Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the world. The extent of the procedure can be customized to suit your needs and complements other body shaping procedures very well. At Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL, we want to help each of our clients look and feel their best. Today, we answer one of our most commonly asked questions, how do I prepare for a tummy tuck?
What Is Abdominoplasty?
Abdominoplasty is a cosmetic procedure designed to tighten your abdominal muscles while removing excess skin and fat. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all procedure. It can be tailored to your needs. The three types of abdominoplasty you have to choose from are a full tuck, mini tuck or extended tuck.
A full tuck is one of the most popular procedures among men. It addresses the excess skin and fat of your entire stomach. During this procedure, the abdominal walls above and below your navel are tightened, excess skin and fat are removed and the remaining skin is lifted.
A mini tuck is one of the most popular procedures among mothers. This procedure addresses only excess fat and skin below your navel. If you are satisfied with your upper abdomen but struggle with a “kangaroo pouch” or “baby pooch” after childbirth, you may have distended abdominal muscles.
No amount of diet or exercise will correct this. You need your stomach muscles tightened to reverse this image. With this less extensive procedure, you will be under general anesthesia for a shorter amount of time and your recovery period will be shorter as well.
An extended tuck is ideal for someone who has lost a drastic amount of weight. They have difficulty with their upper and lower abdomen, lower back and flanks. This procedure accomplishes everything a full tuck does. However, it also corrects the back and sides.
How to Prepare for a Tummy Tuck in 12 Simple Steps
1. Create a Solid Support System
Because a tummy tuck is such a life-changing procedure, you may experience significant emotions, such as elation, during your recovery process. Allow yourself to feel all your emotions completely. Have a support system in place to care for you and your household while you focus on yourself. To give you time to process your emotions, your support system may help you cook, clean, care for your pets and keep your house clean. Whatever is part of your daily routine, have someone at your home to help you accomplish your routine tasks.
2. Commit to the Healing Process
Any cosmetic procedure takes a lot out of your body. The amount of time needed for recovery may be extended if you have several other procedures performed to complement your abdominoplasty. In general, you should prepare to take at least a week off of work. If you work an active physical job, you may need to take two weeks off of work.
It is crucial that you understand how important the healing process is. The more time you commit to resting and recovering, the shorter your healing process will be. The day after your procedure, start incorporating short walks into your day. Walk as often as you feel comfortable doing so. This will improve your circulation and the delivery of nutrients to your stomach.
3. Plan Relaxing Activities
The first several hours post-op, you may find yourself drowsy from the anesthesia. Do not expect to keep up with the plot of the latest TV show. You may be drifting in and out of sleep. Instead, plan to re-watch your favorite movies or TV shows. If you want to read, we recommend an e-reader. This way, you don’t have to get up, find and reach for your favorite novel. You have a whole library of your favorite novels at your fingertips.
One of the most important steps in preparing for a tummy tuck is communicating with your surgeon. During your initial consultation, let Dr. Nir know of any concerns you have about your procedure. He will review your medical history, assess your current health and evaluate your aesthetic goals to ensure abdominoplasty is the right cosmetic procedure for you at this time.
If you have any questions after your procedure, such as when you can return to certain regular activities, call Dr. Nir. He is more than happy to answer all of your questions.
5. Eat Plenty of Protein
Cosmetic procedures require a diet heavy in protein for two to four weeks pre-op. Under the guidance of a licensed nutritionist, you should follow this protein-rich diet for a few weeks post-op, as well.
While following this diet, it is important to stay adequately hydrated and eat plenty of fiber, too. Excellent sources of protein and fiber include almonds, cashews, Brazilian nuts, peas, quinoa and lentils, just to name a few. Your nutritionist will help you create a healthy meal plan that suits your palate, lifestyle and nutritional needs.
6. Avoid Tobacco
Your preparation process may easily begin two months pre-op. It is absolutely critical that you abstain from all forms of tobacco, including dip, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and nicotine cessation aids for at least two weeks pre-op. If you need help quitting, ask your physician for resources that can help you. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, reducing the delivery of essential nutrients to the treatment site. Elevated blood pressure is also not ideal for your procedure itself.
7. Avoid Aspirin and Herbal Supplements
Do not take any medication, vitamin or herbal supplement that can thin your blood. These include vitamin E, NSAIDs, aspirin and ginger supplements. During your initial consultation, Dr. Nir will provide you with a comprehensive list of all medications and supplements you should avoid for two weeks pre-op.
8. Consume Enough Fiber
People who aren’t used to eating a diet rich in protein often find they struggle to remain regular when they suddenly ramp up the protein. To mitigate the risk of irregular bowel movements, eat plenty of fiber. You should consume a gram of soluble fiber for every three grams of insoluble fiber. If you consume 2,000 calories per day, aim to consume 25 grams, or 100 calories, of fiber.
Get used to eating adequate amounts of fiber. It is essential that you maintain this healthy diet for the first 72 hours post-op. Both anesthesia and prescription narcotics can cause you to become irregular. If you don’t eat enough fiber, you may experience cramping, constipation, bloating and discomfort or pain. If you’re already used to getting enough whole grains and veggies in your diet, you won’t experience these nasty side effects.
9. Arrange for Transportation
Abdominoplasty is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day. However, it is performed under general anesthesia. Therefore, you will need someone to drive you home. You must not drive within 24 hours of being put under general anesthesia. You should also avoid driving within 24 hours of taking prescription narcotics. You should have someone to care for you for at least the first three or four days post-op.
10. Avoid Crash Diets
Frequently, when someone has a problem with his or her stomach, he or she resorts to crash dieting to improve their aesthetic. Two to four weeks pre-op, you should stop any crash diet you are embarking on and focus on nutrition. This includes restrictive diets and weight loss medications, among other things.
If you can, maintain your weight before your procedure. It will be good practice for when you achieve your ideal body post-op. Focusing on weight maintenance rather than weight loss has the added benefit of ensuring your body has plenty of nutrients and energy for the recovery process.
11. Prepare to Arrive Early
Arrive early on the day of your procedure. There’s a lot that goes on before the procedure. From the moment you check in to the moment the anesthesia has taken effect and we are ready to begin is a whirlwind of activity. Before you leave the house, make sure you have state identification, a list of all medications you are currently taking and a comfortable shirt you can button up. You will not want to pull a t-shirt over your head after your procedure.
It is essential that you fast before your procedure. If there is any food or beverage in your stomach, you can have a bad reaction to the anesthesia. For decades, people have been told not to eat after midnight pre-op. However, if your procedure is scheduled for late in the afternoon, this can be a little overkill.
Modern anesthesia techniques mitigate the risk of pulmonary aspiration. You must follow all instructions provided by your anesthesiologist, but you won’t need to fast more than eight hours pre-op. While this may sound intimidating, many of us fast 12 hours daily without thinking about it. If you’ve ever finished dinner by 7 p.m., not snacked before bed and not eaten breakfast until 7 a.m., you have fasted for 12 hours.
Am I a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
The best candidates for abdominoplasty are at or near their ideal weight. However, if you were once obese and still have significant fat deposits and loose skin around your tummy, you may still be a good candidate. Liposuction is an excellent complement that can help you achieve your desired contours. You may also be a good candidate for treatment if your abdominal walls have separated and need to be repaired. This may be caused by pregnancy, ventral hernias and other factors.
We cannot recommend this procedure to any woman who has given birth within the past six months. Your body goes through a lot of changes during and immediately after pregnancy. Focus on giving yourself plenty of time to recover from your childbirth before you consider any cosmetic procedure. Not only will you be healthy and well-rested, you will also have a good idea of what your post-natal body will look like without professional help.
Abdominoplasty is most effective for women who are done giving birth. During this procedure, your vertical abdominal walls are tightened. Future pregnancies may tear your vertical muscles again, making a follow-up procedure necessary. However, there is no risk to you or your fetus if you get pregnant after this procedure.
Learn How to Perfect Your Body Today
Age, weight loss, weight gain, pregnancy and several other factors can affect your physique. It doesn’t matter how clean you eat. Working out twice a day won’t make a difference. A tummy tuck may be the only way to achieve your desired aesthetic. To learn more about this procedure and determine if it is a good fit for you, contact the dedicated medical professionals at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery in West Palm Beach, FL today to schedule your initial consultation. We can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve your ideal aesthetic.