A tummy tuck is a major operation that involves the removal of a substantial amount of fat and skin from your abdomen. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are in a position to benefit fully from the procedure before you go into theatre.
But how do you do this? What precautions should you take? And how should you prepare? In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at what to do before your operation so that you can get the most out of it, should you ultimately decide to go under the knife.
Make Sure That Your Weight Has Stabilized
Many people think that tummy tuck surgery is a weight loss procedure like, say, liposuction. But tummy tucks are not about weight loss at all. The purpose of tummy tucks – or abdominoplasties – remove excess skin and give the stomach a more toned and youthful appearance.
The way a tummy tuck works is simple. The surgeon makes an incision that runs from hip to hip, just above the pubic bone, removes excess skin, and then pulls the remaining skin tight before stitching it back together. The result is a tighter-looking stomach and the removal of any loose or sagging skin.
Because tummy tucks are not about weight loss, it’s a good idea to be at your ideal weight before undergoing the procedure. Being at your perfect weight ensures that excess fat does not get in the way of achieving the desired look that you want. While a tummy tuck can remove baggy or sagging skin, it cannot compensate for excess abdominal fat. That requires a different procedure.
Eating a healthy diet and doing plenty of exercise will help you stay in shape so that you can maintain the results of your tummy tuck over the long term. By staying in shape, you’ll avoid excess fat buildup in the abdomen and renewed stretching and sagging.
Stop Smoking And Vaping
Smoking damages your cardiovascular system. Particles from the smoke enter the bloodstream through the lungs, causing inflammation in the sensitive lining of blood vessels, leading to ideal conditions for plaque buildup. This buildup of plaque can then prevent the body from healing as quickly as when it is healthy.
Surgeons recommend, therefore, that you stop smoking (or vaping) in the run-up to surgery. Not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but it can also interrupt the healing process by constricting blood vessels, making recovery slower – not something you want.
Change Your Sleeping Position
As discussed, tummy tuck surgery involves making an incision laterally at the bottom of the abdomen, just above the pubic bone. As part of the operation, the skin gets pulled tight, meaning that when you stand tall or lie down flat, you can end up stretching the skin uncomfortably, putting a strain on the stitching.
To avoid this, most experts recommend that sleep on your back in a V-shaped position, with your head and feet raised and your hips bent in the middle. However, if you’re a side sleeper, you may find sleeping in this position unnatural, or even uncomfortable.
Don’t wait until you’ve had surgery to alter your sleeping position. Start getting used to sleeping on your back in a V-shape position a few weeks in advance. You can either use a recliner with your head and feet raised or your bed with pillows under your upper back and legs.
Discuss Your Concerns With Your Surgeons Before The Operation
A tummy tuck is a significant operation which requires a protracted recovery process. Not only will you have to stay in hospital for two days and wear compression clothing for up to two weeks, but you’ll also have to avoid all sports and strenuous activity for up to two months after.
Speaking with your surgeon before the operation can help enormously. You can ask them any questions you may have about the surgery, or what results you can expect afterward. An honest surgeon should be able to provide you with direct, down-to-earth guidance on the way you’ll look and offer advice for the recovery process.
Buy All The Items You’ll Need For Recovery In Advance
Recovering from a tummy tuck is a significant undertaking. You’re likely to experience substantial swelling and bruising around the site of the incision, so making preparations is vital.
Before the surgery, ensure that you have filled out all necessary prescriptions. Your surgeon will put you on a course of antibiotics to prevent infection from starting in the abdominal cavity. Also, make sure that you have all the bandages and compression clothing you’ll need for the recovery process. After surgery, you want to avoid having to travel out to the pharmacy for extra supplies. Walking will be uncomfortable.
Wash With Special Soaps To Remove Potentially Dangerous Bacteria
Naturally-occurring bacteria cover our bodies. And while surgeons will thoroughly clean the site of the incision before cutting, there’s still a chance that bacteria will recolonize the region following the operation, putting you at risk. You can buy special kinds of soaps with antibacterial properties to clean the affected area, ridding the body of potentially harmful skin-bourne pathogens, like Staph.
Prepare Your Home
Moving around and performing general housework will be much more difficult following your operation. Even simple tasks, like cleaning, won’t be possible for at least a couple of weeks. Because of this, you need to make sure that you prepare your home for your return to accommodate your condition.
- Clean Thoroughly. Before your operation, clean your house thoroughly from top to bottom. Not only will you not be able to do this immediately after surgery, but a dirty home could jeopardize your recovery. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance in the recovery process.
- Take Out The Trash. Taking out the trash is a physical task. You have to pick up a heavy sack of rubbish, open the lid of the bin, and dump it in, all of which requires the stretching of the abdomen – something you want to avoid. Make sure that your household bins are empty ahead of time.
- Get Help Looking After Children. After a tummy tuck, you’ll need to spend a couple of weeks sitting or lying down in the prescribed position. Because of this, looking after children could be a challenge. Health professionals recommend that people undergoing abdominoplasty make arrangements to get assistance with childcare in the two weeks following surgery.
- Make Meals In Advance. Following a tummy tuck, you’ll have to maintain a bent position at all times, even while standing. The need to continue this position could make cooking difficult. Experts recommend, therefore, that you prepare as much as two week’s worth of meals in advance that can be frozen and then heated up in a microwave.
Plan Time Off All Work And Family Duties
Sure, you need to take time off official paid work after having a tummy tuck. But it is also essential to take time off all unpaid work too, including family duties. You won’t be able to do things like look after aging parents, prepare children’s meals, or give people lifts around town during the recovery phase. Planning time off, therefore, means not only telling your employer that you’ll be out of action for a couple of weeks, but your family too. You’ll need to make alternative arrangement for cooking, caring, and transporting people around.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is not only important to help you achieve your ideal, target weight, but it’s also vital for priming your body for recovery once the operation is complete. A healthy diet can boost your immune system, speed recovery of damaged cells, and help make the recovery process feel better.
Remember, you are likely to feel a bit tired for several weeks after the operation as your body recovers. Most people take around six weeks before they begin to feel like their old selves again. Full healing can take as much as a year.
Commit To Not Having Any More Children
Finally, if you’re a woman considering a tummy tuck, then think hard about whether you want to have any more children. Having more children could undo the benefits of the procedure, putting you back where you started. Weight gain associated with pregnancy as well as the force of the baby pushing up against the abdominal wall could undo the results.
Preparing for a tummy tuck takes a lot of time and consideration. You need to achieve your ideal weight, eat healthily, make sure that you prepare your home for your return, practice sleeping differently and, if you’re a woman, consider not having any more children in the future. However, once you’ve made the necessary preparations, you’ll be in the ideal position to benefit from the surgery.
A tummy tuck is a substantial operation. You want to make sure that you get the most out of your investment, so adequate preparation is essential. Remember, after surgery, you’ll need two weeks of full rest away from work and family commitments.