A tummy tuck is a plastic surgery that helps to create a smoother, flatter abdomen. It’s a popular procedure with mothers who are looking to trim away some of the excess skin in their abdomen after pregnancy and is the core surgery of most “mommy makeovers.”
Tummy tucks tend to be extensive surgeries that require a fair amount of recovery time. For that reason, deciding to have the surgery isn’t something most people do on a whim. Usually, a planning period of several months, or even up to half a year, is a good idea.
Taking the time to properly plan and prep for your tummy tuck will help you understand what to expect and set you up for the best results possible. Use this timeline to help you prepare for your surgery.
Six Months In Advance
Starting about six months before you hope to have your surgery, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself and make sure you are on track when it comes to any weight loss goals you might have.
Although a tummy tuck does help to create a flatter abdomen, it’s important to understand that it’s not a surgery for weight loss. You won’t lose a dramatic amount of weight from a tummy tuck. If you do want to drop a few pounds, it’s a good idea to do so well in advance of the surgery.
It’s also a good idea to focus on your overall health starting about six months before surgery. If your diet isn’t so great, see if you can make improvements, such as eating more vegetables or whole grains and cutting back on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods.
Increasing your activity levels is also a good idea in the months leading up to a tummy tuck. The more active you are, the better you’re likely to heal after the surgery.
Finally, consider changing or giving up certain unhealthy habits as you prep for surgery. If you smoke, it’s a good idea to quit six months in advance. Smoking can interfere with your body’s ability to heal, which can increase the risk of complications after surgery. The sooner you quit smoking before surgery, the better.
Three Months in Advance
Three months or so before your surgery is the perfect time to jump in and start learning about plastic surgeons who perform tummy tucks. You might want to start scheduling consultations with surgeons at this point.
Your consultations will accomplish a few things. First, they’ll help you learn more about the surgery and what to expect. A consultation with a surgeon can also help you determine whether or not a tummy tuck is something you want to continue to pursue.
Consulting with a surgeon will also help you determine whether or not that doctor is the doctor you want to work with. During your meeting, you’ll get a sense of their bedside manner and attitude. You’ll also get a chance to learn more about their experience level and review before and after photos to get a sense of their past work.
One Month in Advance
By the one month point, you should have chosen a surgeon and picked a date for your surgery.
Now’s the time to jump in and start prepping your home, family and work life for the procedure. Request time off from your job, if you haven’t done so already. It’s a good idea to take as much time off as possible, usually at least two weeks, so that you have plenty of time to recover.
You might want to begin stocking your home with the supplies you’ll need for your recovery. Your surgeon can give you a full list of everything you’ll want to have on hand right after surgery, such as a compression garment for the abdominal area, loose fitting clothing, and plenty of pillows.
The Week Before the Tummy Tuck
Just one week to go before your surgery! Now’s the time to put any finishing touches on your prep work, to make sure your fridge is stocked with easy-to-prep foods and plenty of liquids, to pick up your prescriptions, and to make sure you and your partner are on the same page about chores and childcare during your recovery period.
Now’s also the time to ask your surgeon any last-minute questions or to take care of any last-minute concerns that might have come up. Follow any instructions give to you by your surgeon to help improve your results and to make your recovery as comfortable as possible.
Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Houston, Texas who can help you plan for a tummy tuck. To learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today!