams) to ease bruising and discomfort. This is somewhat controversial among practitioner.

Hope this helps!

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Two big surgeries - consider staging them

These are two big surgeries and one thing to discuss with your surgeon is to whether staging them would be not only safer but also would make your recovery easier as well. Two shorter procedures are alwasy safer than one long one. That is the first tip for making your recovery easier. Also the risk of blood clots in your leg that can go to your lung goes up the longer your surgical time is. Although rare, that is a very serious risk and discuss with your surgeon what steps are being taken to reduce your risk - compression devices immediately before, during and after surgery as well as use of blood thinners after surgery when you are not as mobile as you should be - specially with two major surgeries. Are you staying overnight in the hospital or not? After two major surgeries the first night you will be best cared for by professionals at a hospital. Going home could increase your risk of postop complications. So another tip for easier recovery would be to stay overnight at a hospital. Also, getting out of bed can be difficult after a full tummy tuck, so getting an electric recliner for your house is very helpful - you can rent them from a local medical equipment/supply store. Your surgeon should be able to direct you to a place that has them. Also make sure you have plenty of help at home for the first week to ten days. You will for sure need someone to help you around the clock for the first few days. Good luck and make sure you consider staging the surgries rather than doing everything all at once.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

5 Keys to recovery after a Mommy Makeover

Abdominoplasty combined with a breast reduction is a large operation. Proper recovery is essential. Here are some keys that I find helpful for my patients:

1) Recover in a true surgical recovery facility for one to two nights after surgery if you can.

2) Fill and pick up all of your medications prior to surgery.

3) Nutrition after surgery is important for healing. Make sure that you have your meals planned out ahead of time so that you do not have to go shopping right after surgery.

4) Arrange to have a friend or family member available to help you at home. Especially if you have young kids, you will need the assistance.

5) Coordinate rides to your follow-up doctor appointments ahead of time. You will not be able to drive for the first couple of weeks.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Aiding in Mommy Makeover recovery

Great question! I think that making your house ready for your arrival is one of the things that most patients don't consider. Sure, your doctor will tell you what medicine to take and what to wear, but very rarely does anyone consider home preparation. If you live in a two story house one great tip for the first few days is to set up downstairs.  This will help you from having to much activity. Also, you may find that you have some drainage after the surgery so having dark colored towels around can be very beneficial.  If you have pets or small children make sure they don't get too rough with you. Make sure to stock your fridge with a lot of healthy food and soups also water. Good Luck with your recovery, I'm sure you will do great!

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Tips for recovery.

Along with the normal pre-op instructions, I think it is very important to go into surgery well hydrated.  That may mean avoiding alcohol and caffeine prior to surgery.  It also means that you shouldn't go on a long run (or other big workout) the day before surgery.  Drink lots of water in the week leading to surgery.  If you maintain good hydration you may experience less nausea and headaches and will just feel better.

Michael Philbin, MD
Edina Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Tips to a safe and comfortable recovery

Here are some common tips that I discuss with my Mommy Makeover Patients at Gill Plastic Surgery in Houston, Texas

1.  Read your pre- and postoperative instructions carefully.   Also, review the risk section of the consent to ensure a thorough understanding of what to look for.

2. Fill your prescriptions prior to surgery and arrange an area of your home that will be a comfortable place to rest and recover from your procedure.

3.  I require at least one overnight stay for this procedure.   I then ask that an adult caretaker provide 24 hour assistance to the patient for the first week.   This is critical.   Assistance in getting in/out of bed, bathing, drain care,  and changing dressings/garments help minimize the chance of wound healing problems and speed up the recovery process.

4.  Frequent followup with your doctor to provide early detection of any problems or complications

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

It's a good idea to be prepared for convalescence after a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).

The surgery you are anticipating will result in long incisions and possibly some drains.  Dressings will need to be changed and provisions will need to be made for the discomfort you will be in, particularly because of the abdominoplasty.  On my website, I list for my patients all the post-operative instructions which you are welcome to see.  However, your sugeon probably doesn't handle his patients exactly as I do so I would check with his nurse about expectations of you after surgery.

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

Tummy tuck and breast reduction recovery

You will likely find that your recovery is dictated entirely by the tummy tuck and not by the breast reduction.  That's because the tummy tuck is generally the more painful procedure, with its muscle tightening.  You may need some gauze to assist with cleaning around your drain sites and for padding any areas that want to leak a little.  Aside from that, there isn't much you should need at home.  Your surgeon should get you set up with a good plan--we do a thorough job of this during our preoperative visits, with all our recommendations and instructions in writing.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Recovery process after a tummy tuck and breast reduction

The combination of a tummy tuck and breast reduction is a great one. We commonly call this a mommy makeover. For the patients that received this combination in our practice, we encourage them to wear their compression garment at all times and to walk as much as possible after the surgery. They will usually need to walk a little hunched over for the first 2 to 3 days after the surgery. As their lower abdominal skin begins to stretch they can relax and stand upright. The walking is important as it allows your lungs to open and can help prevent postoperative fevers. This exercise will also help eliminate the effects of anesthesia afterwards and increase your appetite. Patients tell us that the recovery from the tummy tuck is more uncomfortable than that of the breast reduction. The garment adds support and comfort during this process.

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, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 102 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.