Tummy Tuck Care Instructions
It is important to carefully follow all of your doctor’s pre- and post-operative care instructions to achieve the best possible plastic surgery results. Tummy tuck patients at our Maryland center are typically instructed as follows:
FOUR WEEKS BEFORE TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- Please make arrangements for autologous blood donation, if necessary.
- Begin taking iron tablets as prescribed.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- Stop taking aspirin and aspirin-containing products. Stop all herbal supplements.
- Confirm your “pre-op history and physical” appointment with your family doctor / internist.
- If you develop a cold or any other illness prior to your tummy tuck surgery, please notify the staff at our Maryland office.
- Vitamins are important in healing. Begin taking multi-vitamins with C, E, minerals and iron. Do not take “extra” Vitamin E.
- NO SMOKING.
- Make certain arrangements have been made for someone to drive you to and pick you up after your surgery and to stay with you for the first 24 hours.
TWO DAYS BEFORE TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- At the grocery store: buy light foods such as juice, tea, bread/bagels, jelly, soup, and JELL-O®.
- Buy two quarts of Gatorade, and Betadine™ Scrub liquid soap.
- Buy a mild laxative, i.e. Milk of Magnesia, as well as a stool softener, i.e. Colace or Pericolace.
- All prescriptions should be filled.
- Prepare bed: you will need several pillows and cushions to help keep your waist flexed / bent.
- Take only clear liquids one day prior to surgery.
- May start taking Arnica Montana: three tablets beneath the tongue, three times daily.
EVENING BEFORE TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- Shower with Betadine™ Scrub liquid soap for three full minutes. Avoid contact of jewelry with Betadine™; it may stain.
- Take liquids only.
- Take the laxative early.
- Get a good night’s rest.
- Do not eat or drink anything after 12:00 midnight the night prior to surgery.
DAY OF TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- Do not eat or drink anything prior to tummy tuck surgery. DO NOT SMOKE.
- Wash with Betadine™ for three full minutes. Do not put on any makeup or deodorant after washing.
- Do not wear wigs, hairpins, hairpieces, or jewelry. Dress in old, loose comfortable clothes. Do not wear pullover tops or panty hose.
- Have someone drive you to your surgery and make certain someone will be available to take you home and stay with you for 24 hours.
AT HOME AFTER TUMMY TUCK SURGERY:
- After tummy tuck surgery, it is important for you to go to bed. Place pillows beneath your knees and behind your back. Keep your waist bent. You may lie on your sides or back. While in bed, you are encouraged to move your feet to increase the circulation in your legs.
- A small amount of bloody drainage through the bandage is normal. Protect your bed sheets from bloody drainage.
- After surgery, you will be wearing either an elastic Velcro binder or an elastic compression garment. These should be snug but not uncomfortably tight. If they feel too tight you may loosen them periodically.
- Empty and record the drains three times daily.
- After the tummy tuck, you may not shower until after your first visit back to our Maryland office. Until that time you may sponge bathe only.
- A liquid diet is best for the day of surgery. Begin by taking liquids slowly and progress to soups or JELL-O®. You can start a regular diet the next day. It is a good idea to begin taking a stool softener beginning the day after surgery. Avoid salt.
- For the first 48 hours, keep your movements to a quiet level. No lifting. When walking or standing, keep in a bent position. Afterwards, you may start increasing your movements and straighten up gradually, but there should be no strenuous activity for three weeks after your tummy tuck surgery.
- Any discomfort should be relieved by the pain medication. Take extra strength Tylenol™ or Advil™ regularly to help with general discomfort.
OTHER POST-OPERATIVE TUMMY TUCK INSTRUCTIONS:
- Some amount of bruising and swelling is expected. This will disappear with time.
- Spotty areas of numbness are common and may last several weeks, but will disappear.
- Feelings of sharpness, burning and other sensations are common during the healing process.
- You may drive one week after your tummy tuck procedure provided you are comfortable enough to stop in an emergency situation. You may begin to take brisk walks after two weeks. You may resume exercise in four weeks. You must wear an abdominal binder for six weeks. No heavy lifting or straining for six weeks.
- Continue taking your vitamins. You may also take iron supplements if you feel fatigued.
- Avoid salt as it will keep you swollen.
For more information on the tummy tuck procedure, please contact our Maryland plastic surgeon today to schedule a personal consultation.