How you prepare

Initially, you'll talk to a plastic surgeon about a tummy tuck. During your first visit, your plastic surgeon will likely:

  • Review your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about current and past medical conditions. Talk about any medications you're taking or you have taken recently, as well as any surgeries you've had. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications. If your desire for a tummy tuck is related to weight loss, your doctor will likely ask detailed questions about your weight gain and loss.
  • Do a physical exam. To determine your treatment options, the doctor will examine your abdomen. The doctor might also take pictures of your abdomen for your medical record.
  • Discuss your expectations. Explain why you want a tummy tuck, and what you're hoping for in terms of appearance after the procedure. Make sure you understand the benefits and risks, including scarring. Keep in mind that previous abdominal surgery might limit your results.

Before a tummy tuck you might also need to:

  • Stop smoking. Smoking decreases blood flow in the skin and can slow the healing process. In addition, smoking increases the risk of tissue damage. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
  • Avoid certain medications. You'll likely need to avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding.
  • Maintain a stable weight. Ideally, you'll maintain a stable weight for at least 12 months before having a tummy tuck. If you're severely overweight, your doctor will recommend that you lose weight before the procedure. Significant weight loss after the procedure can diminish your results.
  • Take medication to prevent complications. Shortly before your tummy tuck, you'll need to begin taking an anticoagulant to prevent blood clotting.
  • Arrange for help during recovery. Make plans for someone to drive you home after you leave the hospital and stay with you for at least the first night of your recovery at home.
Aug. 20, 2016
References
  1. Tummy tuck. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tummy-tuck.html#content. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  2. Neligan PC, et al. Abdominoplasty procedures. In: Plastic Surgery. 3rd ed. London, England: Elsevier Saunders; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  3. Tummy tuck guide. American Board of Plastic Surgery. http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/body/tummy-tuck-guide/. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  4. Grieco M, et al. Analysis of complications in postbariatric abdominoplasty: Our experience. Plastic Surgery International. 2015;2015:209173.
  5. Matarasso A, et al. Abdominoplasty Classic Principles and Technique. Clinics in Plastic Surgery. 2014;41:655.
  6. Body contouring surgical procedures physician's guide. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/for-medical-professionals/resources-and-education/publications/physicians-guide-to-cosmetic-surgery/body-contouring-surgical-procedures.html. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  7. Matarasso A, et al. Combined breast surgery and abdominoplasty: Strategies for success. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2015;135:849e.
  8. Nelligan P, et al. Abdominoplasty. In: Core Procedures in Plastic Surgery. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 22, 2016.
  9. Lemaine V (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 7, 2016.